Today, the Nebraska portion of U.S. Highway 385 is designated the Gold Rush Byway. From the Colorado to the South Dakota state lines, the highway connects Sidney with Bridgeport, Alliance and Chadron. It follows the old trail for much of the way and rolls through some of the most spectacular country in Nebraska. Heading north from Sidney, the highway passes through Gurley and Dalton before descending dramatically into the North Platte Valley beside Courthouse and Jail rocks near Bridgeport.
Northeast of Sidney, visitors can find one of the state’s most interesting greenhouses. It’s interesting, too, that the owners of Ricky and Lucy’s Country Greenhouse, 11732 Road 32, are neither named Ricky nor Lucy. In 2003, Terri and Dan Wolff opened the business in a renovated 1800s era barn. Their organic farm offers herbs and spices, dips, medicinal herbs, teas, coffees and pasta. There is a gift shop with Roman-inspired fountains and pottery. Open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday from May-September, or by appointment; and during the off season by appointment only. (877) 254-2204.
Six miles west of Sidney, the I-80 Golden Link marks where the last segment of Interstate 80 was completed in 1974. The link is a 6-inch strip of brass plates embedded in both lanes of the thoroughfare, signifying the joining of Western and Eastern Nebraska.
For more information on the Highway 385 Gold Rush Byway, contact (308) 254-4030 or visit www.sidneycheyennecountytourism.com.
Top photo by Rick Neibel