The 8 Most Incredible Natural Attractions In Nebraska That Everyone Should Visit
Nebraska is, at its heart, an untamed frontier land just bursting with natural beauty. We’ve got some spectacular human-made sights to see, but we think our natural attractions really steal the show. These are 8 of them that everyone – resident AND visitor – needs to check out at least once.
1. Chimney Rock, near Bayard
Without a doubt Nebraska's most iconic natural attraction, Chimney Rock is even more impressive in person than it is in pictures. It was also one of the most iconic sights along the Oregon Trail, and it entranced pioneers so much that they would often detour many miles off of the trail just to see it up close.
2. Toadstool Geologic Park, near Crawford
You'll swear you're on another planet when you walk through the lunar landscape at Toadstool Geologic Park. This is the kind of sight no one ever expects to see in Nebraska, and it's amazing how many lifelong residents don't even know it's here!
Read more about this stunning park here
3. Scotts Bluff National Monument, near Gering
After Chimney Rock, this soaring rock outcropping was one of the most highly anticipated sights on the Oregon Trail. It marked the gateway to the west, where the harsh open prairie conditions would soon give way to a different type of challenging landscape. Today it's an absolutely beautiful place to spend a day enjoying another unexpected Nebraska wonder.
4. Smith Falls, near Valentine
Located inside Smith Falls State Park, this 70-foot-tall gem is Nebraska's highest waterfall. You've got to take just a bit of a hike to get to it, but it's more than worth it. And don't stop there - the waterfall is the star of this show, but the rest of the state park is one of the most biodiverse places in Nebraska and absolutely calls for thorough exploration.
Read more about Smith Falls right here
5. Agate Fossil Beds National Monument, near Harrison
This rolling western Nebraska site has offered up some of the state's most impressive paleontological finds. You can still find some of the most unusual - including the famed daemonelix - on display here. But even if you aren't into fossils, the landscape here is positively breathtaking.
Learn more about some of those amazing fossils here
6. Indian Cave State Park, near Shubert
This spectacular state park claims this ancient Native American hideout as its main attraction. Walk along the wooden boardwalk and see if you can spot the petroglyphs that were carved into the soft stone many thousands of years ago. Then, keep on walking through some of the Missouri Valley's most beautiful wooded landscapes.
Read more about this unforgettable state park here
7. Ashfall Fossil Beds, near Royal
A natural catastrophe 10 to 12 million years ago captured a snapshot of a moment in ancient Nebraska: these animals were at a watering hole when they perished under the thick cloud of volcanic ash from an eruption in what eventually became Idaho. Today it's an active archaeological dig where you can watch history being uncovered.
Read more about this unusual attraction here
8. Nebraska National Forest, near Halsey
Is it a teeny-tiny stretch to call this a "natural" attraction? Perhaps. You see, this is one of the largest hand-planted forests in the world. But the trees - along with the other flora and fauna in the forest - make this a fantastic natural escape from the everyday world.
Learn more about our very special national forest here
to find out how you can visit the fire tower in the picture!)
How many of our state’s best natural attractions have you visited? How many are still on your to-do list? Tell us all about your experiences in the comments!
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