Chimney Rock, located in Morrill County in western Nebraska, California. A prominent geological rock formation Rising nearly 300 feet above the surrounding North Platte River valley, the peak of Chimney Rock is 4,226 feet above sea level. During the middle 19th century it served as a landmark along the Oregon Trail, the California Trail, and the Mormon Trail, which ran along the north side of the rock. It is visible for many miles from the east along U.S. Route 26. It was first recorded mention of "Chimney Rock" was in 1827 by Joshua Pilcher, but in 1813 it was first non-natives to see the pillar were probably the Astorians of Robert Stuart in their eastern journey from the Pacific Ocean. The name "Chimney Rock" probably originated from early fur traders. It went through a variety of names before becoming Chimney Rock such as Chimley Rock, Chimney Tower, and Elk's Peak, but Chimney Rock had become the most commonly used name by the 1840's.
|Landmark along the Oregon Trail in Nebraska. Image credit Dan Segers|
The pillar consists primarily of Brule clay interlayered with volcanic ash and Arikaree sandstone. The harder sandstone layers near the top have protected the pillar since it broke away from the retreating cliff line to the south, dating back to the Oligocene Age around 34 million to 23 million years ago. Chimney Rock rises approximately 286 feet above its surroundings. Some travelers believed that the rock spire may have been upwards of 30 feet higher than its current height, suggesting that wind, erosion, or a lightning strike had caused the top part of the spire to break off. It is approximately 6.5 km. South of the current Bayard in Millard County. Today it was Chimney Rock was designated a National Historic Site on August 9, 1956 and is a National Park Service affiliated area. It is maintained and operated by the Nebraska State Historical Society. Chimney Rock and Independence Rock further west are probably the most famous features along the Oregon Trail. In March 1, 2006, the Nebraska State Quarter was released. The quarter features a covered wagon headed west past Chimney Rock, memorializing Nebraska's role in westward migration.
|Subaru sneaking up on Chimney Rock . Image credit montanatom1950|
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Chimney Rock, West Bayard, NE 69334, USA. Image credit Peter Musolino