We road tripped from Colorado's Bear Lake Park (operated by the city of Lakewood), through Kimball and the High Point Welcome Center. I highly recommend stopping as it's right on I-80 and has a wealth of information for all points in Nebraska.
From there it was a straight shot north through the Wildcat Hills. I have no idea how much time you would have to schedule on a road trip to do ALL of the things you want to do, but on this trip, we didn't have time to stop at the Visitor Center or hike the hills. That will have to be another trip. Suffice it to say that all travelers who believe Nebraska is flat should make a trip north of I-80 on Highway 41 to Scottsbluff/Gering.
|A bad cell phone photo taken through a dirty windshield of Nebraska's beautiful Wildcat Hills|
The Riverside RV Park, while very convenient to the Discovery Center, Scotts Bluff National Monument and being adjacent to a hike/bike trail along the North Platte River, wouldn't be my first choice when recommending a park in the area. The camp host was friendly and efficient, but the maintenance of the area (that includes fishing ponds and a disc golf course) leaves a lot to be desired. The foliage at the pad sites are more weeds than grass, the disc golf course is completely overgrown, as are the paths around the fishing ponds. I know with all of the high water, this has been a very bad year to try to keep up on things, but it appeared to have been neglected for far longer than just this spring.
Now, on to the subject of my post! The incredible Scotts Bluff National Monument!
|Lots of interpretive markers to help tell the story|
It's a quick drive from anywhere in Scottsbluff / Gering. There is a National Parks Visitor Center at the base, and a $5 per car fee to enter. We opted to drive to the top first. The road and the tunnels, really all of the man-made structures that make the park so convenient to visit were constructed in the 1930's by the CCC!
|The first tunnel on the drive up to the top.|
|One of the views to the east.|
|Looking down at the Visitor Center, Mitchell Pass and the beginning of the drive to the top.|
|The Legacy of the Plains Farm and Ranch Museum at the base of Scotts Bluff (One of the many museums we didn't have time to see!)|
|This arrow, if you could see in the distance, points to Laramie Peak, 120 miles to the west. We could see it the day we were there. It is at the far northern end of the trail on the top.|
|This arrow points to Chimney Rock to the east.|
Hints: Give yourself several hours to enjoy your visit. Wear comfortable shoes (hiking boots preferred). Hike ALL of the trails! Spend enough time in the Visitor Center to learn the story and see the wonderful collection of art. Visit the Legacy of the Plains Museum. WATCH FOR RATTLE SNAKES!