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 course designed by pro golfer Ben Crenshaw. Golf Digest has ranked the Sand Hills Golf Club number one in its Modern List. To get there, travel 12 miles south of Mullen on Highway 97 to mile marker 55, then go west three miles. Visitors are welcome at the clubhouse, but to golf, players must be members or sponsored guests.

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. Mullen also has a fine public nine-hole course called Mullen Golf Club. (308) 546-2446.

Experienced canoers and kayakers can test their skills on the Dismal River south of Mullen. It’s a fast-flowing, spring-fed river with plenty of twists and challenging submerged debris.

People looking for a family-friendly river trip can float the Middle Loup River just north of Mullen. The Middle Loup’s spring-fed and calm waters meander through sloping Sandhills canyons. Canoe and kayak rental is available for both rivers. Stock tank rental is available for the Middle Loup.

The Nebraska National Forest, Bessey Ranger District lies between the two rivers and campsites are located adjacent to the rivers. The Dismal River meets the Middle Loup River east of Dunning. For more information on Mullen or the rivers, call (888) 278-6167.

Dismal River Outfitters is a big-game hunting ranch with more than 50,000 acres available for bison, elk, white-tailed deer, mule deer and turkey hunting. The ranch is 14 miles south of Mullen. (308) 546-0567.