Saddle Rock Trail is the trail at Scottsbluff National Monument. A paved 3-mile round trip hike to the top of Scottsbluff. A scenic trek that is good for the first-time visitor as well as a good workout for those that live in the area. Unfortunately, the Saddle Rock Trail has been shut down since 2015 due to a rock slide. Posted on their website and at the visitor center. Two places that I conveniently forgot to look as I hiked to the top.
My wife and I had the perfect plan. I would hike from the bottom she and the girls would go to the top and wait for me. Of course, the best laid plans can go to waste in a moment’s notice. About ¾ of a mile into the trail there was a barricade. Now what to do… I hustled back down the trail hoping that Karen had not made the drive up. She did say that she was going to revisit the visitor center with the girls. No luck and no car in the parking lot.
Next step was to visit the wonderful park rangers and they were extremely nice. They actually had a shuttle service that takes people to the top. So, I got to take a quick ride up to the top with a volunteer in the park services. Had a great talk with him on the ride up. Just a wonderful guy. Very knowledgeable about the national monument and inquisitive about my family and what I did for a living. As we neared the top I spotted my wife and two little ones splashing in a rain puddle in the upper parking lot.
He let me out right next to them, met my wife, and we waved goodbye. The Saddle Rock Trail is no more but at least I got a story to tell out of it. According to the park ranger it is probably going to be closed indefinitely. The erosion of Scottsbluff and need for public safety will probably mean that Saddle Rock Trail will never be reopened. Hopefully I am wrong in that.
Though I did not get to complete the hike. I did learn a valuable lesson. I need to do little homework before setting off on a hike especially if someone is waiting for you on the other side. Better yet just read the sign before I march off.
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