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Sandhills Journey National Scenic Byway

Come for a visit and travel the Sandhills Journey National Scenic Byway on Highway 2 from Grand Island to Alliance, NE, and enjoy the peaceful drive through expansive ranchland, winding rivers, and the rolling sandhills that cover the Ogallala Aquifer. Enjoy the starry nights in the spacious, open night sky.

The gentle undulating Sandhills of Nebraska provide a home for wildlife and the millions of birds that traverse the North American Central Flyway every spring. Listen for the loud, rattling bugle calls of the sandhill crane that can be heard up to 2.5 miles away as their calls are given on the ground as well as in flight. For that reason, you may hear the flock before they can be seen but they will break into view when finding open water and coming in for a landing to rest and eat. Near Grand Island, park your car where designated and view the sandhill cranes up close from behind slatted wooden blinds. 

The Sandhills area offers many other opportunities to enjoy nature through a variety of wildlife refuges and parks and lakes- Ansley Lake, Laing Lake Park, Melham Lake and Park, and the Nebraska National Forest- just to name a few. Other opportunities to learn about the area may be found at the Sandhills Journey National Scenic Byway Visitor Center in Broken Bow, the many county museums (Custer County in Broken Bow, Grant County in Hyannis, and Hooker County in Mullen) or the Stuhr Museum of the Prairie Pioneer in Grand Island or the Knight Museum and Sandhills Center in Alliance.

The area was settled by Germans, Danes, Czechs, and Polish. These early settlers respected and worked in harmony with the fragile land. Lacking trees, they made homes in dug outs or sod houses. Many of today’s community celebrations honor these early pioneers through sharing their food, art, and music. Stop at the Art Centers in Alliance, Ashby, Bingham, Dunning, Grand Island, Merna, Mullen, and Thedford.  If you time it right, you may attend a rodeo or see a cattle drive. Visit Middle Loup River Ranch Guest House in Thedford for an authentic ranch experience or stop at Dobby’s Frontier Town in Alliance for a historical perspective.

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Or download the Nebraska Sandhills Journey app available at Google Play, Apple App Store, or available as a web browser at