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Ash Hollow

State Historical Park

4265 Highway 26 | Lewellen, NE 69147-0070

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. Park grounds are open 8 a.m. to sunset year round.


  • Hiking
  • Hunting
  • Picnicking
Two women look inside a cave, closed off by glass to protect it.

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. 

A man and woman walk up to a sod house in under vivid blue skies.

Historic opportunities

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 birdwatching and wildlife viewing opportunities.


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.

Ash Hollow State Historical Park offers three special events each year, in the summer and fall. Event information is tentative; call ahead to confirm dates.

Kids Fishing Day

This event is set for May 13, 2023.

Ash Hollow BioBlitz

Enjoy learning from Nebraska biologists while finding and identifying as many species of plants and animals as possible. All materials needed for sessions will be provided. This event is set for June 17, 2023.

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 park vehicle permit. The annual rendezvous is set for Sept. 8-10, 2023.

Halloween at the Hollow

Halloween at the Hollow is held on the 3rd Saturday in October and is a fun event for the entire family. Wagon rides, the headless horseman, pumpkin picking and pumpkin decorating, costume contests, pony rides, food and games, and trunk-or-treating by local EMS, make the day fun and memorable. The annual event is set for Oct. 21, 2023.

Youth Mentor Hunt

Held in October during opening youth waterfowl weekend,  youth ages 11-15 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. This waterfowl hunt is set for Oct. 22, 2023.

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. The cave and schoolhouse also are open for tours during the same hours as the visitor center.

  • May 1 to Oct. 30: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mountain Time Thursday to Monday
  • Nov. 1 to April 30: Tours by appointment only; call 308-778-7708 to schedule.

  • Adults (13 and up): $4
  • Children (3-12): $1
  • 2 and under: Free

A park entry permit is required and may be purchased at the park, statewide Game and Parks offices and permit vendors or in advance of your arrival online at

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.

Rent a facility

Ash Hollow State Historical Park may rented for your wedding or other event.

Contact Us

P.O. Box 70
Lewellen, NE 69147-0070

Park Pricing

A park entry permit is required to visit state parks and may be purchased at the park, statewide Game and Parks offices and permit vendors, or in advance of your arrival online. View those fees, as well as attraction and amenity pricing.

Park Events

Our 76 gorgeous state park and recreations areas host a plethora of events throughout the year. From bird hikes to kayak races, Living History events to family outdoor days, our parks host something fun for every outdoor enthusiast.