As the trickle of pioneer wagons grew to a flood, military posts
were built to protect pioneers from plains tribes becoming increasingly irritated with their unwelcome visitors.
Fort Kearny (6 miles south of the city of Kearney) was the first of those
strongholds, built in 1848. Civil War General Robert E. Lee served there as a young Army officer.
You can imagine that era as you walk among the reconstructed buildings
of Fort Kearny State Historical Park. Learn more about the Fort’s colorful history at
the visitors center. Unwind on the hiking/biking trail across the Platte River within Fort
Kearny State Recreation Area.
The westward trails also opened the Nebraska Territory to settlement, increasing conflicts with
the plains tribes. More forts went up to keep the peace.
About 70 miles north of the city of Kearney, Fort Hartsuff protected the North Loup River Valley.
Five original buildings still stand at Fort Harstuff State Historical Park.
Fort Robinson was established in 1874 (75 miles north of the city of Scottsbluff).
The cavalry base in the rugged Pine Ridge country of northwest Nebraska played a crucial role in the conflict
with the Sioux and Cheyenne. Renowned Oglala Sioux warrior Crazy Horse was killed there while in custody in 1877.
The Fort also protected travelers on the stagecoach and wagon trail narrowing north from the
Union Pacific railhead in Sidney to Black Hills gold mines near Deadwood, South Dakota.
Visitors at Fort Robinson State Park can overnight in converted officers’ quarters.
You can hike and bike a network of trails that probe the pine scented bluffs.
Or, explore on horseback, by narrated Jeep tours, or in a stagecoach.
Fort Robinson State Park
3200 US Hwy 20
Anglers fish for trout in the spring-fed waters of the White River,
and golfers try their skills on the course in nearby Crawford.
In the evening, guests gather around the fire for sing-alongs and buffalo stew cookouts
, view a melodrama in the Post Playhouse, or don cowboy hats to watch a rodeo. The park is open year-round.
Lodging is available mid-April through mid-November.
Relive History at Fort Kearney