A guide to Nebraska’s national parks!
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National Parks in Nebraska
Agate Fossil Beds National Monument
This park was established to preserve the rich heritage of the Lakota and Cheyenne tribes who once occupied the areas and led armies of America Indians to war against the US army who continuously encroached on the land. In this park, you will find a lot of Native American heritage preserved from many years ago especially in James Cook’s gallery who was a very good friend of one of the Lakota chiefs, chief Red Cloud of the Lakota.
You can hike the Daemonelix trail where you will see fossil exhibits of Paleocastor, a land beaver of the Miocene.
You can also travel back in time to millions of years ago when mammals that no longer exist used to be on the surface of the earth. Agate Park holds the remains of these mammals referred to as Dinohyus. There are also Moropus and bear dogs.
California National Historic Trail
This trail covers about 5000 miles of land and occupies 10 states in the United States. These states are Oregon, California, Utah, Nevada, Idaho, Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, Wyoming and Missouri. It is a bed of history managed by the Bureau of Land Management. It was used by travelers to go to California in the hopes that they will find gold and riches in the mid 19th century, but was later developed into a commercial road to foster trade.
It is suitable for lovers of outdoor activities such as hikers, bikers and campers.
Homestead National Historic Park
Homestead National Historic Park is located in Beatrice, Nebraska. This park holds the American dream as it symbolizes the millions of people including women, immigrants and African Americans who were allowed to file claims in 1862. The park is home to the Homestead Education Center where you can learn about homesteading through arts, science, historical demonstrations and exploration.
You can walk the nature trails in the park, enjoy the bur oak woodland by hiking and go cross-country skiing if you are a lover of outdoor activities. For wildlife lovers, the Praire Plaza provides you with a rich and interesting wildlife experience.
Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail
Lewis & Clark Trail is a 4900-mile trail located in 12 states in the US. The states are Nebraska, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Washington, Oregon, South Dakota, North Dakota, Montana, Kansas, Idaho and Iowa. The park was established to commemorate the Lewis and Clark expedition that took place from 1804 to 1806.
The trail is the ideal place for many outdoor activities such as biking, hiking, canoeing, picnicking, camping and fishing. There are also hot spring resorts and pools, children’s museums and resorts, wildlife parks and water parks in different locations of the park.
Missouri National Recreation River
This river although located in Missouri is managed in partnership with authorities in Nebraska and South Dakota.
The Missouri National Recreation River is a blend of imagination and reality, creating a magical experience for visitors. There are many activities such as birding as you can find many different species of birds available in the park. Other favorite activities include; boating, fishing, hunting, canoeing and kayaking. You can also bring your camping equipment to enjoy a night or two by the fire. Hikers and bikers are not left out of the experience as there are both hiking and biking trails.
Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail
This is a 1300 mile trail that cuts across five states; Illinois, Utah, Nevada, Iowa and Wyoming. It was traveled by Mormons who fled Nauvoo, Illinois in 1846. The then leader of the Mormons, Joseph Smith introduced old testament practices which included polygamy. This was kicked against by other members of the society leading to doubt about their practices which in turn led to the murder of Joseph Smith and the expulsion of the Mormons.
A visit to the trail promises lots of outdoor recreational activities like hiking, biking, horseback riding, paddling, camping and climbing.
Niobarra National Scenic River
Located near Valentine, North West of Omaha, Nebraska, the Niobarra National Scenic River was established in 1991 and cuts across four Nebraska counties namely Cherry, Keya Paha, Rock and Brown. It is a great place to enjoy nature in its purest form. Local boating competitions are held all year round. Activities for kids are also available, making it a suitable recreational park for families.
There are other outdoor activities such as swimming, kayaking, fishing and canoeing. The park is best visited in summer as the outdoor activities are best enjoyed during that time.
Oregon National Historic Trail
Oregon Trail is a national historic trail because it signifies the expansion of the United States westward beyond the British-held territories from California, Alaska, the Pacific Ocean and the Rocky Mountains. Americans used the trail to cross over to the west, hence its relation to the term ‘from sea to shining sea’. The trail traverses the following states Wyoming, Nevada, Kansas, Missouri, Idaho and Oregon.
Unfortunately, only a portion of the trail is open for hiking, but there are other activities that you can enjoy, like horseback riding, biking and sightseeing. There are also museums in the park with many historical artifacts of interest.
Pony Express National Historic Trail
The trail is managed by the Bureau of Land Management and it cuts across Nevada, Utah, Colorado, California and Wyoming. The trail was used to deliver mails across the nation from 1860 to 1861. Mails were delivered by young men called the pony express riders, a visit to this trail gives you a bit of what the pony express riders felt when they delivered these mails.
You can auto-tour the trail by visiting museums housing important historic articles. You can also enjoy your tour by hiking, biking and horseback riding.
Scotts Bluff National Monument
Scotts Bluff stands at 800 ft above the North Platte River. It has served as a landmark for many emigrants and traveling passing through Oregon, Nevada and California. The trail surrounds the large scotts bluff and is rich in geological history. There are also many recreational activities to do here. There are at least 4 miles of hiking trails that have both easy and difficult trails. You can also drive on the summit road, which is a 1.6-mile scenic road. Do note that vehicles over 11 feet 7 inches are prohibited on this road.