Stopped here after visiting the Chimney Rock monument earlier in the day on an Oregon Trail history trek. The scenery and hiking trails are beautiful, and the history of the pass is fascinating as well. For a reasonable fee, you can drive to the top of the bluff and enjoy outstanding views of the surrounding area. There are additional hiking trails that begin from the parking area at the top of the bluff. We found several different styles of wagons on display that would have been typical of the time period, and it was interesting to see that some of the original ruts from the wagon trains are still visible today.
I was a little disappointed in the visitors' center, however. First impressions, it seemed a bit dated and in need of some remodeling. When we visited, all of the display items were removed from the cases. Signage indicated that they were prepping for new displays. I can understand ... that has to be done from time to time. But there wasn't a lot of other information in the displays apart from the missing items. The video presentation was interesting, though I felt not quite as well done as the one we had seen earlier in the day at Chimney Rock.
The gentleman who was manning the desk was a volunteer. He was very friendly and helpful. But when we went to purchase our pass to drive to the top of the bluff, we had about a 20 minute wait. He informed us that volunteers are not allowed to collect money and the ranger on duty was away at lunch :) Probably a sensible policy, but a bit of an annoyance if you have bad timing. As an engineer geek, I found the scale model of the bluffs very interesting.
Overall, I thought the visitors' center could have done a much better job of exploring the history and the stories of the people that travelled the area. Still, the scenery and the hiking opportunities made up the difference. It was a worthwhile stop.
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