- Visitor Services
World Class Natural Wonders
As you travel the Sandhills Scenic Journey Byway you'll discover incredible world class natural wonders, including the Nebraska sandhills, which are the largest area of grass stabilized sand dunes in the western hemisphere, covering more than 19,000 square miles.
Beneath the sandhills and the byway is the Ogallala Aquifer, the largest aquifer in the United States. Numerous rivers, creeks, lakes, ponds and wetlands are all spring fed via the aquifer, creating diverse ecosystems and supporting a wide range of wildlife. The region's Loup River System is the most constant flowing river system in the world – thanks to the Ogallala Aquifer.
The ecosystem helps support the largest concentration of the sandhill cranes that traverse Nebraska every spring, spending several weeks along the Platte River valley near Grand Island on their spring migration northward. Millions of other birds also move through the region.
The 140,000-acre Nebraska National Forest, which includes the Bessey Ranger District near Halsey, is the only hand-planted forest in the United States. The Charles E Bessey Nursery within the forest is the oldest tree nursery in the U.S. Forest Service, providing 2.5 million to 3 million seedlings each year.
Other great attractions along the byway include:
Carhenge This unique replica of the world-famous Stonehenge was constructed of old cars in 1987 by six local families on the occasion of their family reunion. The site also includes sculptures made of old cars and/or car parts. Near Alliance.
Stuhr Museum Grand Island's Stuhr Museum of the Prairie Pioneer provides ever-changing exhibits, events and collections that tell the story of pioneer life, the Old West and American Indians.
Sherman Reservoir State Recreation Area With a 2,845 acre lake and 4,721 acres of land, has lots of room to play. Located 5 miles from Loup City.
Dobby's Frontier Town Step back in time to the turn-of-the-century and see what life was like for the early settlers of the plains. With an authentic general store, post office, original bootlegger's cabin and baled straw house. Fall festival features assorted hands-on exhibits. In Alliance.
Valentine National Wildlife Refuge A Sandhills prairie with a collection of shallow lakes surrounded by marshes. The refuge provides a rich environment for all sorts of waterfowl and wildlife.