Activities

Activities, Attractions, and Special Events in Western Nebraska

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Rick and Lucy's Country Gift Shop
Rick and Lucy's Country Gift Shop

Ricky & Lucy's Country Gift Shop Northeast of Sidney, visitors can find Ricky and Lucy’s Country Gift Shop. The owners 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, medici

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Hudson-Meng Education & Research Center
Hudson-Meng Education & Research Center

What killed the bison?  Research it here. Highway 2 leads north to Oglala National Grassland, home of pronghorn, turkey, mule deer and burrowing owls. Toadstool Geologic Park is a strange landscape within the grassland. Sediment layers deposited by ancient volcanoes have eroded at different r

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Toadstool Geologic Park
Toadstool Geologic Park

  Strangest landscape in the Oglala National Grassland! Highway 2 leads north to Oglala National Grassland, home of pronghorn, turkey, mule deer and burrowing owls. Toadstool Geologic Park is regarded as a strange landscape within the grassland. Sediment layers deposited by ancient vo

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Midwest Theater
Midwest Theater
Historic Midwest Theater

Historic Midwest Theater The historic Midwest Theater  is a grand, old movie palace of yesteryear in downtown Scottsbluff. For more information on Scottsbluff, contact Scotts Bluff County Tourism at 800-788-9475 or visit www.VisitScottsBluff.com.

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Fort Cody Trading Post
Fort Cody Trading Post

Photo by Steve & Bobbi Olson Stockades, Buffalo Bill Cody Memorabilia and Wild West Show!   While approaching North Platte from Interstate 80, one of the first landmarks seen is Fort Cody Trading Post. When viewed from the outside it looks like a frontier log stockade complete with aut

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Banner County Museum

See How Pioneers Lived in Harrisburg Turning north from Kimball, State Highway 71 will take you past the little village of Harrisburg.  The Banner County Museum is an 11-building complex that includes a 19th-century log schoolhouse, sod house, log cabin, 1910 barn, pioneer church and the old

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Railroad History - Point of Rocks & Buffalo Bend
Railroad History - Point of Rocks & Buffalo Bend

Longest Creek In the World? Three miles east of Potter on U.S. Highway 30 is the historic Point of Rocks, where railroad crews laying the Union Pacific line east of Potter clashed with Indians.  The altercations provided the impetus to establish Fort Sidney. The track here, called Buffalo Ben

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War Memorial - Legion Park & Memorial Gardens
War Memorial - Legion Park & Memorial Gardens

Tallest Flagpole in Nebraska! Twenty-nine Sidney buildings are on the National Register of Historic Places. Sidney is the only Western Nebraska city with a “Historic District” designation. When a local man suggested erecting a flagpole for the War Memorial in Legion Park and Memorial

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Sidney Barracks
Sidney Barracks

Protecting the Railroad in Sidney from Attack! Sidney Barracks was established in 1867 to protect Union Pacific Railroad track layers from attack. In 1869, the post was relocated to the present site at Sidney. The following year it was renamed Fort Sidney and was active through the Indian wars. At

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Cabela's - World's Foremost Outfitter
Cabela's - World's Foremost Outfitter

Cabela's - Connecting Sidney with the USA The community of 6,900 residents is best known as the home of Cabela’s, a locally-owned business that began on a kitchen table and now bills itself as the “World’s Foremost Outfitter.” Visible for miles, the green-and-gold water to

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Lodgepole Depot Museum
Lodgepole Depot Museum

Train Depot, Railroad Museum and History in Lodgepole The Lodgepole Depot Museum, on the corner of McCall Street & Bates Boulevard, displays horse buggies, antique furniture, pony express items and historical clothing inside the an old train depot. Open by appointment. (308) 483-5353. For mor

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Chappell Memorial Art Gallery

Fine Art in Chappell The reproductions at the Chappell Memorial Art Gallery are so good that they were long thought to be Rembrandt originals. The gallery is part of the Chappell Public Library, 289 Babcock. For more information, call Chappell Tourist Information at (308) 874-2401 or visit ww

