On Tuesday, February 16, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) announced that Nebraska’s Sandhills Journey Scenic Byway and Lincoln Highway Scenic and Historic Byway were awarded a National Scenic Byway Designation. The two byways are the first in Nebraska to receive a designation to America’s Byways® Collection.
“The Nebraska Lincoln Highway Scenic and Historic Byway Board of Directors, Sandhills Journey Scenic Byway and the Nebraska Department of Transportation spent a lot of time and effort on their applications to receive this designation. Their hard work paid off and we’re excited to have Nebraska’s first two National Scenic Byway Designation’s because of it,” said John Ricks, Nebraska Tourism executive director. “The byways in our state give a scenic and historic look into what Nebraska has to offer and this new National Byway status will help in promoting our byways as road trips become increasingly more popular due to the pandemic.”
Along with increased awareness, the newly designated byways will also be featured in a commemorative 2021 National Scenic Byways Program Designations Booklet and will be added to the America’s Byways website.
The Lincoln Highway Scenic and Historic Byway stretches 450 miles along Highway 30 across the entire state of Nebraska, border to border. The Lincoln Highway was America’s first transcontinental highway and followed closely the historic transportation route of the “Great Platte River Road” that began with early Native Americans, fur trappers and traders, westward migration routes, Pony Express and the Union Pacific Railroad.
The Sandhills Journey Scenic Byway runs 272 miles along Nebraska Highway 2 from Grand Island to Alliance. This byway follows the gently rolling Nebraska Sandhills that are situated atop the Ogallala Aquifer, the nation’s largest under-ground water supply. World-class natural wonders are found along this rural route, including dark skies perfect for stargazing, the Nebraska National Forest and the sandhill crane migration in the spring.
The 2021 Nebraska State Travel Guide features all nine of Nebraska’s scenic byways with small-town highlights and unique stops along the way. In the past, the byways have been awarded Nebraska Tourism grant dollars for marketing efforts and have had stops featured on the Nebraska Passport program. For more information on Nebraska’s scenic byways, order a travel guide here or go to https://visitnebraska.com/scenic-byways.