Nebraska National Forest

Largest Hand-Planted Forest in the World

For the westbound traveler, Highway 2, the Sandhills Journey Scenic Byway, heads northwest from Grand Island, passes the Nebraska National Forest at Halsey, crosses the lake country of the western Sandhills, then exits the region near Alliance and turns north toward the Pine Ridge. This byway is rated in the top 10 scenic routes in the United States and is listed as one of the highways to drive in “1000 Places to See Before You Die.” 

The Bessey Ranger District of the Nebraska National Forest covers more than 90,000 acres, and is the largest hand-planted forest in the world. It is a favorite place for camping, ATV-ing, horseback riding, hiking and picnicking. Local volunteers have created a handicapped accessible Discovery Loup walking trail and are renovating an arboretum of 59 tree species. The rangers’ lookout tower offers a panoramic view of the surrounding forest and hills. The forest is open year-round.

For more information on Nebraska National Forests and Grasslands - Click Here.



Listen and Discover more about Bessey

Find out about the formation and adventure available at Bessey in the Nebraska National Forest. Listen to NPR’s Tom Wilmer as he shares segments of his show “Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer," in cooperation with Nebraska Tourism Commission and Geiger and Associates.

 For more information about "Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer," visit

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