Hudson-Meng Education & Research Center

Summer 2024 Hours

Open Fridays and Saturdays 9am - 4:30pm Memorial through Labor Day Weekend.

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Located on the beautiful Oglala National Grassland in northwestern Nebraska, the Hudson-Meng Education and Research Center houses one of the most important paleo-archeological discoveries in North America. Visitors can tour the bonebed enclosure and discover the mysterious past of the Bison antiquus (extinct bison) that died here.

A rancher first brought attention to the bonebed in 1954. This started an ongoing quest to discover what caused the death of so many bison. Archeologists continue to research the exact nature of past events and the role that ancient Paleo-Indian people may have played in them. While theories are plentiful, there is still no clear answer to the mystery. The Hudson-Meng Education and Research Center’s Bison Bonebed Tour encourages visitors to develop their own ideas based on the evidence presented.

The Bison Trail connects the Hudson-Meng visitor center to Toadstool Geologic Park. This is an unforgettable three-mile (one way) hike across the Oglala Grassland. Toadstool Geologic Park is well-known for its unusual rock formations and fossils. The natural history dates as far back as 30 million years ago. The site is located in the shadow of Nebraska's picturesque Pine Ridge, overlooking the Oglala and Buffalo Gap National Grasslands and north to the Black Hills of South Dakota. 

If you make a discovery on a national grassland or national forest, make sure of its location and report it right away to the nearest Forest Service office. 

At a Glance

Usage: Medium-Heavy
Closest Towns: Crawford, Nebraska; Hot Springs, South Dakota
Water: Yes
Restroom: Yes
Information Center:
  • Pine Ridge Ranger District (308) 432-0300
  • Hudson-Meng Education & Research Center (308) 665-3900

General Information


From Hot Springs, South Dakota: Take Highway 71 south about 60 miles to Toadstool Road. Follow Toadstool Road and Sandcreek Road west about 15 miles.

From Crawford, Nebraska: From the intersection of Highway 20, take Highway 2 north for 5 miles to Toadstool Road.  Follow Toadstool Road and Sandcreek Road west about 15 miles. 

General Notes:

Hudson-Meng Education and Research Center interpretive exhibit. 

  • Review history of research at the center.

Hudson-Meng Education and Research Center interpretive exhibit.

Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information


Day Hiking

Bison Trail to Toadstool is 3 miles.

Difficulty Level: Easy to More Difficult

Interpretive Areas

Visitor Centers

A visit to Hudson-Meng Education and Research Center is a visit to a modern archeological excavation of a bison bone bed in progress. Interpretive exhibits and guided tours help you to understand why this is such an important discovery.

Difficulty Level: Easy

Related Information

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities


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