Pine Bluffs Nature Trail

Bluffs Recreation Area, Wyoming

Trip Date: Wednesday, June 6th, 2018
Last Updated: Tuesday, July 3rd, 2018
By Ricky Holzer

Hike Information

Rating ★★★★★(5/5)
Overall Difficulty Easy
Navigation Difficulty     Easy
Distance 2.6 miles roundtrip
Time 1 hour
Terrain A few hills
Best Seasons All
Family Friendly Yes
Dog Friendly Yes
Accessible No

Highlights

Hike Walkthrough

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.

The dirt trail as it meanders into the pines

The dirt trail as it meanders into the pines

After a short uphill climb, you'll reach the flat plateau on the top of the bluff and the trail will fork with one way heading towards the cell tower pictured below and the other towards some buildings.
The cell tower at the top of the bluff

The cell tower at the top of the bluff

You can choose either direction since the trails connect to form a loop. The reward for your efforts is a view extending for miles across the plains and blanketed by the big blue sky, as pictured below. Enjoy the scenery and simply head back the way you came.
The green and blue view of big sky country

The green and blue view of big sky country

No matter where you're headed across Interstate 80, this is worth a stop if only to give yourself a break from driving. Happy hiking, and be sure to use #nocoastbestcoast on Twitter and Instagram!

Important Information

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.

This prickly pear cactus was camouflaged by the green grass

This prickly pear cactus was camouflaged by the green grass

Directions

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.

External Links

Nearby Hikes

Panorama Point (Nebraska State Highpoint)

Panorama Point, Nebraska
★★★★★(5/5)

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