While many know the famous story of Lewis and Clark being bravely lead by Sacagawea to the Pacific Northwest, not many know that part of today’s Interstate 75 follows where they traveled. Located primarily in Nebraska, the Lewis & Clark Scenic Byway is a road trip of historic proportions.
Comprised of eight historic cities, the Lewis & Clark Scenic Byway works to promote tourism, education, and the preservation of these communities. When you find yourself in Nebraska, go the way of Lewis and Clark; your country will thank you for it.
This 77-mile stretch of historical trails runs from DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge and heads straight north for roughly two and a half hours until you reach just outside of Sioux City. With nine participating cities, you’ll find plenty to do over a day trip, or even go several times to enjoy the scenery, hiking, and other outdoor adventures. Some cities even have dedicated points of interests that shouldn’t be missed should you find yourself taking this scenic route.
John G. Neihardt State Historic Site Bancroft, NE
It may not look like much from the outside, but this historical landmark is a one-room museum celebrating the life of John G. Neihardt, the renowned poet, and is home to many of his most famous works. Although that may not be enough to pull you in from your day trip, it is a free admission historical site with real items such as the Hoop of the World, a drum and pipe from the local Lakota tribe, whom Neihardt had developed a deep friendship with their holy man Black Elk. The center also contains a Sioux Prayer Garden, a memorial room, and a library. And for something even more special, consider visiting during their annual Neihardt Day celebration.
Green Lantern Steakhouse & Lounge Decatur
If you’re looking for the comic book superhero, you may be disappointed. However, what you will find is the second iteration of a celebrated local restaurant. Originally opened in 1956 and burned down in 2008, it was faithfully rebuilt the following year and has been faithfully feeding patrons again ever since. While you won’t find Ryan Reynolds or green spandex, you will find reasonably priced food that locals and tourists alike love, as well as a rustic atmosphere, friendly staff, and libations from the lounge. If you need a hot meal to keep you going on your trip, swing by the Green Lantern Steakhouse.
Out of all the stops on the Scenic Byway, Tekamah has the most offerings. Located in the E.C. Houston House, the Burt County Museum has a single room school house from 1908, historic grounds, exhibits, and more. The museum is only open on certain days, and has a second location at the Historic E.W. Bryant House. Admission is also free, although if you’re feeling generous they would love a donation. The Burt County Museum is a great way to see history firsthand and a must-see on the Byway. Other areas of interest in Tekamah include two wineries, a waterfowl hunting range, a candle and gift shop, and lodging.
Winnebago is a village with a population of fewer than 800 people, located within the Winnebago Reservation of the Ho-Chunk. Two of the community hubs are the Sto Wahi Quilters Guild and the Woodland Trails Art & Learning Center. The Sto Wahi Quilters Guild meets for two hours every Thursday evening to make quilts by hand. The Woodland Trails Art & Learning Center, on the other hand, showcases some of the best artwork in the region. In addition to giving the ever-growing art community a place to display and sell their artwork, the center also is a meeting place for dance and music groups and often has local food vendors.