Outdoor adventures, remarkable scenery and pioneer history await in Scottsbluff. The city sits on the north banks of the North Platte River in the Nebraska panhandle. It takes its name from Scotts Bluff National Monument, a striking set of rocks looming over the south side of the river. During the mid-1800s, the monument was used as a landmark on three famous pioneer trails: the Oregon Trail, the California Trail and the Pony Express Trail.
Many of Scottsbluff’s attractions are outside the city center. The city has limited public transportation so getting around is easiest via car.
Explore the trails and marvel at the rock formations of Scotts Bluff National Monument. Check out the prairie wagons and then walk along the Oregon Trail Pathway, which follows part of the original Oregon Trail. Hike along the Saddle Rock Trail to lookouts that offer sweeping views of the city and river. Enjoy uninterrupted views of the 4,659-foot-tall (1,420-meter) rocks from the Prairie View Trail.
Visit the monument’s Oregon Trail Museum to learn about the region’s pioneer, geological and paleontological history. Browse the museum’s gallery dedicated to the paintings of William Henry Jackson. At the nearby Legacy of the Plains Museum you can see a working farmstead and hear stories of the Nebraska prairie.
Go to Riverside Discovery Center for family fun. Spot over 175 native and exotic animals, including big cats, monkeys and snakes. Let your kids enjoy playing in the water jets and fountains of the center’s Splash Pad area.
Discover outdoor recreation opportunities within a 30-minute drive from Scottsbluff. Go swimming, fishing, sailing and Jet-Skiing at Lake Minature State Recreation Area and see the state’s only lighthouse. Spot migrating water birds, coyotes and raccoons in North Platte National Wildlife Reserve. The scenic trails in Wildcat Hills State Recreation Area are great for hiking and biking. Visit in the winter when snow-covered peaks present a calm and picturesque wonderland.
Scottsbluff is about a 3-hour drive north of Denver, Colorado. A convenient way to get here is by car, which allows the chance to enjoy scenic drives through Nebraska’s rugged landscapes.