Nebraska July 02, 2019
Explore Nebraska’s Untouched Wilderness In This Area Where Vehicles Are Forbidden
We like to say that we’re venturing out into the wilderness when we go camping, but how often do we modern Nebraskans really get to visit unspoiled wilderness? There are only two officially designated wilderness areas in Nebraska: one near Valentine and another in western Nebraska near Fort Robinson.
The plentiful natural areas in western Nebraska are all truly stunning, but there's one that stands out as unique among them.
Soldier Creek Wilderness is located in the Pine Ridge region of the Panhandle. This area is already well known as a lush, beautiful habitat for many plants and animals that can't be found elsewhere in the state.
But it's also home to one of the rarest of natural areas: a protected wilderness area. This designation means that certain restrictions apply to those who wish to visit.
Most notably, no vehicles of any kind are allowed in the wilderness area. Visitors are prohibited from bringing cars, trucks, ATVs, and even bicycles into the protected land.
Horses are welcome, though, and Soldier Creek is a popular place for riders. There are approximately 10 miles of rough trails throughout the wilderness for horses and hikers to explore this unspoiled wonderland.
This area was once used by the neighboring Fort Robinson as a horse and mule pasture and timber reservation. It was designated a federal wilderness area in 1986.
In 1989, a massive fire swept through the area, destroying around 90 percent of the beautiful Ponderosa pine forest. Even today, so many years later, the area is still recovering from the scars of this devastating fire.
Still, this place is teeming with life. Deer, elk, turkey, rabbits, coyotes, mountain lions, and many more species make their homes here.
In order to keep the nearly 8,000-acre wilderness wild, no camping is allowed, no services are provided, and you'll have a heck of a time getting a cell phone signal. Camping is allowed at the designated Soldier Creek Campground just outside of the wilderness area. Visitors are asked to adhere strictly to "Leave no trace" methods to ensure the area stays wild for future generations.
To get to Soldier Creek Wilderness from the nearby town of Crawford, take U.S. Highway 20 for 2.5 miles to Fort Robinson, then north on Soldier Creek Road for 6 miles. The wilderness is only accessible from the trailheads at the Soldier Creek Campground.
Make a little time on your trip to also visit the beautiful Fort Robinson State Park, which is right next door.
Read more about it right here.