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Waterman Sod House

Pioneers Built and Lived In Sod Houses Western Nebraska is sod house country. The Waterman Sod House is among the last of the old-time sod houses still standing. It is five miles north of Big Springs on Day Road. For more information, contact the Big Springs Chamber of Commerce at (308) 889-3

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Eiker Park - Springs & Walking Trails
Eiker Park - Springs & Walking Trails

Hiking Big Springs and the Union Pacific Train Robbery Heading west from Ogallala on I-80, you’ll come to Big Springs. The first and largest robbery of a Union Pacific train happened here in 1877. Texas outlaw Sam Bass and five companions made off with $60,000 in gold and currency. Some say

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 Lake McConaughy Visitor & Water Interpretive Center
Lake McConaughy Visitor & Water Interpretive Center

Nebraska's First Water Museum! The Lake McConaughy Visitor/Water Interpretive Center is on the south side of the lake, nine miles north of Ogallala on Highway 61. Nebraska’s first water museum interprets the significance of water to Nebraska’s past, present and future. The center includ

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Nebraska's "Cowboy Capital"
Nebraska's "Cowboy Capital"

The Cowboy Capital of Nebraska Ogallala was the “Gomorrah of the cattle trail,” wrote Andy Adams, a trail driver who first saw the community in 1875. In the 1870s and 1880s, Ogallala was the end of the trail as cowboys drove herds of longhorns up from Texas to be shipped east on the U

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Ole's Big Game Steakhouse & Lounge
Ole's Big Game Steakhouse & Lounge

Breakfast, Burgers and Big Game Mounts Ole’s Big Game Steakhouse began as a bar in downtown Paxton. Through the years, owner Ole Herstedt decorated it with more than 200 big game trophies. Great food and drink accompany the menagerie. (308) 239-4500.

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America's 20th Century Veterans' Memorial
America's 20th Century Veterans' Memorial

Celebrate Military Men and Women Located just south of I-80, America’s 20th Century Veterans’ Memorial honors all military men and women of the past century. A brick bas-relief sculpture depicts major wars from World War I to the Persian Gulf. Larger-than-life-size bronze statues depi

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Lincoln County Historical Museum

North Platte Canteen Display and Prairie Village The North Platte Canteen is commemorated at the Lincoln County Historical Museum. The World War II canteen met every train and fed the service men and women who passed through the depot – about 6 million in all. The museum also features a villa

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Feather River Vineyards
Feather River Vineyards

Wine Tasting in Nebraska The area’s geological history is part of the flavor of Feather River Vineyards, where the mineral-rich soil produces distinctive grapes for its new wines. There’s a tasting room for sampling each variety, and the purchase of bottles of your favorites and other

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Bailey Yard & the Golden Spike
Bailey Yard & the Golden Spike

Visit Bailey Yard - the World's Largest Railroad Classification yard In 1995, the Guinness Book of World Records recognized Union Pacific’s Bailey Yard as the world’s largest railroad classification yard. It has since grown by 25 percent. It stretches eight miles and covers nearly 3,0

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Buffalo Bill State Historical Park
Buffalo Bill State Historical Park

Buffalo Bill State Historical Park While approaching North Platte from Interstate 80, one of the first landmarks seen is Fort Cody Trading Post. Fort Cody is an old-fashioned roadside attraction. Outside it looks like a log stockade; inside it is a combination gift shop and museum, with Buffalo

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Frederick Peak Golf Course

New Golf Club Valentine Valentine has a new 10-hole public course opening during the summer of 2016. Frederick Peak is set in scenic hills and was designed by golfing legend Tom Lehman. The origin of the name of the landmark peak north of Valentine is uncertain. One tale recounts a settler by

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Fort Niobrara National Wildlife Refuge
Fort Niobrara National Wildlife Refuge

