A challenging hike in some of western Nebraska’s most interesting terrain, this 3.8-mile out-and back begins at the Scotts Bluff National Monument visitor center. The paved path winds uphill almost immediately after leaving the trailhead, crossing an open prairie and climbing sweeping switchbacks on the side of the bluff. Below the spires of Saddle Rock, the trail passes through a 100-foot tunnel and then rounds the saddle itself as it continues to climb. Near mile 1.5, the trail levels and winds around the top of the bluff toward two overlooks. If lightning isn’t a danger, spend some time resting and wandering the trails at the top before descending the same trail toward the visitor center and museum.
Note: Although this mapped 4-mile route is recommended, it’s possible to drive to a parking area near the summit and still hit the overlook highlights without strenuous walking.
-Mapped by Kristy Holland