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Ash Hollow State Historical Park

Oregon Trail marker at Ash Hollow

  • Hiking
  • Hunting
  • Picnicking
Upcoming park events

Visit Calendar

Sweet spring water made Ash Hollow State Historical Park near Lewellen a major stopover on the Oregon and California trails 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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Hours

Visitor Center, Cave & Schoolhouse hours

May 1—May 31 (Memorial Day): Open Wednesday through Sunday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

June 1—to September 6 (Labor Day): Open daily, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

September 7—October 31: Open Wednesday through Sunday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

November 1-April 30: Tours by appointment only. Please call 308-778-7708 to schedule.

Park Grounds: Open 8 a.m. to sunset year round.

The park grounds are open from sunrise to sunset all year round.

Admission & rental pricing

Admission: Adults (13 & up), $4; Children (3-12), $1; Under 3, free

A valid vehicle Park Entry Permit is required.

Wedding Rental:  $300

Theater Rental: $60


Attractions

Ash Hollow Cave

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. 

Visitor Center

The Visitor Center is situated on a bluff overlooking the hollow and the Overland Trail. The center houses a display of pioneer history, American Indian history, as well as geologic and paleontologic history.

Hiking

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.

Picnicking

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

Other attractions at Ash Hollow include a rock schoolhouse, the Ash Hollow Cemetery and Windlass Hill, where swales or depression from wagons traveling on the Oregon-California Trail are still visible. The area also offers bird watching and wildlife viewing opportunities.

Special events

Ash Hollow State Historical Park offers three special events each year, in the summer and fall. These events are:

Ash Hollow Rendezvous: Held the 2nd weekend in September, Ash Hollow Rendezvous is a step back in time.  The pre-1840 event features black powder rifle shooting, hawk and knife, long bow, historical vendors and re-enactors, food, dutch oven cooking demonstrations, blacksmithing and  trap setting. Please contact the park for a schedule of events. The event is free to attend with a valid NGPC vehicle permit.

Youth Mentor Hunt:   Held in October during opening youth water fowl weekend,  youth ages 11-15 years are invited to take part in an all day clinic learning about firearm safety, zones of fire, boat safety, bird identification, duck calling and trap shooting. Later in the day they can practice their new skills setting out decoys and a one on one mentor hunt with law enforcement. The clinic is free to attend but youth must have the hunter education safety course and must preregister by calling the park.

Halloween at the Hollow: Halloween at the Hollow is held the 3rd Saturday in October and is fun event for the entire family. Wagon rides, the headless horseman, pumpkin picking and pumpkin decorating, costume contests, pony rides, food and games trunk-or-treating by local EMS, make the day fun and memorable.

Nearby attractions

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.

Contact Information

Address: Ash Hollow State Historical Park | P.O. Box 70 | Lewellen, Neb 69147-0070
3 miles southeast of Lewellen on U.S. Hwy. 26
Phone: 308-778-5651

Email: Send email