Western Field Meadowlark

NE. Historical Names

   William J. Bryan
   Francis Burt
   John C. Calhoun
   William F. Cody
   John H. Decker
   Stephen Arnold Douglas
   Gen. John C. Frémont
   Mark W. Izard
   Col.  Kearney
   Manuel Lesa
   J. Sterling Morton
   John J. Pershing
   Red Cloud
   Standing Bear
   Gen. Peter A. Sarpy

 

 Nebraska Historical Forts

   Fort Atkinson
   Fort Cody
   Fort Hartsuff
   Fort Kearny
   Fort Mitchell
   Fort Niobrara
   Fort McPherson
   Fort Omaha
   Fort Robinson
   Fort Sidney

Tip: Return to your last location

Trails

Trails Follow Water Back to the top of this page.

Water was an important necessity to migrating animals and travelers on land so it is not surprising that the Native American trails followed the buffalo.  Both hugged Nebraska's greatest of rivers, the Platte River.  The early settlers used these same trails and paths as the roads to the great west.

Our modern roads follow in the footsteps of our ancestors and stray very little as the early roads were improved.  New projects such as the Interstate Highway system also tend to follow the same general paths in order to supplement the commerce of the already established cities.  As Interstate 80 makes its way across Nebraska, it too hugs the Platte River for much of the way.

Mormon Trail  Back to the top of this page.

When the Mormons left "Winter Quarters" and the Kanesville area (Council Bluffs), they headed straight for the Platte River around Fremont and stuck with it throughout most of the state and on into Wyoming.  The only deviation being between Columbus and Grand Island.  At Columbus, the (collective) Loup Rivers feeds the Platte River from the North.  Since the Mormons were traveling on the northern edge they continued on with the North Loup River on its North side until finally a decision was made to travel south and join back in with the Platte River around Grand Island.  As some of the first needing to get covered wagons through narrow passes, the Mormons contributed to improving the road's conditions and width.

The Mormon Trail was later referred to as the California Trail when gold seekers crossed Nebraska to the rivers and valleys of California around Sacramento.

Sidney-Deadwood Trail  Back to the top of this page.

The Sidney-Deadwood Trail was used to herd cattle from Deadwood, South Dakota, south to the cattle sales in Texas..  It passes through Crawford in northwest Nebraska and continues south through Sidney and Bridgeport where it follows the same path as the Oregon Trail before leaving the state as it travels on south.

Oregon Trail  Back to the top of this page.

The Oregon Trail started south of the Nebraska territory, back in Missouri, but as the travelers made their way west, they crossed into Nebraska and continued along the southern edge of the Platte River around Kearney.  Before joining up with the Platte River, the Oregon Trail used another river, the Little Blue River right up to the point that offered the shortest jump over to the Platte.

At Fort Sidney, the southern branch of the Oregon Trail turned north to join up with the northern branch around Bridgeport, Nebraska, continuing on towards Scottsbluff.  Between Sidney and Bridgeport, the Oregon trail follows a similar path as the Sidney Deadwood Trail, which continues on north into South Dakota.

Idaho University Website on the Oregon Trail

Pony Express  Back to the top of this page.

To supply these early settlers with news from back east and to report on the riches found in the west to the folks back east, the Pony Express was formed to get mail from St. Joseph, Missouri to Sacramento, California.  It took the same general route of the Oregon Trail.*  Though the Pony Express only existed for less than 2 years (April 3, 1860-October 1861*), it has remained an important part of the development of the West and Nebraska's history.

Oxbow Trail  Back to the top of this page.

The Oxbow Trail that starts around Nebraska City meanders through Nebraska up to near Columbus where it hugged close to the Platte River to its end around Grand Island.

Nebraska City Cut-off Trail  Back to the top of this page.

The Nebraska City Cut-off Trail is the shortest route to Grand Island from Nebraska City.  There it joins in with the Oregon Trail to the west.

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