Ash Hollow State Historical Park

Ash Hollow area
North Platte River at Ash Hollow – Photo by Paul A. Johnsgard

This historically interesting park has a wide variety of habitats, from exposed rocky bluffs that are used by great horned owls, American kestrels, and sometimes prairie falcons, through grassy wet meadows where bobolinks and eastern meadowlarks are present, to riparian wooded habitats used by warbling vireos and other wooded habitats songbirds. There is also upland grassland, with blue grosbeaks and spotted towhees in shrubby areas, and scattered yuccas where field and grasshopper sparrows sometimes perch. An air-conditioned interpretive center provides welcome relief from oppressive summer temperatures.

The nearby U.S. Highway 26 bridge across the North Platte provides views of many marshland species, sometimes including least bitterns. A one-mile trail leads from the parking lot off U.S. 26 to Windlass Hill, where ancient immigrant wagon ruts are still easily visible. Watch for rattlesnakes along canyon trails, and nesting great horned owls or barn owls in cliff crevices.