Bison, Elk, Birdwatching and Canoeing Five miles east of Valentine on Highway 12, Fort Niobrara National Wildlife Refuge is home to dust-raising herds of bison and elk. A 3.5-mile driving tour provides up close views. The bison are often encountered crossing the refuge road. While near the herds,

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Niobrara National Scenic River
Niobrara National Scenic River

Nebraska's Best River to Canoe The “Heart City” is near the Niobrara National Scenic River. Outfitters provide everything needed for fun floating. Five miles east of Valentine on Highway 12, bison and elk roam Niobrara National Wildlife Refuge. Attractions include, Smith Falls, Merrit

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Arthur Bowring Ranch State Historical Park
Arthur Bowring Ranch State Historical Park

Celebrate West Nebraska Cattle Ranching The history of Sandhills ranch life is on display at Arthur Bowring Ranch State Historical Park, a 7,202-acre ranch located three miles north and east of Merriman off Highway 20. Former U.S. Senator Eve Bowring managed the ranch until her death in 1985 at a

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Nebraska National Forest
Nebraska National Forest

Largest Hand-Planted Forest in the World For the westbound traveler, Highway 2, the Sandhills Journey Scenic Byway, heads northwest from Grand Island, passes the Nebraska National Forest at Halsey, crosses the lake country of the western Sandhills, then exits the region near Alliance and turns no

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Middle Loup River - Canoes, Kayaks & Stock Tanks
Middle Loup River - Canoes, Kayaks & Stock Tanks

Float the Middle Loup River People looking for a family-friendly river trip can float or paddle down the Middle Loup River just north of Mullen. The Middle Loup also is spring-fed and has relatively calm waters as it meanders through wide, sloping Sandhills canyons. Canoe and kayak rental is avai

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Dismal River Paddling - Canoe & Kayak
Dismal River Paddling - Canoe & Kayak

Canoe and Kayak the Dismal River.  It's Fun! Experienced canoers and kayakers can test their skills on the Dismal River south of Mullen. The Dismal is a fast-flowing, spring-fed river with plenty of twists and sunken debris that make it a natural obstacle course. Along the trip, canoers and ka

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Dismal River Club - Jack Nicklaus Golf Course
Dismal River Club - Jack Nicklaus Golf Course

Mullen Golf Course Designed by Jack Nicklaus The Nebraska Sandhills are also home to the world-class Dismal River Golf Club. Designed by Jack Nicklaus, this is links golf: rugged, windblown, hard and fast. The course is located two miles south and 17 miles southwest of Mullen. (308) 546-2900. Mulle

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Sand Hills Golf Club

Golf in the Geographic Heat of the Sandhills Mullen sits at the geographic heart of the Sandhills. For a region known for its striking beauty, it’s appropriate that one of the world’s best golf courses stretches out across the land here. Sand Hills Golf Club is an 18-hole private golf c

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World's Smallest Courthouse

The World's Smallest Courthouse is in Nebraska About 40 miles west of Tryon on Highway 92, Arthur is the only town and county seat of Arthur County. The ranching town boasts what is believed to be the world’s smallest courthouse. The 26-by-28-foot white frame building was built a year after A

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Box Butte Reservoir
Box Butte Reservoir

Box Butte Reservoir on the Niobrara River Box Butte Reservoir, a 1,600-acre lake and recreational area, is 10 miles north of town. It offers excellent fishing, boating, swimming, windsurfing and sailing, and is part of a state recreation area with picnic areas, hiking and primitive camping. (308

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Avenue of Flags
Avenue of Flags

Hemingford Flies Hundreds of American Flags Hemingford displays more than 200 American flags along its village streets during various holidays, such as July 4th weekend, Flag Day, Memorial Day, Veteran’s Day and others. Each historic flag once draped the casket of a veteran from the area, som

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Box Butte Avenue

Alliance Offers Historic Main Street Attractions Alliance’s downtown brick-lined main street, Box Butte Avenue, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is an active Historic Main Street organization. There are numerous shops, restaurants and other businesses in the downtown

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Dobby's Frontier Town
Dobby's Frontier Town

