Scenic USA - Nebraska

Western Trails Scenic and Historic Byway

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Scotts Bluff National Monument - Western Trails Scenic and Historic Byway, Scottsbluff, Nebraska

Photos by Ben Prepelka
Ben's Panoramio Gallery

   Nebraska’s Western Trails Scenic and Chimney Rock - Chimney Rock NHS, Nebraska Historic Byway retraces the footsteps of 70,000 Mormons and thousands of other pioneers who followed the Platte River to the West. This main street of America, also known as the Oregon Trail and the Mormon Trail, paved the way for future routes, such as the Pony Express and the Union Pacific's Transcontinental Railroad.
   Today, the 144 mile byway not only reacquaints byway travelers to the rough and rowdy days of the West, but also highlights the scenic beauty of Nebraska's High Plains. Following U.S. Route 26 and Route 92, the byway starts at Ogallala and heads west-northwest to the twin cities of Scottsbluff and Gering. Starting in the east, Ogallala recalls its rough and rowdy days as a cowpoke town. Cattle drives ended here, cowboys were paid, and herds of cattle continued on aboard a freight train. Heading westward, the byway passes a modern dam, creating the state’s largest reservoir and Lake McConaughy State Recreation Area. Ash Hollow State Park Courthouse Rock and Jail Rock- Bridgeport, Nebraska is a welcome sight for today’s visitors as well as yesteryear's hot and thirsty pioneers. The Courthouse and Jail rocks are another pair of the trail's unique landmarks which marked the way for early pioneers. Seen for miles in the distance, Chimney Rock is the most famous rock formation along the byway. The byway ends with this dramatic sight at Scotts Bluff. The 800 foot high cliffs would have been a formidable challenge to early settlers without the natural Mitchell Pass between the cliffs.

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