Essay

Nebraska’s 4 Most Remote Spots And How to Safely Get There

Nebraska is located in the center of the Great Plains of America. The Cornhusker State, well-known for its rolling grasslands and agriculture, offers an opportunity to get away from it all and experience unexpected beauty. Let’s explore Nebraska’s four most isolated locations.

1. Smith Falls State Park

Many people believe Cherry County to be the most isolated county in Nebraska. It borders South Dakota and is situated in the state’s northern region. As of the 2020 U.S. census, Cherry County had 5,455 residents, despite its bigger territory than the state of Connecticut.

Cherry County has a few worthwhile locations despite its remote location. The region’s undulating hills and neighboring mountains provide an abundance of natural beauty, including Smith Falls State Park. Smith Falls, which is 70 feet high, is the biggest waterfall in the state and can be seen in the state park.

How to Get There

About 12 miles to the east-northeast is Smith Falls State Park from Valentine, Nebraska. Highway 12, also known as the Outlaw Trail Scenic Byway in Nebraska, leads to the park. After entering the park, you can hike for a short distance to the old Niobrara River bridge. You can see Smith Falls from there.

2. Panorama Point

The highest point in Nebraska’s natural landscape is Panorama Point. Southwestern Nebraska is home to the High Point Bison Ranch. Although Panorama Point is officially on private land, tourists are welcome as long as they pay the $1 admission fee and are mindful of the bison who wander the area.

There isn’t really much to see at Panorama Point because it is a remote spot. In addition to viewing the stone monument symbolizing Panorama Points’ elevation of 5,424 feet (1,653 meters), visitors can sign the guest register. Despite being very remote, Panorama Point has beautiful hiking trails and expansive plains vistas. The distant Rocky Mountains are visible to the west.

How to Get There

Kimball, NE is home to Panorama Point. The High Point Welcome Center is accessible via I-80, Exit 20. Drive cautiously and maintain a safe distance from the roving buffalo.

3. Monowi

Boyd County, Nebraska’s Monowi is a tiny unincorporated village, and we mean really small. In fact, since her husband Rudy passed away in 2004, Elisie Eiler, then 87 years old, has been the only resident of Monowi, according to an Eater piece from 2021.

In 1902, Monowi was a community founded on farming, ranching, and railroads. Its population had increased to 123 by the 1930s. Nevertheless, the modernization of farming and the railroad’s closure in the area forced the village’s population to relocate in search of employment.

Eiler is the sole proprietor of this one-horse community today. In addition to signing and submitting paperwork from the state for water, road maintenance, and the energy that powers Monowi’s three street lamps, she also acts as the town clerk, secretary, and mayor. Even at the restaurant and bar Monowi Tavern, which he owns and operates, Eiler gets his supplies from a wholesale food source located sixty miles away.

How to Get There

With a population of only 2,000, Monowi is a county of 535 square miles in central Nebraska. Nebraska’s State Highway 12 leads to the village. Miles from big-box stores and other amenities, Monowi is surrounded by farmland and dirt roads, although the dirt roads are nonetheless passable.

4. Nebraska Sand Hills

Most people agree that the Sand Hills are the most isolated place in the entire state of Nebraska. The Sand Hills are a region of sand dunes stabilized by mixed-grass prairie that is situated in north-central Nebraska. The Sand Hills cover about 20,000 square miles and are recognized as a National Natural Landmark.

The University of Lincoln-Nebraska reports that in certain areas, the dunes stretch up to 20 miles in length and 400 feet in height. The Sand Hils are mostly composed of dry grassland, but there are also some lakes and wetlands in the region.

There is also distinct vegetation in the Sand Hills. It is estimated that there are over 720 different plant species in the region. The Sand Hills are a popular location for hiking, horseback riding, and scenic driving because of the area’s natural beauty.

How to Get There

Nebraska Highway 2, also called the Nebraska Sand Hills Journey Scenic Byway, is the route that visitors can take to go to the Nebraska Sand Hills by car. From Grand Island to Alliance, the route travels 272 miles through the sand dunes. Check out Visit Nebraska for additional details.