OFF THE BEATEN PATH - CRAWFORD, NEBRASKA

SOWBELLY CANYON

A beautiful canyon near Harrison, Nebraska. A 12 mile scenic drive through canyons, breaks and Pine Ridge timber. Look for the Hillside Service Station and a Sowbelly Canyon sign or go 3 miles East of Harrison on highway 20 and turn North on Pants Butte road. Look for the Zimmerman sign and head north. Ask the locals how the canyon got its name. Look for Coffee park signs.

Sioux Sundries in Harrison was known for its 28 ounce hamburger called the "Coffee Burger" after rancher Coffee who wanted bigger hamburgers for himself and his crew. The burgers got bigger and bigger until Mr. Coffee was satisfied. The burger was sold for $7.00. Now this big burger is reproduced at High Plains Homestead. Ask the price.

The Oglala National Grassland

is open year around to hiking and wildlife viewing. The U.S. Forest Service is responsible for the Grasslands which is 94,000 acres of mixed grass prairielands accentuated with badlands outcroppings created by water and wind erosion. You might see pronghorn antelope, Swift foxes, elk, badgers, coyotes and hundreds of varieties of birds. Watch for prairie dog towns, red-tailed hawks and golden eagles.

Toadstool Geological Park

is found 4 miles North of Crawford, Nebraska and 15 miles West on Toadstool Road. The formations are eroded volcanic sediment. There is a developed campground located at trailhead - Time Travel Through Toadstool Geological Park. There is a sodhouse located here and excellent opportunities for photographs of wildlife. This is federal land and admittance is free. (308) 432-4475 for information.

Watch a NET produced video of Toadstool Geological Park for an introduction to the area.

Hudson - Meng Bison Bone Bed Enclosure

is 4.2 miles north of Crawford on Nebraska Highway 2 to Forest Development Road 904, turn left on 904, and go for 7.4 miles to Sand Creek Road; then turn left on Sand Creek Road and go 6.3 miles to the Hudson - Meng turnoff. Some of the roads are dirt and after a rain are ripe for holding a vehicle captive. Over 10,000 years ago over 600 buffalo died here. Archaeologists are currently studying the massive pile of bones to help discover why this happened. The theory of it being a buffalo jump (where the Native Americans chased the buffalo and caused them to jump over a cliff) has more or less been dismissed as very few manmade tools have been found at the site. A possible prairie fire trapping the buffalo at this location or a blizzard are thought to be more probable. The National Forest and Grasslands Agency maintains an Education and Research Center here now and there is a fee of $5.00 for adults and $3.00 for kids ages 5 to 12. The Center is open from Memorial Day to Labor Day, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Telephone number 308-432-0300.

BELMONT

A ghost town located 1 mile East of Highway 71 and Highway 2. Here is the only railroad tunnel in the State of Nebraska. Look for a highway sign -Belmont-. The tunnel is 3 miles from Highways 2 and 71. Right before the bridge turn left, go down the hill and over the railroad tracks. WATCH FOR TRAINS! This tunnel was last used in 1982. The road may be gated closed if recent rains have muddied the road. Can you find it?