Chimney Rock National Historic Site
Chimney Rock Trail
Morrill County, Nebraska
Used as a landmark by Native-Americans, the first recorded mention of "Chimney Rock" was in 1827 by Joshua Pilcher. Pilcher had journeyed up the Platte River valley to the Salt Lake rendezvous of the Rocky Mountain fur trappers.
Based on sketches, paintings, written accounts, and a 1897 photograph, Chimney Rock was taller when it was first seen by settlers, but has been reduced in height since then by erosion and lightning.
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.
Chimney Rock National Historic Site Categories
During the middle 19th century Chimney Rock served as a landmark along the Oregon Trail, the California Trail, and the Mormon Trail, which ran along the north side of the rock.
Chimney Rock is a prominent geological rock formation. Rising nearly 300 feet (91 m) above the surrounding North Platte River valley, the peak of Chimney Rock is 4,226 feet (1,288 m) above sea level.
Other Chimney Rock National Historic Site Resources