Agate Fossil Beds and its surrounding prairie are preserved in a 3,000 acre national monument. Once part of “Captain” James H. Cook’s Agate Springs Ranch, the nearby beds are an important source for 19.2 million year-old Miocene epoch mammal fossils. Cook’s ranch also became a gathering place for Chief Red Cloud and other Oglala Lakota (Sioux) Indian people.
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Attractions in Scotts Bluff Area
We sell locally grown, all natural produce, and cheeses. We also feature local artisans like Double L Country store luxurious soaps and body butters, Laura Leggott Granola, Victory Hill Cheese and Surface of the Sun Dry Rubs. Because we are always looking for the best products in the Panhandle area, our inventory is always changing. Come by often and see what's new down on the farm.
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This is the single most noted landmark on the Oregon Trail. The first noted use of the name was found in a journal from 1830, but it is in journals of hundreds of a covered-wagon emigrants. Chimney Rock could be seen from far out on the plains and it signaled that the second phase, the difficult mountain passage, was near. Thousands wrote about carving their names on the tower even though the inscriptions have weathered away.
Located near Scotts Bluff National Monument, Fort Mitchell served as a frontier army post from 1864 to 1867. Fort Mitchell was named in honor of General Robert B. Mitchell and was established to protect emigrants on the Oregon Trail and the transcontinental telegraph. In 1978, the site where Fort Mitchell once stood was added to the National Register of Historic Places and is located northwest of Scotts Bluff National Monument just east of the North Platte River Bridge on Highway 92. There are markers at the site for the historic fort as well as the Pony Express and the Oregon Trail.
The Fossil Freeway is a one-of-a-kind highway corridor between Nebraska’s Panhandle and The Black Hills in South Dakota where one will experience the wonders of our rich fossil history. Step back in time as you visit many exceptional sites along this route, which exhibit rare and remarkable treasures from our prehistoric past.
Native Americans Gathered for Treaty In 1851
July, third weekend
Lake Minatare State Recreation Area is one of the most popular and scenic recreation areas in Western Nebraska. The 2,180-acre lake was built in 1915 for irrigation storage and is home to one of only seven inland lighthouses in the U.S. The 55-foot tall stone structure offers a beautiful view from the top. You can sit back and relax under the trees while camping or picnicking in a modern campground including paved pads with electrical hookups, modern restrooms and showers. You’ll find sandy beaches, four boat ramps, and room for power boating, skiing, or sailing. Anglers have excellent action on walleye, channel catfish, black crappie, yellow perch and white bass. Seven miles north of Minatare on Stonegate Road. Open Jan. 15 to Oct. 15. Park permit required.
Located on the Oregon Trail, the Legacy of the Plains Museum features an impressive collection of pioneer and early community artifacts, antique tractors, and farm implements; an 80-acre working farm; historic farmstead structures; and striking views of Scotts Bluff National Monument. Come live the timeless stories of the Nebraska prairie.
Just off Highway 26 east of Scottsbluff sits a shaded grave, surrounded by protective green trees. You might wonder the story of that gravesite. Who is in it? Why is it so significant? An educational historical marker will tell you that the grave belongs to Rebecca Winters, one of the few people to be buried in a marked grave along the Mormon Trail.
If you are looking for a great family-oriented stop, this is it. The AZA accredited zoo hosts 170 native and exotic animals – from bison and swift fox to lions and tigers. You will find 16 species of rare and endangered animals for up close viewing. There is something to “discover” around every corner! The 22 acre center also features a playground, petting zoo, splash pad, and dino dig for children of all ages to enjoy. Agriculture is the focus of the Heritage Barn, home to the heritage livestock breeds and the Don Steen Heritage Room displays taxidermy mounts of the forbearers of modern domestic livestock.
The 1851 trading post of Antoine Robidoux was where the Plains Indians brought their wares for trade. For the immigrant traveling the Oregon Trail, it was one of the first signs of civilization after many weeks of nothing but prairie lands. Pioneer graves as well as wagon ruts are visible along this historic route. The trading post has been reconstructed from 100-year old, hand-hewn logs on its original site.
Scotts Bluff National Monument, located west of Gering contains 3,003 acres of prairie and bluff habitat. The glorious Bluff rises 800 feet above the North Platte River and became a landmark and resting place for Native Americans, fur traders/trappers and pioneers on their way to Oregon and California. Come and enjoy the National Monuments four miles of hiking trails that also include portions of the original Oregon Trail which allow you to walk in the footsteps of the emigrants. Visitors to Scotts Bluff National Monument can drive to the summit of the Bluff and take in the breathtaking panoramic views of the North Platte River Valley, Chimney Rock and Laramie Peak (90 miles distance). The Visitor Center at Scotts Bluff National Monument contains the Oregon Trail Museum that highlights Native American, fur trade, frontier military, Pony Express and emigrant history as well as the geology and paleontology of the area.
Victory Hill Farm is a small family-owned and operated Grade A Goat Dairy Farm and cheesemaking operation in western Nebraska. Our mission is to grow, produce and sell locally the finest earth-friendly farm products, specializing in farmstead artisan goat cheese. These fresh and aged cheeses are handmade in small quantities using only milk from the herd of goats located on this farm.
We at the West Nebraska Arts Center are committed to provide artists a lively public venue to share their talents with our community. The Main Gallery and the Bronson Gallery at WNAC are beautiful spaces that feature 18 exhibits a year by local, national, and international artists representing a wide variety of visual art. Scotts Bluff County and the surrounding region are rich with individuals who value the arts in their lives. Established in 1967 and located on the corner of 18th Street and 1st Avenue, just one block from downtown Scottsbluff, West Nebraska Arts Center is a 501 (c) (3), non-profit organization committed to education, awareness, and excellence in the arts. The gallery exhibits are always FREE and open to everyone.
There is a wonderful library of books, Ancestry.com, Fold3 service records, old newspapers, Year Books from many schools from this area and even outside our area, Obituaries, Cemetery records, Marriage records, and many other things, all for people to research their families. There are forums every month and also a monthly news letter that provides much information on so many different things pertaining to genealogy. FREE and open to everyone.
Wildcat Hills State Recreation Area offers over 3 1/2 miles of nature trails perfect for hiking or mountain biking on 1,100 piney acres of beautiful terrain. The Nature Center, home to a 27-foot tall, artificial, ponderosa pine that extends to the top floor, has a 125-person community room, youth classroom and museum/exhibit rooms that are overflowing with information. The two observation decks overlook the North Platte Valley. Located ten miles south of Gering on Hwy 71, the Nature Center is open daily during the summer season and weekdays during the fall and winter seasons. The Shooting Sports Complex was added in 2016 and operates most of the year. It offers a rim fire/small bore range, pistol range, indoor air rifle range, 60-yard archery range, shotgun/trap range and a 100-yard high power rifle range. Primitive camping is available in two campground areas. Also available is a new group camping area for Scouts and youth groups.