Upcoming park events
Sweet spring water made Ash Hollow State Historical Park near Lewellen a major stopover on the Overland Trail and prompted prehistoric Indians to use it, too. Ruts etched by west-bound wagons are still visible on the bluffs. Today, the area’s beauty and sweeping vistas continue to make this area a popular destination for vacationers and travelers. The history, archaeology and paleontology of the area are interpreted at the visitor center, Ash Hollow Cave and exhibits and structures.
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For several thousand years, early peoples camped near Ash Hollow Cave. One of the latest groups identified was the Dismal River People, ancestors of the Plains Apache. Less than 100 years after the Dismal River People left the area, white settlers began to explore the area. Archaeologists have studied the cave and identified several groups of people who used the cave over thousands of years. An interpretive center has been built over the entrance of Ash Hollow Cave to protect it while allowing visitors to experience its unique features.
A Visitors Center is situated on a bluff overlooking the mouth of the canyon. The center houses a display of pioneer history, as well as fossils from prehistoric rhinoceros, mammoths and mastodons. The Visitors Center is open Tuesday through Sunday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. from May 24 to Sept. 5. Admission is $2 per adult and $1 for children under 13. There is no admission for children under 3. The park grounds are open from 8 a.m. until sunset year round.
Ash Hollow State Historical Park offers nine miles of hiking on four different trails. Among the most popular trails is the path that leads visitors to the crest of Windlass Hill, where the deep ruts carved by thousands of covered wagons are still visible.
Ash Hollow got its reputation as an oasis stopover for pioneers on their journey west. Still true today, Ash Hollow is an ideal spot for a picnic with friends and family. The park grounds have 28 picnic tables available, along with five grills.
Other attractions at Ash Hollow include a rock schoolhouse, the Ash Hollow Cemetery and Windlass Hill, where ruts from the Oregon-California Trail are still visible. The area also offers bird watching and wildlife viewing opportunities.
Ash Hollow State Historical Park offers two special events each year, in the summer and fall. These events are:
Ash Hollow Pageant:The Ash Hollow Pageant is an annual June event held the Friday and Saturday of Father’s Day weekend. The Pageant has live outdoor performances telling stories taken from the diaries of pioneers traveling the Oregon-California Trail. Live music highlights the pageant. A true chuck wagon supper is cooked over an open campfire with wood smoke drifting around the camp, reminiscent of an evening on the trail.
Haunted Halloween: Haunted Halloween at Ash Hollow is held the last Saturday in October and is fun event for the entire family. Hayrack rides, trick-or-treating, food and games make the evening fun and memorable.
Boating, fishing and camping are available at Lake McConaughy and Lake Ogallala state recreation areas. Crescent Lake National Wildlife Refuge and Clear Creek Wildlife Management Area offer top-notch hunting. Chimney Rock National Historic Site interprets the history of one of the most famous landmarks on the Oregon, California and Mormon Trails.
Address: Ash Hollow State Historical Park | P.O. Box 70 | Lewellen, Neb 69147-0070
3 miles southeast of Lewellen on U.S. Hwy. 26
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