Photo by Christopher Amundson   Give Pioneer Life a Try Dobby’s Frontier Town, 320 E. 25th St., is a historic village with buildings from the 1890s through Prohibition. Kenneth “Dobby” Lee lamented the decay of early frontier buildings, so he began hauling them to his A

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Carnegie Arts Center
Carnegie Arts Center

Public Sculpture Garden in Alliance The Carnegie Arts Center is a gallery featuring local and regional artists. This center hosts renowned art shows such as installations of original Rembrandt and Albrecht Durer prints. It is housed in a historic 1911 building at 204 W. Fourth St. Open 10 a.m.-4

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Mari Sandoz Historical Marker
Mari Sandoz Historical Marker

Enjoy Countryside Solace Near Gordon The Mari Sandoz Historical Marker is in a valley of natural lakes 30 miles south of Gordon on Highway 27. Follow the signs from there east to Mari’s Grave on the Sandoz homestead and see the still-producing fruit orchards planted by her father, “Ol

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Scamahorn Museum

The Scamahorn Museum is a restored 1880s Methodist church and houses local history exhibits, military displays, Native American artifacts, pioneer and agricultural tools and genealogical records. The museum is the oldest building in Gordon and is named for the founder of the community, the Rev. John

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Tri-State Old Time Cowboy Museum

See How Cowboys lived in Gordon, Nebraska Cowboy memorabilia from the late 1800s through the present day is displayed at the Tri-State Old Time Cowboy Museum at the Gordon City Park at Fourth and Oak streets. An impressive collection of cattle brands burned into wood helps explain the area’s

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Beaver Wall & Sheridan Gates
Beaver Wall & Sheridan Gates

Geographic Wonders and Pioneer History in Hay Springs Two local landmarks have important historical significance. The Beaver Wall escarpment is in the middle of the Spotted Tail Agency and old Camp Sheridan. Spotted Tail was a famous Lakota (Sioux) leader and a contemporary of Crazy Horse. From the

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Walgren Lake State Recreation Area

Underwater Monster Swims Walgren Lake in Hay Springs A newspaper story in a 1922 issue of the Hay Springs News reported the sighting of a Loch Ness-style monster at Alkali Lake. Rumors circulated of ranchers losing cattle to the hungry beast, but no physical evidence of the creature’s questio

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Chadron State Park
Chadron State Park

Nebraska's Oldest State Park Offers Wilderness Fun Founded in 1921, Chadron State Park was Nebraska’s first state park. It encompasses nearly 1,000 acres of Pine Ridge wilderness nine miles south of Chadron on Highway 385. The park offers fishing, camping, hiking, mountain biking, bird watc

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Belmont Railroad Tunnel
Belmont Railroad Tunnel

Nebraska's Only Railroad Tunnel Draws Rainfans The 750-foot-long Belmont Tunnel is no longer used by trains. Railroad enthusiasts watch trains climbing the 10-mile-long Crawford-to-Belmont grade. Look for the Belmont sign nine miles south of Crawford on Highway 2. For more information about Crawfo

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High Plains Homestead
High Plains Homestead

Photo by Steve & Bobbi Olson Frontier Village on Nebraska's High Western Plains The High Plains Homestead/Drifter Cookshack features “cowboy-sized” meals. Lodging is available, and there’s a blacksmith shop, antique store and Dirty Creek Saloon. (308) 665-2592. The High Pl

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Red Cloud Buttes & Treaty Tree

Native American Historical Sites in Nebraska From Red Cloud Buttes, you see Crawford to the east, Fort Robinson to the south, and the Red Cloud Agency site to the southeast. Half a mile northwest is the site of the Treaty Tree, where in 1875 the U.S. government tried to buy the Black Hills from the

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Sowbelly Canyon Byway
Sowbelly Canyon Byway

Scenic Driving Tour Near Harrison, Nebraska For a scenic side trip head north from town on Sowbelly Road. In 1876, the 5th U.S. Cavalry fought a band of Cheyenne at what is known as Warbonnet Battlefield. Buffalo Bill is said to have killed Cheyenne warrior Yellow Hand during the fight. Go thre

