The state of Nebraska has some natural wonders that can’t be missed if you’re traveling through it, and others that are must-sees if you live there and have the time to explore them all. Here’s our list of wonders of Nebraska that are worth seeing on your next trip to the Cornhusker State or when you live there full time.
1) Scotts Bluff National Monument
Scotts Bluff National Monument is a beautiful wonder that is sure to bring relaxation and enjoyment to any visitor. It is home to the largest natural area in Nebraska, with over 4,000 acres to explore. The topographical features are exceptional and it’s hard not to feel like you’ve discovered something special when you arrive. There are various hiking trails for all levels of fitness and the views at the top make it worth every step!
2) Chimney Rock National Historic Site
Chimney Rock National Historic site is a great place to take a break and enjoy some time in nature. The park is home to the famous Chimney Rock, which is an amazing sight that you can’t miss when you visit. Hiking the trails at Chimney Rock National Historic Site is a great way to relax, enjoy nature, and experience the beauty of this national park. So if you’re looking for an escape from your busy life and want to spend some time relaxing in nature, be sure to stop by!
3) Agate Fossil Beds National Monument
One of the most important fossil sites in North America is the Agate Fossil Beds National Monument. In 1877, an enterprising railroad surveyor for the Union Pacific Railroad, named John Berkey unearthed the first find at this site—an eight-foot tall petrified redwood tree. The petrification process occurred around 15 million years ago when volcanic ash from a nearby eruption covered the forest floor and gradually buried it with silt and sand. The fossilized remains of these trees can be found throughout the park and make up much of its landscape.
If you are looking for a short hike to explore some local history then Agate Fossil Beds National Monument is a perfect spot to start!
4) Homestead National Monument of America
The Homestead National Monument of America is one such place in Nebraska that you should try to see. It’s a monument to the family farm and rural life, and includes 15 historic buildings on over 2,000 acres. The museum houses an impressive collection of agricultural artifacts, including some of the world’s largest tractors. But at the heart of this site are two giant stone gateposts that frame a well-worn trail leading up to a large white home with a porch swing. The house looks like any other old farmhouse from the Midwest until you start taking notice that it has no doors or windows! This is where it gets creepy: inside, there are hundreds and hundreds of chairs… but not one person!
5) Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail
Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail is a 2,200 mile long trail that follows the route taken by Lewis and Clark on their expedition to explore the Louisiana Purchase. The trail begins in present day Kansas City and travels through 10 states before ending in present day Astoria, Oregon. Along the way, it passes through some of America’s most beautiful scenery including the Rocky Mountains, Yellowstone National Park and the Badlands. In addition to being an amazing historical experience, Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail also provides ample opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts with fishing access on all but six miles of its length as well as hunting access from October 1st to December 15th.
It’s hard to think about one place that defines Nebraska better than any other; it has many different landscapes because it’s so big!
6) Niobrara National Scenic River
The Niobrara National Scenic River is a federally protected, free-flowing river that is one hundred and fifty miles long. It’s home to an array of wildlife and was named by the U.S. Department of Interior as one of America’s Most Endangered Rivers in 1990 due to its endangered species, like the pallid sturgeon and endangered freshwater mussels that call it home. The area has been targeted for oil development, which would be devastating because it is already under threat from human activities such as natural gas production, sand mining, and irrigation. It is also threatened by a proposed uranium mine that could pollute the water with radioactive tailings and make the river uninhabitable for aquatic life.
7) Oglala National Grassland
Oglala National Grassland is a federal conservation area in the northwestern part of the state. It is bordered on the north by Badlands National Park and Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, on the east by Cheyenne River Indian Reservation, and on the south by Custer County. The park encompasses 861,180 acres (3,487 km2) of land which contains a number of natural features. These include rimrocks, wetlands, canyons, buttes and pinnacles. The grassland is home to a diverse population including elk, deer and pronghorn.
8) Sandhills Journey Scenic Byway
From the Sandhills Journey Scenic Byway in north central Nebraska, you can see some of the most picturesque views in the state. The byway is a driving tour that takes travelers through several small towns and over many miles of rolling hills and grasslands. You’ll also be able to spot herds of bison grazing on these wide open spaces. This is one trail that’s definitely worth taking! If you’re not into cars, there are two additional hiking trails available as well. Both feature beautiful views of the rugged landscape and provide opportunities for spotting wildlife such as deer, coyotes, bobcats, or even black bears.