Nebraska Road Trip through Gold Rush Country

Photo by Mike Tigas

Cruise past impressive sandhills, pine-covered buttes, rolling hills, and lush river valleys

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Between 1874 and 1881, more than $200,000 worth of gold traveled this historic route daily. Today, this 158-mile byway along U.S. Highway 385 from the Nebraska/South Dakota state line to the Nebraska/Colorado state line is one of the most scenic and historic roads in the nation—the CANAM Highway that spans from Canada to Mexico.


Chadron State Park south of Chadron is Nebraska’s first state park and an outdoor recreation lover’s paradise. Nestled among towering pine trees and rugged buttes, the park is packed with fun-filled activities such as paddleboating, black powder demonstrations, hiking, biking, and sightseeing.

Located near Chadron, the Museum of the Fur Trade displays artifacts from the lucrative fur-trading industry that was a thriving business in northwest Nebraska in the early 1800s. Sweet Sage Spice and Gourmet Shoppe in Hemingford is an old-fashioned variety store with a full line of antiques, collectibles, candles, and art from local artists.

Are you ready to relive the frontier days of the Old West? You can at Dobby’s Frontier Town in Alliance. This re-creation of a turn-of-the-century Western town boasts a homesteader’s cabin, mercantile, bootlegger’s cabin, post office, jail, baled straw house, and much, much more. Be sure to stop at one of the most fascinating stops in Nebraska, Carhenge near Alliance. This unique attraction is an exact replica of Stonehenge — but built entirely out of cars!

Courthouse and Jail Rocks near Bridgeport are two of the first rock formations pioneers came across on their way west. Bargain hunters and outdoor enthusiasts will enjoy shopping at Cabela’s in Sidney. The store’s
centerpiece is a giant man-made mountain featuring dozens of animals climbing to its peak. While in town, spend time getting better acquainted with your green thumb at Ricky & Lucy’s Country Greenhouse.

Route Directions

Start in Chadron
40 miles south on US-385, west on NE-L7E to Hemingford
20 miles south on NE-2, south on US-385 to Alliance
37 miles south on US-385 to Bridgeport
42 miles south on US-385 to Sidney

This itinerary is compliments of the Nebraska Tourism Commission.

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