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Courthouse Rock & Jail Rock

Photo by Steve & Bobbi Olson

Wildcat Hills Guided Pioneers West

Courthouse Rock and Jail Rock are ruggedly beautiful and prominent in the history and legends of the area. Courthouse Rock rises 340 feet above the valley floor and got its name because of its blocky shape. Oregon Trail migrants thought it looked like a courthouse; the smaller rock formation nearby was therefore the jail. They are the easternmost outliers of the Wildcat Hills.

The story is told of a band of Skidi Pawnees who fled their enemies, the Sioux, by climbing Courthouse Rock. With cliffs on three sides and only one difficult path to the top, the Pawnee were trapped. The Sioux camped at the base of the rock and waited for their enemies to give up from thirst and hunger. But late at night, the Pawnees made a long rope from their pony lariats, quietly descended a cliff one by one and escaped.

The area is five miles south of Bridgeport on Highway 88. You won’t need to ask directions. The rocks are visible for miles. The area is open year-round and charges no admission.

For more information, contact the Bridgeport Chamber of Commerce at (308) 262-1825 or visit

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