117 S. Nebraska Street | Ponca, NE | (402) 755-2237
Part of the Missouri National Recreational River, both a unit of the National Park System and the National Wild and Scenic River Systems. The overlook, by the Newcastle-Vermillion Bridge on Highway 15, offers a spectacular view of the Missouri River. Handicapped accessible for a good portion, the paved walk to various lookouts is moderately strenuous, but well worth it. Interpretive panels tell local stories.
Two miles west and two miles south of town on a county road | Ponca, NE
George Shannon, the youngest and most educated in the Corps of Discovery, was lost for 16 days in the area of present day northeast Nebraska.
The Trail encompasses an area steeped in history, dotted with pioneer cemeteries and ghost towns.
The Nebraska communities involved are Bloomfield, Bow Valley, Center, Creighton, Crofton, Hartington, Lindy, Niobrara, St. Helena, St. James, Santee, Verdel, Verdigre, Wausa, Winnetoon, Wynot, and the Ponca and Santee Sioux Nations.
A National Park Service grant and donations from local banks contributed to the placing of sixteen wayside signs commemorating the life of George Shannon. Following the Lewis and Clark Expedition, he was wounded in a battle with the Arikara in a failed attempt to return the Mandan chief, Shekeke, to his village; his leg was subsequently amputated above the knee. He helped Nicholas Biddle prepare the first narrative account of the Expedition for publication. Shannon then became an attorney and circuit judge, served in the Kentucky and Missouri state legislatures and ran against Thomas Hart Benton in a bid for the U.S. Senate. He died at age 50.
2,200 acres and a new 17,000 square foot facility called the Missouri National Recreational River Resource and Education Center. The park is mostly forested with bur oaks and other hardwoods (one bur oak is more than 300 years old). The distinctive calls of whip-poor-wills and barred owls are common during the summer months; bald eagles are present in winter. A birdwatchers’ list for the park and surrounding areas includes 297 species (see www.nebraskabirdingtrails.com). The park attracts many birdwatchers during the peak of spring migration (late April and early May).
Camping – 100 tents, 72 trailers, 31 cabins, $12-$17, $80 cabins, $253 mini-lodges.
Located in the wooded hills overlooking the Missouri River
2 mi. No. | Ponca, NE | (402) 755-2284 | www.ngpc.state.ne.us/parks/