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Attractions

OUTDOOR RECREATION

State Parks
Ponca State Park
Niobrara State Park
Smith Falls State Park
Nebraska Game and Parks

State Recreational Areas (SRA)
Nebraska Game and Parks and Wildlife Management Areas. Click the above link again for listings.

Kreycik Covered Wagon Tours
Take a covered wagon tour through herds of elk and buffalo on the Niobrara River. Hand feed the animals and get close enough to pet an elk.

Graham Canoe Outfitters
Graham Canoe Outfitters is a family owned and operated outfitting business that provides canoes, kayaks, tubes, riverside camping, meals, and a shuttle-service on Nebraska’s Niobrara National Scenic River where you enjoy a safe yet fun float trip.

Bird Watching
Bird watching at Niobrara State Park and many other areas along the Outlaw Trail is plentiful. Over 250 species have been seen and documented.

Outdoor Swimming Pools
Approximately 26 outdoor swimming pools are open to the public within the 40-mile radius of the Outlaw Trail. There are swimming beaches at Weigand and Willow Creek State Recreation Areas and Merritt Reservoir.

Open-range Ranching
Open-range ranching in the Sandhills from 1875-85 played an important role in the Western cattle industry.

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HISTORIC CHURCHES

St. Peter and Paul Catholic Church – Bow Valley
Immaculate Conception Catholic Church – St. Helena
St Philip and James School – St. James
St. Boniface Catholic Church – Menominee

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HISTORIC

Nebraska Historic Bridges
Historic bridges can be found at Pischelville, Meadville, Verdel, and along the Niobrara River in Keya Paha and Cherry Counties.

  • Bryan, Cherry County
  • Borman, Cherry County
  • Berry, Cherry County
  • Allen, Cherry County
  • Brewer, Cherry County
  • Carns, Rock County
  • Meridian Bridge, Cedar County
  • Gross Bridge, Knox County

St. James Marketplace
Come to our area and enjoy the breathtaking scenery. We offer school tours of the marketplace, showing off the pioneer history. Along the Lewis & Clark Trail, you will be sure to learn more about the Corps of Discovery and the Shannon Trail. Nebraska Tourism has never been better.

John Neihardt Center
A Bancroft, Nebraska, author, Neihardt has roots in the region and captured the history and majesty of the Plains and Native Americans in his writings. The Neihardt Center, under the management of the John G. Neihardt Foundation, is a branch museum of the Nebraska State Historical Society.

Treaty of 1868
In the Treaty of 1868, the Sioux nation was given land that was ceded to the Ponca Tribe in 1865, much of which makes up the Outlaw Trail. Chief Standing Bear and others traveled to their new location in Oklahoma. In 1879 Chief Standing Bear refused to bury his eldest son in a strange land. He gathered a few members of his tribe and headed to the Ponca burial ground in the north. Chief Standing Bear was arrested for leaving the reservation and he was confined at Fort Omaha. The famous chief fought and won the court battle to have the Indian declared a "person" under American Law. His achievement won him a place not only in history but also in the Nebraska Hall of Fame.

Ponca Trail of Tears
Ponca Trail of Tears at Laurel Hill Cemetery on the north edge of Neligh is where White Buffalo Girl was buried and a marker erected. She was the daughter of Chief Black Elk and Moon Hawk who died on May 23, 1877.

Rosebud Sioux, Omaha, Winnebago, Ponca, Santee and Yankton Sioux Tribes
Rosebud Sioux, Omaha, Winnebago, and Yankton Sioux Tribes live adjacent to and in the region of the Outlaw Trail. The area is rich in Native American history and influence.

Ashfall Fossil Beds
The Ashfall Fossil Beds are among the rare preservation sites called lagerstätten, which preserve ecological "snapshots" from a brief moment in time, due to extraordinary local conditions that have preserved a range of fossilized organisms undisturbed. The Ashfall Fossil Beds are especially famous for fossils of mammals from the middle Miocene geologic epoch.

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MUSEUMS

Ponca
Cook Blacksmith Shop and Historical Adams House Museum
Hartington
Cedar County Historical Museum
Verdigre
Verdigre Heritage Museum
Butte
Butte Community Historical Museum
Naper
White Horse Ranch Museum
Naper Museum
Mills
Mills Historical Museum
Sparks
Lillie’s Café and Museum
Valentine
Cherry County Historical Society Museum

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MAN-MADE

Bloomfield Windmill Site
The 27–turbine Elkhorn Ridge wind farm at Bloomfield began commercial operation on March 1, 2009. Each turbine has a maximum capacity of 3 megawatts for a total of 81 megawatts. The farm could produce an amount of energy equivalent to the amount of electricity used by approximately 25,000 Nebraska residences in a year (average annual output). The Nebraska utilities that will buy electricity from Elkhorn Ridge through Nebraska Public Power District include: Omaha Public Power District, 25 megawatts; Municipal Energy Agency of Nebraska, 8 megawatts; Lincoln Electric System, 6 megawatts; and the city of Grand Island, 1 megawatt.

