About the Forest

A group of riders wind their way through the canyon landscape

I didn't know there were forests in Nebraska. 

The Nebraska National Forests & Grasslands encompass nearly 1.1 million acres of the Great Plains of Nebraska South Dakota.

  • Nebraska National Forest is split between the pine ridge near Chadron and the hand-planted forest near Halsey.
  • Samuel R. McKelvie National Forest has some hand-planted forest but remains mostly mixed-grass prairie.
  • Oglala National Grassland is in Nebraska's panhandle.
  • Buffalo Gap National Grassland is in southwestern South Dakota.
  • Fort Pierre National Grassland is in central South Dakota.

A single person stands near a watering hole at sunset

What's to see there?

  • Bessey Tree Nursery, the oldest federal tree nursery and listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
  • Toadstool Geological Park, one of the few areas in the world exposing fossil trackways of the Oligocene Epoch.
  • Hudson-Meng Education and Research Center, internationally known for its bison bone beds.
  • National Grasslands Visitor Center, which represents the nation's 21 national grasslands, has displays on wildlife, Great Plains history, grazing, human artifacts, grassland ecosystems and more. For visitors looking to get a taste of a grassland ecosystem, stop by the unique Living Landscape that showcases native prairie grasses, shrubs, and wildflowers.


National Grassland Visitor Center building