Enjoy beautiful Nebraska scenery including majestic buttes, abundant prairie flora and a bridge over the Niobrara River near its source. Pets are allowed on this trail, but they must be leashed at all times. The 2.7 mile trail is located at 4,400 feet above sea level and has a gradual uphill slope from the parking lot & museum area up to the nearby buttes where you will visit…
Several abundant fossil quarries are located along this trail with informational trail signs describing what was found and how the fossils were excavated. One possible side-hike that is not shown on the map nor counted on the trail mileage is the Bone Cabin trail. This cabin was built in 1908 & was used by paleontologists in the early 20th century as a base for discovering & excavating fossils in the area.
Niobrara River Source
Only a little more than a stream at this point, the Niobrara River is cool & clear and flows under a footbridge located along the trail. While hiking the trail, you will cross a boardwalk over both the river and adjacent wetlands. It is easy to see how homesteader, rancher and friend to the local Indians James Cook was able to successfully settle in this area and raise a family and a thriving farm.
Suggested LodgingFor camping - Fort Robinson, near Crawford, Nebraska has a huge campground with both tent & RV campsites available. You will also find two rustic hotels in Crawford, NE: Townline Hotel: 800-903-1450 Hilltop Hotel: 800-504-1444
Both Harrison & Crawford have a couple dining options. The R Bar in Crawford serves pretty darned good pizza. In addition, Fort Robinson, NE has dining available during the tourist season only. (late spring into fall)
Suggested Bike Rental / Repair
none nearby - The nearest would probably be in Chadron, NE