Welcome to my article on Scotts Bluff National Monument in western Nebraska! My name is Thurro Alexander and I grew up in Saint Andrew, Jamaica. I migrated to Miami, Florida in 1999 at the age of 11 and lived in Miami for over 15 years. Eventually, I moved to the Longhorn State: Texas.
Before the pandemic, I wanted to start a YouTube channel but didn’t have the motivation. When COVID hit, it forced me (as well as others) to get outside and explore more. That is when I started hiking, taking photos and trying to build my channels. I have been traveling and hiking ever since.
Hiking in Scotts Bluff National Monument
Recently, I was visiting Nebraska and whenever I visit a new state I always try to research the national parks and state parks. After watching videos on YouTube, I thought Scotts Bluff National Monument would be a great place to go hiking. I would be lying if I said it was always on my bucket list but after doing some research, I went there a week later to check it out.
Hiking the trails of Scotts Bluff National Monument was definitely one of the best hiking experiences I have ever had. When my wife and I got there, we were in total amazement as the entire park had been dusted in snow the night before. This added so much to the already stunning scenery.
Highlights of Scotts Bluff: Hoodoos & Chimney Rock
We started hiking from the bottom of the terrain and eventually made our way to the top. We enjoyed sightseeing along the way and had spectacular views of Scotts Bluff below. The most amazing attraction was the hoodoos which can only be seen clearly from the hiking trail. I had no idea they were even there before I got close and boy were they an amazing sight!
Another highlight was Chimney Rock. I had planned on taking a separate trip but as we were passing the rock on the way home, we decided to stop off. I ended up hiking the trail which starts off from the cemetery across the street and made my way to the monument. I was in amazement as I arrived at the base and even more in awe once I made it to the top.
8 Key Factors to Enjoy Scotts Bluff National Monument
- Check the Weather Forest: The first thing I would do is check the weather before going to Scotts Bluff National Monument. The entire park was covered in snow on my visit including the hiking trails which made it a little difficult to hike but also much more rewarding.
- Research the Different Trails: The second key factor is to research the different trails the park has to offer. I had no idea which trail to take and eventually made a guess. I took a random trail which in the end turned out to be awesome! Sometimes unplanned adventures are the best.
- Discover the Surrounding Areas: I would recommend checking out the surrounding areas and sites of Scotts Bluff. Chimney Rock was literally about 20 miles away and had I known beforehand, I would have added it to my itinerary instead of exploring it last minute. Despite going late, it was still an incredible destination. You can also explore some other amazing parks in Nebraska like Chadron State Park.
- Summit Chimney Rock: The best memory I have of Scotts Bluff National Monument was actually summiting Chimney Rock. It looks so small and tiny but it’s a really mighty hill! After hiking around Scotts Bluff and then hiking and climbing Chimney Rock, it took everything out of me but the view at the top was absolutely breathtaking.
- Take Plenty of Water and Snacks: Bringing plenty of water and snacks is a given no matter where you go hiking at Scotts Bluff. I actually can’t stress this point enough. There is no water or food stops along the way and that climb from the bottom to the top does get quite exhausting. It’s always better to be over prepared than underprepared.
- Bring your Best Camera or Smartphone: You will be taking endless photos on your exploration around Scotts Bluff and so a good camera will come in handy. The scenery here is incredibly beautiful and unique.
- Put on your Best Hiking Boots: Take a pair of decent hiking boots. I would recommend hiking from the bottom to the top of the Bluffs. However, if you are pressed for time or can’t make the hike, you can easily drive to the top of the lookouts and take in the awesome views.
- Keep an Eye Out for Deer: I saw five deer on my hike up and this added a touch of excitement to the whole experience. Rich wildlife combined with epic landscapes always make for a good time!
Where to Stay near the National Monument
The closest town to the national monument is, of course, Scottsbluff. On my trip I spent the entire day out there and then hit the road back home. So I’m not sure about the different hotels, Airbnbs and campgrounds on offer. I would suggest researching the options in Scottsbluff if you plan on visiting from out of state. Thanks for reading everyone and enjoy your visit!