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Crescent Lake National Wildlife Refuge
Crescent Lake National Wildlife Refuge

Enjoy Wildlife at Crescent Lake National Wildlife Refuge Oshkosh also is a point of departure for Crescent Lake National Wildlife Refuge, located deep in the remote and beautiful Sandhills Lakes country. The 46,000-acre refuge is 30 miles north of Oshkosh and includes 21 shallow and scenic natura

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Goose Hunting Capital of Nebraska
Goose Hunting Capital of Nebraska

Goose Hunting Capital of Nebraska Summer is the peak season for Western Nebraska tourism, but Oshkosh is also popular in fall. It’s the Goose Hunting Capital of Nebraska.  Several local hunting outfitters accommodate sportsmen from around the world. For more information, contact the O

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Art & 17 Ranch Winery
Art & 17 Ranch Winery

Winery Tour and Art Galleries Near Lake McConaughy Lewellen, at the west end of Lake McConaughy, features The Most Unlikely Place, a 1908 silent movie theater that is now a cafe. The owner roller skates about the maple floor, serving visitors surrounded by high-end art. On that same Main Street y

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Bridgeport State Recreation Area
Bridgeport State Recreation Area

Waterski, Camp, Fish and Hike Near Bridgeport, Nebraska Just off Highways 26 and 92 on the west edge of town, Bridgeport State Recreation Area offers primitive camping, hiking, fishing, swimming and waterskiing. It is open year-round. A state park entry permit is required. For more information,

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Courthouse Rock & Jail Rock Golf Course
Courthouse Rock & Jail Rock Golf Course

Fore!  Play Golf in Bridgeport. Courthouse and Jail Rock Golf Club, a nine-hole public course, is near Bridgeport. For more information, contact the Bridgeport Chamber of Commerce at (308) 262-1825 or visit www.bridgeportneb.com.

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Lake Minitare & Lighthouse
Lake Minitare & Lighthouse

Photo by Derrald Farnsworth-Livingston   Nebraska Lighthouse is One of Only Seven Inland in USA Lake Minatare is large, but not so big that it needs a lighthouse. It has one anyway and it offers an impressive 360-degree view. It was built by the Veterans Conservation Corps, a New Deal ag

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Agate Fossil Beds National Monument
Agate Fossil Beds National Monument

See one of the Plains Richest Fossil Sites in Mitchell  Agate Fossil Beds National Monument is home to an important collection of Native American artifacts. Visitors can walk among the fossils of ancient animals. Located 22 miles south of Harrison or 34 miles north of Mitchell on Highway 29.

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Trail Riding on Horses
Trail Riding on Horses

Trail Riding on Horses Nothing takes you back faster to those legendary days of America’s West than hitting the trail on a horse. So saddle up with us as we show you the best places to have your own ultimate riding adventures in Western Nebraska. The joyride begins near the heart of rodeo

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Bird Hunting
Bird Hunting

Bird Hunting in Nebraska Bird Hunting in Western Nebraska is equally rewarding. Waterfowl and migratory birds cross Nebraska through a major flyway. The North Platte River in the southern portion of Western Nebraska provides ample habitat for geese and ducks of many species. From North Platte to

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Big Game Hunting
Big Game Hunting

Big Game Hunting in Nebraska Whether you are comfortable with a bow and arrow, muzzleloader or a modern firearm, Western Nebraska has the available public land and species for just about any hunting enthusiast. Deer, turkey, antelope and elk each have their own seasons and are abundant. There is e

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Knight Museum & Sandhills Center
Knight Museum & Sandhills Center

Nebraska Memorabilia and Genealogy in Alliance Displays at the 19,000-square-foot Knight Museum and Sandhills Center span many aspects of western life, including an extensive display of Native American artifacts, railroad memorabilia, military history from the Indian Wars to Alliance’s Wor

