Courthouse and Jail Rocks, Bridgeport

4.2
#27 of 28 in Nature in Nebraska
Courthouse and Jail Rocks are two rock formations located near Bridgeport in the Nebraska Panhandle.The Oregon-California Trail, the Mormon Trail, the Pony Express Trail and the Sidney-Deadwood Trail all ran near the rocks. The pair of rock formations served as a landmark along the trails for many pioneers traveling west in the 19th century. Many travelers would stray as much as five miles (8 km) from the Oregon Trail just to get a glimpse of the rocks.Hundreds of westward-bound emigrants mentioned Courthouse Rock (originally also McFarlan's Castle) in their travel logs and journals. The name "Courthouse" was first used in 1837. In 1845, one traveler described the rock as "resembling the ruins of an old castle rises abruptly from the plain....It is difficult to look upon it and not believe that art had something to do with its construction. The voyagers have called it the Courthouse; but it looks infinitely more like the Capitol."Courthouse and Jail Rocks, which rise 400 feet (121 m) above the North Platte Valley, are composed of Brule clay, Gering sandstone and volcanic ash. The rock formations are listed in the National Register of Historic Places and in the Nebraska Natural Areas Register.
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Courthouse and Jail Rocks Reviews
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  • Interesting rock formations used as landmarks during the westward migration. If you are interested in climbing or for a closer view, do not take the dirt "road" adjacent to the historical marker/sign....  more »
  • If you're in the area checking out Chimney Rock, you definitely need to take a quick drive over to Courthouse and Jail Rocks. It's an easy drive right up to them and you can even get a fun climb in. R...  more »
  • Thankful that our motel owner recommended we drive out to see this outstanding rock formation where the Mormon and California Trails split. The road to get there was a mere dirt road, but this was an ...  more »

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