The history of the Sandhills region: 5 landmarks to explore

The Sandhills region of the United States is an area of Nebraska and parts of South Dakota, Wyoming, and Colorado that’s characterized by vast expanses of sand dunes and rolling hills. The region has a deep history that stretches back thousands of years, with many landmarks to explore along the way. From iconic roadside attractions to historic sites with Native American roots, here are five must-see landmarks in the Sandhills:

1. Carhenge

Located near the city of Alliance, Nebraska, Carhenge is a replica of Stonehenge constructed from vintage cars. Built in 1987 as a memorial to its creator’s father, it’s become a beloved roadside attraction in the Sandhills. Carhenge is made up of 38 vintage automobiles, including a 1962 Cadillac and a 1974 Chevy Malibu. The cars are welded together and painted gray to mimic the look of Stonehenge’s standing stones. In addition to the main circle, there are several other car sculptures on the site, including a Ford “Carnastoga” wagon and a sculpture of a dinosaur made from car parts.

2. North Platte River Trails

This 80-mile stretch of trails runs through Nebraska’s panhandle and is home to breathtaking views, as well as abundant wildlife like pronghorn antelope and mule deer. The trail also showcases some fascinating historical sites like Fort Sedgwick—a military post established during the Civil War—and Clay Canyon Petroglyphs, where visitors can view ancient Native American carvings in stone walls along the banks of the North Platte River. 

3. The Chimney Rock National Historic Site

This towering spire has been an awe-inspiring landmark for hundreds of years; it was used by both pioneers and Native Americans including the Lakota Sioux as an orientation tool when traversing the Great Plains on their journeys westward across America. It stands at nearly 300 feet tall and offers stunning 360-degree views from its observation deck at the top! 

4. Toadstool Geologic Park

A National Natural Landmark located near Harrison, Nebraska, Toadstool Geologic Park offers a unique glimpse into Earth’s distant past with its rugged badlands terrain featuring rocky hoodoos (tall thin rock formations) and sandstone arches that have been shaped by millions of years of erosion from wind and water sources over time. 

5. Agate Fossil Beds National Monument

Located just over the border in South Dakota, this national monument features two remarkable fossil beds dating back 18 million years ago when rhinos roamed this area! Visitors to Agate Fossil Beds can explore interactive exhibits at its visitor center which highlight some exciting discoveries made there over time—including fossils known as transverse agates formed in ancient riverbeds which give these fossils their unique rainbow hue! 

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