Nebraska Interactive Trail Map.
You can move the map to your desired destination, then zoom in for details. The map is printable also. Nebraska has worked to improve trail markings at state parks. In years past, many trails were poorly marked.
One of the best routes to view the area, would be to access the trail at a Wagon Wheel trailhead located about 1/2 mile west of the White River bridge on Highway 20 just west of Crawford, Nebraska. There is a small parking area there with a sign, but not much other helpful information. Hikers will have to climb over a padlocked gate and head across the meadow toward the first trail marker. All the trail markers are diamond shaped, usually white but sometimes other colors.
Less than a mile up the trail, one will come to a fork in the trail. The right fork goes out to Saddle Rock. The route left will go on just a short distance until you come to another fork. The right fork is the continuation of the Wagon Wheel Trail, and goes out into pasture land and on into the town of Crawford. The left fork is the Mule Trail, which turns to the west and goes up into thick forest on a fairly steady incline. There is a junction with the Red Cloud Buttes Trail at about 3/4 miles. The left fork goes west on the north side of the Red Cloud Buttes (allowing hikers and climbers many options for a summit on many parts of this ridge system), while the right fork works back around to the east behind some of the other buttes, eventually arriving at Lovers Leap Butte, the overall steepest summit in Nebraska. From the trailhead to Lovers Leap, the distance has to be under 3 miles, but there are no distance makers, so one has to estimate. The Red Cloud Buttes Trail continues on in a loop that eventually takes a westerly direction, then loops toward the south and junctions with the West Red Cloud Buttes Trail and then the Buttes Trail Ride Trail.
Because of the array of trails and loop possibilities, you will have to plan your route according to your preferences. The views along the loop that constitutes the Red Cloud Buttes Trail are spectacular in many places, and most of the time you will have the trail to yourself. There are rare sightings of rattlesnakes in the area, and even more rare sightings of mountain lions. So, be aware of your surroundings.
The buttes in the area are all soft sandstone with many sheer sides, from 100 to 300 feet. Getting to the summit areas of Red Cloud Buttes is better done from the north side mid-point and west, than from the east, where that end is pretty much sheer all around. Giant's Coffin Butte, on the south side, is totally sheer all around. Access to the summits of Lovers Leap Butte and Saddle Rock is possible, but only with some very careful scrambling. Careful study of your topo and trail maps will go a long ways toward making your ventures in this area very enjoyable.
Fort Robinson History
The State Historical Society operates a museum and many restored or reconstructed exhibit buildings to interpret the Fort's history.
The great thing about a hiking trip to Fort Robinson, is that the Soldier Creek Wilderness Area sits at the western boundary of the state park. And, the Nebraska National Forest has nearly a quarter million acres nearby. So hiking and climbing opportunities do not end at Fort Robinson.
Red TapeThe only Red Tape you will face, is needing a state park permit to park. Firearms are not allowed in the state park from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Hunting is allowed there, in season. So please be aware of those seasons when you hike there in fall, winter, and early spring.
Camping and LodgingThe state park not only has tent and RV campsites, but also has lodging available in the original officers quarters and enlisted men's barracks. You can make reservations, or get other information by calling:
Resource LinksTo get more information about Fort Robinson, click here:
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