Visible to wagon trains for several days, Chimney Rock was the most noted landmark along the Oregon Trail. With a 120-foot spire and standing 325 feet from tip to base, it was unlike anything the pioneers had ever seen. The landmark’s story is told at the Ethel and Christopher J. Abbot Visitor Center at Chimney Rock National Historic Site. The center interprets the westward migration of the 19th century – the greatest voluntary mass migration in history – and the significance of Chimney Rock itself. It is 1 1/2 miles south of Highway 92 near Bayard and is open daily, year-round. (308) 586-2581.
Experience pioneer-style wagon rides in the shadow of Chimney Rock on the Oregon Trail Wagon Train, which offers group tours, chuck wagon suppers and one- to four-day journeys with historical re-enactors. (308) 586-1850.
In town, the Bayard Chimney Rock Museum is a local history museum housed in a refurbished railroad depot at the south end of downtown. It is open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily during the summer and at other times by appointment. Contact the Chimney Rock Visitor Center (see above) for more information.
Chimney Rock Pioneer Crossing offers gift shops, snacks, a stocked fishing hole, teepee sleeping, RV parking and hookups. Chimney Rock Golf Course, a nine-hole public course, is north of town. Flying Bee Beefmaster Ranch is a 4,000-acre working cattle ranch that offers camping, cabins, bed-and-breakfast guest rooms, hiking and trail riding (see Scottsbluff in listings on pg. 86).
Wagon ruts and remains of original sod houses are visible at the Chimney Rock Pony Express Station. The site is on private land two miles south of town on Highway 26, then 1 1/2 miles west on Oregon Trail Road. Call ahead for directions. (308) 586-1850.
For more information on Bayard, contact the city office at (308) 586-1121 or visit www.cityofbayard.net.