Nebraska has long been known for its historic trails, which carried early explorers, pioneers and gold seekers into the western frontier. The Lewis and Clark, Oregon, California, Mormon Pioneer and Pony Express National Historic Trails all traverse Nebraska. Trail ruts, stage stations, and road ranches still stand throughout Nebraska as reminders of the sacrifices, struggles and triumphs of early American travelers and settlers.
Rock Creek Station State Historical Park offers visitors a glance at deep ruts carved by the many wagons that traveled the Oregon, California and Pony Express Trails. Archaeological excavations located the site of two road ranches dating to 1858-1860 time period. Buildings and corrals have been reconstructed on the actual site of both the East and West ranches. An interpretive center, overlooking 350 acres of prairie hilltops, timbered creek bottoms and rugged ravines, will help visitors journey back to the 1800’s.
Fort Kearny State Historical Park, built to protect Overland Trail travelers, served as a stage station, home station for the Pony Express, outfitting depot and home of the Pawnee Scouts. Archaeological exploration has identified building sites and features that served travelers on their journey in the settlement of the American West. The stockade, parade grounds and blacksmith shop have been rebuilt. History is revealed in the interpretive center, carpenter-blacksmith shop and stockade.
Ash Hollow State Historical Park is home to a sweet spring that made it a stop on the Overland Trail. A walkway provides access to the crest of Windlass Hill, where visitors can view ruts etched by the thousands of wagons on their west-bound journey. The history and archaeology of the area is interpreted at the visitor center, Ash Hollow Cave, exhibits and structures.
The National Park Service is charged with inventory and management of