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Hwy 2 Sandhills Journey Scenic Byway + ADD NEW ROUTE


7   in Nebraska Nebraska358 Miles

By Ironpig
on March 1, 2009

2.7out of 5

5 Riders rated

 Scenery

 Road Quality

 Roadside Amenities

Written Directions

Start your trip in the far northwest corner of the state, just south of Ardmore, South Dakota, where Nebraska route 2 and Dakota route 71 merge. Then, simply follow Nebraska route 2 east-southeast as it travels across much of the state of Nebraska. It will take you through towns such as Crawford, Alliance, Thedford, and finally end in Grand Island, NE.

What better scenery can you find in the Great Plains that that of the breathtaking Sandhills of Central/Western Nebraska? This is a prime route for all easterners headed down I-80 to take to Sturgis in the summer. What was prehistorically a Sand dune desert a la the Sahara, the sandhills are now covered in a thin layer of grass, which has held the once always moving dunes in place for thousands of years. Nebraska has more river mileage than any other state, and its obvious in the sandhills, which is the largest wetlands ecosystem in the United States. Since the soil is so sandy, agriculture outside of ranching is not commonplace, so the sandhills appear largely untouched by human hands. A trip through in late spring early summer is ideal when the rains have brought the landscape to a beautiful shade of green from their normal sandy brown hue. Sunset in the Sandhills is one the most beautiful things you'll ever see. If you haven't yet, you will find your soul on this road.

Scenery

This trip takes you from the sandhill grasslands in the northwest corner of the state across the prairie going east. This is wide open country with slight hills and the Nebraska National Forest about mid trip. Nebraska Rt. 2, the Conestoga Scenic Byway, starts in the northwest corner of the state (in the Ogalala National Grasslands) where it junctions with S. Dakota Rt.71 (Buffalo Gap National Grassland). This is wide open country just south of the Black Hills in S. Dakota. As you travel you see the same scenery the early pioneers saw traveling by Conestoga wagon (prairie schooners). Alliance, Nebraska, is the first sizable town you'll come to. It was settled in the 1800s by German immigrants whose ancestors still live and work there. This two-lane road offers easy riding and huge vistas. Occasionally, you'll see trains traveling along the railroad which parallels Rt.2. We're talking long, long trains. About midway through this near 360 mile trip you'll come to the town of Broken Bow. The town is a major cattle shipping area and when the wind is right you know it. As the locals say: "That's the smell of money!" Leaving Broken Bow you continue until Rt.2 ends in Grand Island and civilization.

The further west you go, the better it gets! Highway 2 moves with the natural landscape of the sandhills so well, giving the rider lots of long banked turns, hills and descents, and just enough straight road for you to gawk around for a few minutes before the road swings around another turn.

Road Quality

This is a great route for folks leaving Sturgis and heading to the Southeast. Dropping straight south from Sturgis thru the Black Hills you pick up Nebraska Rt.2 off of Rt. 71 in southwestern S. Dakota. Traveling across Nebraska northwest to southeast you follow the route the Conestoga wagons traveled as they headed west to Utah, Idaho and Oregon. This is all two lane road with little traffic.

You don't need any amenities! You're riding cross country on a motorcycle! Man up! Set up your tent at Halsey State Park, in the nations largest hand planted forest! How cool is that right? Stay up late in mid summer and enjoy one of the best stargazing spots in the world. with no sources of light pollution, you'll be amazed to see that the milky way can shine bright enough to cast a shadow at night! EPIC! If you do need a motel, Broken Bow, on the eastern end of the Sandhills is your best bet, Thedford in the middle. The are only a few other towns with a gas pump out there, so plan accordingly! Or don't and make it a real adventure!

Roadside Amenities

There are a few small towns along Rt.2. In the northwest section Alliance is the largest town. Settle by German immigrants the town still displays its roots at various restaurants. Further to the east the town of Broken Bow has a good 1880's era hotel (remodeled in 2005) with a great bar and restaurant.

Additional Info

- View the weather forecast for this area from Yahoo weather ./mobile/images/icons/

Nickname (optional) : Ironpig

What Riders Say About this Route Add Review & Rating

By skutertrash
on July 16, 2012 6 out of 6 members found this review useful.

4.0out of 5

Motorcycle Year 2001

Motorcycle Make Harley Sportster

Motorcycle Type Cruiser

This really is a great ride across Nebraska. We rode from south to north heading to Sturgis a few years ago. This road has great scenery and very friendly people all along the way. Top off your tank every chance you can though. We were given bad info at the hotel and ended up having to buy gas at a 200% mark up from a guy. If ya get the chance it's a great road to ride down!

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By Guest
on May 15, 2010 5 out of 5 members found this review useful.

3.5out of 5

Motorcycle Year 2001

Motorcycle Make Harley-Davidson

Motorcycle Type Cruiser

It's a great trip through some beautiful country. Don't pass the fuel stops as they can be few and far between. If you are heading to Sturgis or the Black Hills,, there isn't a better route through Nebraska. Traveling at dawn or dusk, keep an eye out for deer.

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By Gyro-HD
on January 18, 2015 3 out of 3 members found this review useful.

4.0out of 5

Motorcycle Year 2014

Motorcycle Make HD-Ultra Limited

Motorcycle Type Touring

I took this route June 2014 on my way home from Yellowstone and the Black hills. It was one of the best rides on the trip. Nice sweeping curves, although a few hidden descending curves that wake you right up. I believe there was a stretch of 25 miles where I didn't pass a single vehicle in either direction.

The scenery is unusual interesting. Sandhills is a good name for the ride.

Gas is available but don't pass up a station, they are quite a distance apart. Not all the stations carry premium, so you may have to go another 50 miles to get some.

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By Stalephreak
on September 15, 2015 2 out of 6 members found this review useful.

1.0out of 5

Motorcycle Year 2012

Motorcycle Make Honda

Motorcycle Type Sport

This road is just painful! I-40 has more excitement than this road has to offer, with better things to see and do along the way. Let that sink in a bit, I-40 is better. That being said, Nebraska felt it necessary to dot this road with signs stating "Sandhill Journey" all over the place. They make such a big deal about it... The best thing about this road is that nobody is around, so no cops either. You can gun it, and you should! Just get it over with quickly. The gas stops are holes in the wall, and the towns are "blink and miss 'em" speed traps. There's a bit of comedy as you pass over Dismal River, and say to yourself "Yes. This entire thing is dismal." This road is a means to an end, nothing more.

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By Gunner1976
on June 2, 2016 0 out of 4 members found this review useful.

1.0out of 5

Motorcycle Year 2011

Motorcycle Make Harley Road Glide

Motorcycle Type Touring

I think this was a fairly dull ride no curves and miles of corn fields

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