Winter Getaway Activities in Nebraska
Don’t let cold weather slow you down! Stay active in Nebraska this winter by enjoying both indoor and outdoor activities. For outdoor enthusiasts, winter hiking is an excellent way to spend your day outside while enjoying nature. If it snows, getting into cross country skiing or snowshoeing is another way to be outdoors while staying active. If outdoor activities aren’t your thing, there’s plenty to enjoy indoors as well.
The following post will spark ideas for your next winter trip to our Nebraska member areas. There’s bound to be something for everyone to enjoy!
Scottsbluff, NE – powered by Roosevelt Public Power District
For avid winter hikers, Saddle Rock Trail at Scotts Bluff National Monument can’t be beaten. The 1.6-mile asphalt trail runs from the visitor center up to the top of the bluffs with great views of unusual rock formations along the way.
Movie or Theater Performance
Catch a movie or theater experience in the Nile Theater in Mitchell or the Midwest Theater in Scottsbluff. Built in 1946, the Midwest Theater has been restored with lush velvet seats and beautiful carpeting, mirroring an exciting place to attend movies and performances. The theater presents film, holiday movies through December, live performances of music, theater, and art; and a space for community programs.
The Midwest Theater also runs the SkyView Drive-In Theater, a classic drive-in with concessions located a few minutes outside of Scottsbluff. Movie showings run Friday, Saturday and Sunday, after sunset and all year round (rain, snow or shine). Check out the latest showings and details here.
Scottsbluff's Legacy of the Plains Museum is a must-see for anyone interested in the area's history. In addition to information on farming, transportation, business and daily life on the High Plains, the museum's art gallery features paintings, beadwork and quilts, among other items.
A trip to the 1,094-acre Wildcat Hills State Recreation Area, with its interactive exhibits, interpretive programming, shooting sports, and other outdoor activities, is sure to deepen your love of the great outdoors. It's a great place to get away from it all and enjoy the evergreen-studded canyons and rugged terrain of the Wildcat Hills. The park also has a Nature Center, Shooting Sports Complex, overnight camping, and a huge network of trails.
Flyover Brewing Company
Scottsbluff, Nebraska's first and only brewery, is located right in the middle of town. Flyover Brewing Company, the first in the Nebraska Panhandle, is a craft brewer that takes its craft beer seriously. In their brewing, the proprietors use Lincoln-made equipment, Nebraska-produced malt, and locally-grown sugar beets. Lager and ale styles are faithfully produced at the brewery by an award-winning brewer with years of experience in his craft. The brewery also produces innovative, locally-themed brews.
Bayard, NE – powered by Chimney Rock Public Power District
Chimney Rock Museum and Historical Site
See the most documented landmark along the Oregon Trail at Chimney Rock Museum and historical site. Chimney Rock served as a beacon for hundreds of thousands of westward travelers in the mid-1800s. Visit and learn about pioneer life and the wonders and dangers on the trails.
Alliance, NE – Powered by Panhandle Rural Electric Membership Association
The Knight Museum
With its creative approach to preserving local history, the Knight Museum provides visitors with a glimpse into the lives of the people of the Sandhills region as well as the people of the country and life in the town. The Museum's large collection includes Pioneer relics, Native American artifacts and railroad history.
The Heritage Room is renowned for its extensive genealogy research. If you or your ancestors hail from this part of Nebraska, it’s worth a stop. A large portion of the municipal and county records, along with several Western Nebraska records, are housed in a digital database. A substantial collection of microfilmed local newspapers, writers, images and genealogy information is also housed in the Museum.
Wildlife and Bird Watching
Crescent Lake National Wildlife refuge is a great place to spot wildlife and migratory birds. The most visible species during the winter are Ring-necked pheasant, Northern Harrier, and large wintering deer herds, rough-legged hawks.
With over 400 public waters to choose from, Nebraska offers some of the best ice fishing spots in the country. Depending on the weather, the state’s premier ice fishing season normally runs from December through February. Ice fishing is popular on Island Lake, Crane Lake and Smith Lake. For newbies to ice fishing, keep in mind Nebraska is on the southern edge of the ice fishing belt, so ice conditions can vary depending on the weather. Always take precautions and remember to practice ice safety.
Carnegie Art Museum
In three galleries, the Carnegie Art Museum hosts nineteen alternating exhibits each year. Artists from many states and cultural backgrounds are represented in these Galleries. Here you will find representations of all types of media. Visitors are exposed to a wide range of artworks, both in terms of concept and topic.
Carnegie organizes a variety of fund-raising events, humanities activities, exhibit tours, artist receptions and an extensive educational outreach program each year. In addition, the art museum offers a variety of workshops for children and the Studio Gallery features works by local artists.
Sidney, NE – powered by Wheat Belt Public Power District
Ash Hollow State Park
With the wheels of thousands of wagons locked down on the trails, Windlass Hill is scarred by deep ruts from bygone days. Pioneers moving through this steep-grade trail in wagons could easily travel at speeds that were not good for them or for the livestock. Because the wheels were locked, they could not turn and the friction increased, leaving behind the ruts. Visitors can take a paved, but steep, path to the top of the hill that includes outdoor exhibits. Visitors to Ash Hollow and the Platte River can enjoy a breathtaking view from there. Other activities include bird and eagle watching, wildlife viewing and picnicking.
Fat Bike Winter Cycling
If you’re a year-round cyclist, The Sidney Deadwood Trail offers 4 miles of paved surface and has a maximum elevation of 4,088 ft. of challenging curves, inclines and descents.
If you love playing in the snow, the hilly slopes in Legion Park are outstanding for sledding, tubing and the occasional snow angel.
Those who enjoy snowshoeing can take advantage of Sidney's parks and trails. Parking fees are common at "snow-park" areas in some states, but Legion Park is free!
When it comes to hiking, snowshoeing extends your outdoor season into the winter and provides low-impact, aerobic exercise that helps you stay in shape during the colder months. Many areas that are difficult to ski because of trees or low snowfall can be snowshoed here.
It’s time to start thinking about where to go for your next family vacation! Nebraska has many options that are perfect for families looking for a change of winter scenery. From sledding or snow tubing at Legion Park to art and history in Alliance, there is no shortage of fun and interesting things to do and see in Nebraska.
Tri-State is a not-for-profit cooperative of 45 members, including 42 member utility electric distribution cooperatives and public power districts in four states, that together deliver reliable, affordable, and responsible power to more than a million electricity consumers across nearly 200,000 square miles of the West.