Wednesday, May 20, 2015


Tonight we are in Chadron, Nebraska. It has been a great day but the weather hasn’t been… It is very cool and rained most of the day.  We left Sioux City, IA and traveled Highway 20 all the way to Chadron, NE. It is almost all 2 lane except for a very few miles just west of Sioux City. There was NO TRAFFIC – many times you couldn’t see a vehicle in any direction!

We got an early start and the temperature only went down!
45 degrees at 7:56 AM
We kept seeing a bike path near the road and finally found it on the Internet – the Cowboy Trail
Cowboy Trail on Jeep's GPS
It is a rail trail – set on an old railroad bed that was called the Cowboy Line. When I found it on my phone, I saw a photo of a trestle bridge where the trail crossed the Niobrara River near Valentine, NE. We kept our eyes open and found the bridge. 
Trestle bridge that Cowboy Trail crosses
Then we circle around a few miles, parked and hiked part of the trail out to the bridge.
Cowboy Trail
Ray on the Cowboy Trail trestle bridge crossing the Niobrara River
After our hike, we went on to Valentine and stopped at the Ranger Station. After an interesting visit with the Ranger, we headed EAST to the Fort Niobrara National Wildlife Refuge. The road was gravel and sand with a lot of moisture and some mud. So glad we had Jeep and that Jeep has 4-wheel drive! We finally got to Berry Bridge and saw the waterfall. We enjoyed a picnic there in the car. 
Waterfall at Berry Bridge on the Niobrara River near Valentine, NE
Throughout the day, we saw a herd of elk, a bison, two antelope, a turkey with his feathers out, a pheasant, and lots of birds.
Elk herd in Fort Niobrara National Wildlife Refuge
Bison at overlook off of Outlaw Trail
We traveled the Outlaw Trail on our way back west to Valentine.

The Ranger was telling us that they had snow yesterday and last night but you really couldn’t tell until we got about 70 miles further down the road. There was snow in the fields and the buttes and mesas were covered! Chadron got 6” last night! 

Part of Highway 20 is known as the Bridges to Buttes Scenic Byway and their page pretty well sums up our travels after leaving Valentine: Traveling on the Bridges to Buttes Scenic Byway is like traveling on an old Western movie set: rolling prairie, cattle, pronghorns, cowboys and cowgirls... and a lot of Native American culture, history and tradition. In the western areas you'll also find buttes, mesas and fantastic geological formations, complete with prehistoric fossils. Also along the way are well-preserved frontier military posts, large working ranches and any number of outdoor recreational opportunities.

Tomorrow we will continue on the Byway as we head to Wyoming.

States visited on this trip: 4

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  1. As soon as I saw that you'd been in Nebraska, I wondered if you saw any snow. Unbelievable that there's snow (besides in the mountains) in May!

  2. My sister-in-law's hubby grew up in Valentine. I'm sure he knows where the waterfall over Berry Bridge is! Have a safe and wonderful trip!



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