|Distance||2.6 miles roundtrip|
|Terrain||A few hills|
- Pine trees in the otherwise treeless prairie
- Pretty bluffs with great views from the top
- Educational signs
On a long road trip to the middle-of-nowhere Nebraska state highpoint, Panorama Point, I needed to pee and look up directions to my final destination. I had heard there was decent hiking near Panorama Point, but I was so focused on reaching the highpoint I didn't research where those trails were nor did I think I would have time to hike. You can imagine my excitement as I stepped out of the car and saw a sign pointing to a nature trail -- I had accidentally stumbled upon the beautiful hike I never planned on doing. "What the hell," I thought, and I wandered the short trail here to the top of the bluffs.
There are two starting points for the trail from the parking lot, one on the western edge along the fence across the parking lot from the bathrooms, and one on the southern end of the lot. It doesn't matter where you start, just pick whichever is closest to your parking spot. Follow the trail as it heads toward the bluffs pictured above. You'll pass several interpretive signs along the way with information about this prairie environment and the plants and animals that live here.
There's a bit of gradual uphill as you walk past the disc golf course. Eventually you'll reach a fork in the trail, and off to the left you'll see a dirt road winding into the grassy hills shown in the picture below. Head right here to reach the top of the bluffs.
Dogs are allowed on leash. This is a short trail that is suitable for children -- they'll definitely appreciate stopping for a bit if you're on a long roadtrip. You can visit any time of year, though you might have trouble finding the trail in snow. One final note: it's important that you remain on the trail; wandering off trail risks stepping on small prickly pear cacti hidden among the grass like pictured below or, even worse, a rattlesnake.
From Cheyenne, take Interstate 80 east and take the exit for Wyoming Highway 215 in Pine Bluffs, following the blue signs for the rest area. Turn right into the rest area parking lot.
Google Maps Directions
Parking, Fees, and Facilities
Parking is free! This is a rest area with flush toilets, drinking water, and a picnic area. In addition to the nature trail here, there is also a disc golf course.