Nebraska November 04, 2018
Everyone In Nebraska Should Take This Underappreciated Scenic Drive
We’ve all got our favorite relaxing drives that we take to get out of the house and enjoy nature – but maybe it’s time to branch out. This western Nebraska drive is absolutely stunning and woefully under-appreciated.
Welcome to the Western Trails Scenic and Historic Byway.
The 144-mile byway stretches from Ogallala to the Wyoming border. It will take you around three hours to travel the entire byway, but you may want to budget some extra time to stop and explore some of the significant natural and historic landmarks along the way.
Ogallala, a city of just under 5,000 residents, marks the beginning of the byway. It was once the wildest of Wild West towns, though it has since calmed considerably. If you have the time, spend a while in Ogallala getting in touch with Nebraska's past.
The entire route is filled with lovely sights. It follows the path of the Oregon and Mormon trails, which carried so many brave travelers toward their futures out west.
Some places along the way look just like you'd expect Nebraska to look...
...While other views are stunningly different than what most people would associate with Nebraska.
The byway follows the North Platte River most of the way. Several notable bodies of water can be seen on the Western Trails Byway. Lake McConaughy, the largest lake in the state, is arguably the most remarkable.
You'll also pass by Bridgeport State Recreation Area...
...And Crescent Lake National Wildlife Refuge.
Western Nebraska's buttes and other rock formations are some of the most breathtaking sights along the byway.
These rock formations are some of our state's most beautiful and most recognizable features. You can't see all of them from the road - you'll need to make a detour to visit Chimney Rock, for example - but it's easy enough to hop off and hop back onto the route.
As you're traveling this road, you can imagine what it must have been like for the pioneers who passed through here generations ago.
In fact, there are several places along the byway where you can get out and see the wagon ruts left by those pioneers. Ash Hollow State Park and Robidoux Pass are two particularly great spots to see them.
The mixture of natural beauty and human history make this one of Nebraska's greatest drives.
No matter what time of year you drive it, this journey is one to remember.
For more information and an interactive map of Western Trails Scenic and Historic Byway,
click here. Have you ever driven this beautiful, historic path? Share your experiences in the comments!
Nebraska has nine officially designated scenic byways –
click here to learn about them all.