The Western Trails Scenic Byway starts in Ogallala and runs northwest along US Highway 26 to the Wyoming border. The byway passes the length of Lake McConaughy then travels on through the towns of Lewellen, Oshkosh, Broadwater, Bridgeport, Bayard, Scottsbluff, Mitchell and many other small communities along the way.
It's a well known route, especially to early pioneers on the Oregon Trail who followed this exact route west. For them, the Western Trails Scenic Byway was punctuated by the spires of Western Nebraska - Chimney Rock, Courthouse and Jail Rocks, and Scotts Bluff. These areas offer excellent hiking, bird watching, horse riding and photography opportunities.
Beynd the geologic wonders, the Western Trails Scenic Byway provides a wealth of cultural experiences. These include museums and exhibits on the Oregon Trail, Mormon Trail, Pioneer Trails Museum, Pony Express stations, Farm and Ranch Museum and the Riverside Discover Center.
If you're a birder, spend time at the eagle viewing area near Lake McConaughy, explore the wilds along the North Platte River, and don't miss the North Platte Wildlife Refuge.
This byway is only 144 miles long, but full of memorable opportunities for the whole family.
For more information on the Western Trails Scenic Byway, contact the Ogallala/Keith County Chamber of Commerce at (800)658-4390 or www.explorekeithcounty.com.
Top photo by Bobbi & Steve Olson