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NATURAL

Niobrara Ecosystems
Niobrara ecosystem is unique in the meeting of the Northern Boreal Forest, Rocky Mountain Forest, Eastern Deciduous Forest, Tall Grass Prairie, Mixed Grass Prairie, and the Sandhills.

Ft Niobrara NWR
Niobrara National Scenic River
Missouri National Recreation River

Sandhills Region
The Sandhills is an ecosystem unique to Nebraska. It is the product of windblown sands released by the deterioration of sandstones over the millennia. The Sandhills cover over 19,000 square miles and the area is known as the largest sand dune in the Western Hemisphere and one of the largest grass-stabilized dune areas in the world. The region has been called the "Great American Desert."

Glaciers
Glaciers moved over Keya Paha, Cherry, Knox and Cedar Counties during the Pleistocene Era. When the ice sheets melted, they left deposits of clayey and silty till east of Niobrara, and sand and clayey material west of Niobrara.

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BY LOCATION

Cities along the Outlaw Trail

Valentine
Fort Niobrara National Wildlife Refuge & Wilderness Area
Valentine Visitor Center 402-376-2969
Valentine State Fish Hatchery
Valentine National Wildlife Refuge
Historic Bryan Bridge
Historic Borman Bridge
Historic Cornell Bridge
Graham Canoe Outfitters 402-376-3708
Cherry County History Mural on First National Bank building
Cowboy Trail, the “Nation’s Longest Recreational Trail”
National Historic Landmark Centennial Hall Museum
Cherry County Historical Society Museum (times open vary, contact local community)
Niobrara National Scenic River (begins at Historic Borman Bridge)
Old West Days

Sparks
Sunny Brook Camp 402-376-1887
Historic Berry Bridge
Historic Allen Bridge
Historic Smith Falls Bridge
Historic Brewer Bridge
Smith Falls State Park
Osburn Scenic Overlook
Lillie’s Café and Museum (times open vary, contact local community)
Dryland Aquatics 1-402-337-3119
Old Settlers Days

Norden
Old Norden Dance Hall (dances every other Saturday during summer) 402-497-3552
The Niobrara Valley Preserve, Nature Conservancy 402-722-4440

Meadville (Between Springville and Norden south along Niobrara River)
Meadville Ghost Town, near where outlaw, Doc Middleton, had a hideout
Niobrara Polar Bear Festival in January

Springview
Keller Park State Recreational Area
Historic Carns Bridge
Fred Thomas Wildlife Management Area and Scenic Overlook
Cub Creek Recreation Area
Larrington Cottage
Wind Turbine Days

Mills
Mills Historical Museum (times open vary, contact local community)
Holden Cabin, home of Caroline Holden, one of two Nebraska women hanged by vigilantes

Naper
White Horse Ranch Museum (times open vary, contact local community)
Naper Museum (times open vary, contact local community)
Naper 28 Memorial which honors 28 pilots killed in plane crash during WWII at Naper
Twin Buttes southeast at Naper
East end of Niobrara National Scenic River (take HWY 137 south, starts at Historic Borman Bridge near Valentine, 76 miles)
Niobrara National Scenic River

Butte
Butte Community Historical Museum 402-775-2534 (times open vary, contact local community)
Harvey Buttes (south of Butte)
Butte Pancake Days

Spencer
WWII Veterans Memorial on Main Street
Wild Turkey Days

Gross
5¢ cup of coffee at Nebrask Inn
Gross Cemetery
U.S. Military Iron Post Marker at 110-year-old pump on display in town square

Bristow
Community Hall
M&M Lockers – specialty meats

Lynch
“The Tower” (Old Baldy), site where Lewis & Clark discovered the prairie dog
Horse Thief Canyon (southeast)
House of Renewal Retreat Center 402-569-3143
Lynch Summerfest

Monowi
Smallest incorporated town in NE: Population 1
Monowi Public Library

Verdel
Historic Verdel Jail
Verdel Boat Landing, Lazy River Acres
Bob Barker’s grandparents buried in Verdel “Ponca Valley” Cemetery
Verdel Park – Bob Parker donated land for this park
There was a hideout in a cave big enough to fit a stage coach and six horses – the site is now covered by water
Shannon Trail Statue and National Park Sign

Verdigre
Kolach Kapital of the world
Shannon Trail Statue and National Park Sign
Verdigre Heritage Museum (times open vary, contact local community)
Historic St. Wenceslaus Catholic Church
Kolache Days

