The West Region
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The West region of Nebraska, in the northwestern part of the state, is an area rich in history and culture, with attractions ranging from paleontology to Native American and old west history. The landscape is quite different from eastern Nebraska; there are flat open grasslands, sandhill formations, and national forest. Visitors will want a full tank of gas and plenty of time, but those willing to explore this remote area will be richly rewarded.

The astonishing Badlands stretch from South Dakota into the Nebraska Panhandle, where they meet the Oglala National Grasslands. Millions of years of wind and water carved towering sandcastles and sandhills that rise out of the landscape and inspire wonder. The formations of Toadstool Park, in the northwest corner of the state, resemble enormous toadstools, with narrow bases of soft siltstone and heavy round tops of harder sandstone. Toadstool Park and the greater Nebraska Badlands are a rich source of fossils: ancient turtles, camels, rhinos, and pigs are just a few of the treasures found here.

Agate Fossil Beds National Monument, closer to the Wyoming border, is brimming with fossils from the early Miocene period, 19 - 21 million years ago. The Agate Fossil Beds National Monument has fascinating exhibits about the herbivorous "sloth foot," Dinohysus the "terrible pig", and everything in between. There is also an exhibit on James Cook, a rancher, farmer, and amateur paleontologist who was friend to Red Cloud and the Lakota Sioux. He recognized the importance of the fossils found on and around his land, and his desire to preserve them on site ultimately lead to the creation of Agate Fossil Beds National Park.

Chimney Rock National Historic site, southeast of Scottsbluff, is one of the most famous landmarks in the west. Situated on the Oregon Trail, it symbolizes the spirit of manifest destiny and voluntary migration that seized the United States during the 19th century. The visitor center here houses a fascinating museum about that migration, and vividly depicts the travels and memories of those early pioneers.

No trip to the Panhandle Region would be complete without stopping by Fort Robinson State Park, west of Crawford. Over 22,000 acres of Pine Ridge scenery and grasslands are home to buffalo and longhorn herds. There is hiking, horseback riding and jeep and stagecoach tours. The area is rich in American history from the Indian Wars to World War II: visitors will learn about the 1879 Cheyenne Outbreak, the death of Sioux Chief Crazy Horse, the Red Cloud Indian Agency, and a WWII POW camp.

Events within the West region:


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