Scotts Bluffs

ABOVE: Chimney Rock over time.

Last in the series of geologic wonders the emigrants encountered was a group of formations known as Scotts Bluffs (now called Scottsbluff or Scotts Bluff).

Emigrant Ada Vogdes:
"This Scottsbluff is grand beyond description. It looks exactly like a splendid old fort all in thorough order, equipped and manned and ready for service, at a moment's notice."

Emigrant Thomas Eastin:
"How can I describe the scene that now bursts upon us? Tower, bastion, dome and battlement vie in all their majesty before us. A dark cloud is rising in the northwest. A more beautiful and majestic scene cannot be conceived. How wonderful, how great, how sublime are Thy works, O God!"

Unlike Chimney Rock or Courthouse Rock, Scotts Bluffs were something of an obstacle for the emigrants. In the early years, the Trail veered south, avoiding the bluffs. But after 1850 a shorter route through the bluffs at Mitchell Pass gained favor. In some places, the ruts at Mitchell Pass cut eight feet deep into the soft stone. It was a treacherous and difficult cutoff and in the end it was about the same distance as the old route.