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Museum of the Fur Trade
Museum of the Fur Trade

Learn the History of Fur in Chadron, Nebraska The Museum of the Fur Trade is located at the site of a trading post operated by the American Fur Company from 1837 to 1876. The building has been reconstructed on the original foundation. The museum’s three galleries go far beyond local history

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Fort Robinson
Fort Robinson
Fort Robinson State Park & Post Playhouse

Nebraska's Largest State Park - Where Crazy Horse Surrendered Fort Robinson State Park is three miles west of Crawford on Highway 20. It began in 1874 as a military camp at the Red Cloud Indian Agency. Now, the park is one of Nebraska’s most popular attractions. Lakota warrior Crazy Horse

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Robidoux Trading Post
Robidoux Trading Post
Fur Trading & Carter Canyon, the Original Oregon Trail

Robidoux Was the First Sign of Civilization In 1851, Plains Indians brought their furs to Robidoux Trading Post (pronounced ROO-bi-doo). In the early days of the Oregon Trail, it was one of the first signs of civilization after many weeks on the prairie. The sod-roofed building has been reconstruct

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Scotts Bluff National Monument
Scotts Bluff National Monument
Enjoy the Majestic Wildcat Hills

Photo by Steve & Bobbi Olson Scotts Bluff National Monument is Actually in Gering Facts are scarce when it comes to knowing anything about Hiram Scott. Legends abound about the fur trapper who died in 1828 near the bluff that came to bear his name, and historians argue over the real story of

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Bridges to Buttes Scenic Byway
Bridges to Buttes Scenic Byway
Highway 20 - Valentine to the Wyoming Border

The Bridges to Buttes Scenic Byway cuts a 200 mile long path near the northern border of Western Nebraska, from Valentine to the Wyoming border beyond Harrison.  It's wide open country, dotted with world class surprises. To start with, near Valentine, you'll find the Niobrara National Scen

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Chimney Rock
Chimney Rock
Chimney Rock was the most noted landmark along the Oregon Trail.

Chimney Rock Guided Pioneers Moving West Visible to wagon trains from several days away, Chimney Rock’s 120-foot spire was unlike anything Oregon Trail pioneers had ever seen. The landmark’s story is told at the Ethel and Christopher J. Abbott Visitor Center at Chimney Rock National His

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Carhenge
Carhenge
Nebraska's Version of Stonehenge

Visit Nebraska's Version of Stonehenge. It's called Carhenge! Two-and-a-half miles north of Alliance on Highway 87, Carhenge is perhaps the strangest attraction in Nebraska. The full-scale replica of England’s famous Stonehenge is built entirely from old cars. Local resident Jim Reinders g

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Western Nebraska’s  Solar  Eclipse
Western Nebraska’s Solar Eclipse

Western Nebraska is going to host an event so big in 2017 it’s literally going to block out the sun. The moon will travel directly between the sun and the earth on Aug. 21, creating a rare total solar eclipse. The Sandhills are considered the fourth-best viewing spot in the entire country tha

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Hiking
Hiking
Trails Less Traveled

Not all Western Nebraska adventures include cowboy boots and horses. In fact, a good pair of hiking boots and a sense of adventure can take you to exciting trails less traveled. A little preparation goes a long way toward making the trip safe and rewarding. A backpack, fanny pack or other bag pac

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2017 Journey to Western Nebraska Publication Proof

Dear Western Nebraska Tourism Coalition members,   The 2016 edition of Journey to Western Nebraska is ready for your review!   We’ve made every effort to make sure the information is correct, but we need your help to double-check. Deadline to send us changes is 5 p.m. CST on Wedn

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Hunting in Western Nebraska
Hunting in Western Nebraska
Get out, explore and connect

By Alan J. Bartels BIG GAME HUNTING in Western Nebraska offers big, enjoyable challenges to sportsmen of all levels. From novices to the most experienced hunters, opportunities abound in this rugged land of plenty. Whether you choose to use a bow and arrow, muzzleloader or a modern firearm, Western

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