Niobrara
Niobrara State Park
Nebraska’s Everglades (scenic drive East of Niobrara along HWY 12)
Chief Standing Bear Bridge
Kreycik Riverview Elk & Buffalo/Covered Wagon Tours 402-857-3850
KSK Big Game Outfitters Elk & Buffalo Hunt
Whitetail River Lodge B&B Deer & Turkey Hunts 402-857-3564
Mormon Monument
Niobrara Museum (times open vary, contact local community)
Shannon Trail Statue and National Park Sign
Historic Railroad Walking Bridge
Swanson Pheasant & Quail Hunt and Hunting Lodge 402-857-3794
Ponca Indian Earth Lodge 402-857-3519
Ponca Tribe Museum/Headquarters
Sage Brothers Memorial (Brothers who lost their lives in Vietnam Conflict)
Ponca Pow Wow (third weekend in August)
Two Rivers Saloon, Hotel and Steakhouse 402-857-3340
Bridging the Shores Days

Santee
Santee Indian Reservation
Ohiya Casino 402-857-3860
Shannon Trail Statue and National Park Sign
Pretty Feather Canoe Rental 402-857-2656
Santee Pow Wow (third weekend in June)

Lindy
Lindy’s Country Club, the only country club without a golf course in USA
Shannon Trail Statue and National Park Sign

Crofton
Lewis & Clark Lake and Gavins Point Dam
Devil’s Nest, Jesse James Hideout (on private land) where Frank and Jesse James married and settled down for at least two years
Historic Argo Hotel
Shannon Trail Statue and National Park Sign
Veteran’s War Memorial
Minor League Baseball Field
Lewis & Clark Visitors Center
Corps of Discovery Welcome Center (HWY 81)
Weigand State Recreation Area

Hartington
Arlo and Anne Wirth Art Gallery
Cedar County Historical Museum with log cabin (times open vary, contact local community)
Cedar County Courthouse
Etched Impressions Glass Etchings (by appointment 402-254-7161)
Shannon Trail Statue and National Park Sign
Hartland Music Festival in September

St. Helena
Historic Immaculate Conception Catholic Church
St. Helena historic Iron Jail, located in the park
Shannon Trail National Park Sign

Bow Valley
Historic St. Peter & Paul Catholic Church, “Cathedral on the Plains”
Shannon Trail Statue and National Park Sign

Wynot
Wynot historical Cemetery
Shannon Trail Statue and National Park Sign
Rattlesnake Road Scenic drive (minimum maintenance road)
Brooky Bottom Park (5 miles north)

St. James
St. James Marketplace 402-357-3330 (open weekends only)
Wiseman Monument
Goat Island, historic camp where Private Shannon was lost
Shannon Trail National Park Sign

Obert
Obert Park
Jesse and Frank James’ mother lived near here

Maskell
Smallest Town Hall in the U.S.
Maskell Cemetery

Newcastle
Ionia Volcano Historical Marker
Newcastle/Vermillion Bridge
Spirit Mound (18.6 miles North on 461st Ave. N)

Ponca
Missing Army and Payroll Escorts
Ponca State Park
Ponca Historical District
Cook Blacksmith Shop and Historical Adams House Museum 402-755-4165 (times open vary, contact local community)
Missouri National Recreational River, preserved in its original state as Lewis & Clark saw it
Ponca Pow Wow
Ponca Nifty Fifties

Jackson
LP Gill Windmill Site

South Sioux City
Lewis & Clark Center
Betty Strong Encounter Center
Sgt. Floyd Monument
Trinity Heights, Catholic Visitor Center
Sgt. Floyd River Museum & Welcome Center

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Counties along the Outlaw Trail

Dakota County
South Sioux City and Willis

Boyd County
Unusual and scenic formations in Boyd County include Long Gulch, Nine- Mile Hill, Willow Bar, Nine-Mile Gulch, and Horse Thief Gulch.

Dixon County

The second oldest county in Nebraska is Dixon County. The first white man to enter Nebraska entered from the Missouri River in Dixon County.

Keya Paha County
Keya Paha County is home to scenic sites such as Nets Peak, McClain Hill, and Huddle Table.

Cedar County
Cedar County was established in 1857 and named for its numerous red cedar trees.

Knox County
Knox County was established as L'Eau Qui Court County by the territorial legislature in 1857. The name was changed in 1873.

Cherry County
Cherry County encompasses 19,300 square miles of rolling, grass-covered Sandhills that stretch across this county in Nebraska and into South Dakota. These Sandhills sit atop the Ogallala aquifer, one of the largest underground water sources in the United States. This location, along with
an abundance of water and over 700 species of grasses, make the Sandhills a prime grazing area for cattle.

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OUTLAW TRAIL/SCENIC BYWAY 12 MEMBERS

Marcela (Marci) A. Broyhill
Etched Impressions
KBRX
Bank of Dixon County
Special T's and More
Village of Lynch
Shannon Trail Promoters
City of South Sioux City
Sunny Brook Camp
Graham Canoe Outfitters
Village of Stuart
St. James Marketplace
Wynot Insurance Agency
Hartington Chamber of Commerce
Village of Wynot
Kreycik Riverview Elk & Buffalo Ranch
Outlaw Pizza

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Contact Northeast Nebraska RC&D at 402-582-4866 or northeastrcd@plvwtelco.net
Sponsored in part by Nebraska Dept. of Tourism. Thank you to the NPS and Byway members for area photos.
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