After our visit to the Pony Express Station in Gothenburg, Nebraska on Tuesday, September 17, we continued west to Ogallala, Nebraska, then turned northwest on scenic U. S. Highway 26. We hadn't gone far on that road before we came to a sorry-looking side road leading to a scenic overlook, overlooking Ogallala's Lake McConaughy.
Lake McConaughy is Nebraska's largest lake, with over 100 miles of shoreline.
This is that sorry-looking road that led us up to the Lake McConaughy scenic overlook.
A rural scene along U. S. Highway 26. That dark spot on the horizon is a tree.
Another look at the rural scenery along that scenic highway
Our goal in traveling U. S. 26 was to see Chimney Rock, probably the most famous landmark along the Oregon Trail. In the above photo, you can see it in the distance, as it might have appeared to those approaching from the east, traveling by wagon train along that route. (Of course there would have been no fences or paved highway in the view they saw.)
This one was taken from the side road leading to the Chimney Rock National Historic Site.
This sign was enough to keep us from wandering from the designated access areas.
Chimney Rock as it looked from the visitor area at Chimney Rock National Historic Site.
This picture is looking back at it from the west.
These are some other rock formations to the west of Chimney Rock.
Nearly half a million westbound pioneers passed by Chimney Rock, as part of the great western migration during the years 1812-1866. A few left pictures or words of encouragement for those who would follow. Chimney Rock marked the end of plains travel and the beginning of the rugged mountain portion of the journey for those traveling overland to Oregon, California, and Utah. It also became the site of one of the Pony Express relay stations in 1860-1861.
Visitors are not permitted access to the rock formation itself, but information and a museum are available in the visitor center.