Fort Robinson, Nebraska
Prairie in Nebraska
The pioneers simply crossed it, "on their way west", to take the title of a novel by Jim Harrison, a great lover of the Sandhills, one of Nebraska's curiosities. But today, this state in the center of the United States stands as a destination in its own right, with unique and beautifully preserved landscapes, and a history marked by Indian wars, railroad development, agriculture and livestock, and the terrible floods of its river, Platte.
Discover the region
South of Lincoln, near Endicott, Rock Creek Station Station State Historical Park was a stopover for the Pony Express, the former mail delivery service.
You have to start west of Lincoln, to Grand Island, Henry Fonda's hometown, to join Highway 2, which climbs into the Sandhills, this amazing virgin landscape and desert of grasslands and sand dunes that stretches endlessly and provides strange sensations of fullness and absolute calm. Staying on I-80 then follow Kearney, North Platte (with Buffalo Bill Ranch Historical Park) and Ogallala.
The city of Alliance is known for its Carhenge, a totally crazy replica of Stonehenge made up of vintage American cars, painted and planted in a field. A truly atypical work of art.
Some sites in Nebraska are emblematic of the Oregon Trail that led the pioneers west. This is the case of Courthouse and Jail Rocks near Bridgeport, then Chimney Rock National Historic Site towards Bayard, and finally the bleached ramparts of Scotts Bluff National Monument, which offers from its summit a magnificent view for miles around.
Chadron's Museum of the Fur Trade looks back at the lives of fur traders, which represented a successful trade for Nebraska from 1794 onward.
Fort Robinson State Park, which has a small museum and several restored buildings, pays tribute to Sioux warrior Crazy Horse, murdered here in 1877. It was also the scene of the epic escape of a group of Cheyenne women: a historical episode told by John Ford in his western "The Cheyenne". For horseback riding enthusiasts, a horseback ride is the ideal way to immerse yourself in the spirit of the region.