Traveling northwest from Ash Hollow, the emigrants encountered three natural features of the North Platte Valley which became well-known milestones. First was Court House Rock, rising abruptly from the plains as the vanguard of the bluffs farther on. Observers likened this gigantic formation to some great public building or medieval castle.
However, no single sight along the trail attracted as much attention as Chimney Rock. The tower, which could be seen for miles, served as a beacon for the weary travelers. Many camped nearby, and Chimney Rock is mentioned in more trail accounts than any other landmark. Although the spire is slowly crumbling due to erosion, Chimney Rock remains a unique natural wonder.
As the wagon trains approached the end of their journey across Nebraska, they were greeted by a series of citadel-like eminences, dominated by the imposing bulk of Scott's Bluffs. Named after fur trader Hiram Scott, the Bluffs are now a national monument.
Visible traces of the great migration still survive in some areas, and the landmarks remain for the modern traveler who chooses to follow the route of the Great Platte River Road.
Nebraska State Historical Society
U.S. I-80 Westbound rest area, east of Ogallala