Itinerary: Sandhill Cranes

Spend three days experiencing the incredible Sandhill Crane migration in North Platte!

Pro Tip

Maximize your time in North Platte by scheduling multiple viewing opportunities!

Plan your trip

You will be going nearly non-stop during your time in North Platte, so you’ll want to choose from North Platte’s selection of comfy and convenient hotels to insure great sleep during your downtime! Read more

Day 1

Start your day off right with coffee and breakfast from the Espresso Shop!
419 N. Dewey St., North Platte
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Highly rated by visitors and locals alike, the Espresso Shop is often described as a big city coffee house with small town friendliness. The unique selection of delicious breakfast and lunch items are combined with ah-maze-ing hand crafted coffees!

Tour the Prairie Arts Center
416 N. Jeffers St., North Platte
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The stunning Prairie Arts Center in downtown North Platte features multiple galleries filled with local and traveling exhibits. A feature attraction is the studio of acclaimed North Platte western artist Ted Long. Indulge your own inner creativity by scheduling a ‘make-and-take’ class in multiple mediums.

Be inspired by the inventiveness of the vendors at CR Rustic
413 N. Dewey St., North Platte
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CR Rustic is a Small Craft Vendor style Boutique located in downtown North Platte. They have everything from antiques, vintage, and repurposed furniture, to handmade items, boutique clothing and jewelry.

Stay downtown for lunch at Good Life on the Bricks
402 N. Dewey St., North Platte
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Good Life on the Bricks specializes in smoked meats, but in addition to the BBQ you’ll also find pizza, pasta, burgers, salads and vegan options all under one roof, all served up by a friendly and professional staff.

Get your first glimpse of the Sandhill Cranes with a bus tour with Dusty Trails through the loafing and feeding grounds
North Platte’s Dusty Trails is your host
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The 2+ hour tour will take you through the meadows and crop fields of rural Lincoln County where the Sandhill Cranes spend the bulk of their day. Here they will feed on waste grain and insects, but most of all they will dance! Scientists believe the dancing triggers hormones that will insure a successful nesting season and it strengthens the pair bonds. The bus provides an excellent elevated viewing platform, and your driver Dusty Barner will stop wherever large flocks of Cranes have congregated. The tour also includes educational information about the Sandhill Cranes, their time in the North Platte area and the migration. Book your tour online at Eventbrite.com.

Enjoy dinner at The Cedar Room
505 N. Dewey St., North Platte
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The Cedar Room has created the perfect reason for you to get dressed up and have a special day or evening out on the town! You will find a simple and sleek menu with something for everyone, whether your palate desires a juicy tender ribeye or exquisitely prepared fresh seafood from Honolulu. Needing a cocktail or upscale drink before your meal or just wanting to enjoy drinks with family or friends? Join the talented mixologist in our cedar-infused Cocktail Lounge, where you’ll get the perfect drink to tickle your fancy.

Finish the night in a Crane Viewing Blind on the North Platte River
North Platte’s Dusty Trails is your host
There is nothing quite like watching the sunset in a blind on the river next to a roost with thousands of Sandhill Cranes. They will leave their feeding and loafing grounds in the late afternoon, then as sunset nears, will make their way to the safety of the river to spend the night. As the sun sets their loud raucous calls will quiet to cooing and murmuring, with the occasional loud honk. Book all of your Dusty Trails adventures online.

Day 2

Start your morning early with a Dusty Trails trip to a Prairie Chicken lek
North Platte’s Dusty Trails is your host
In the spring the hearts of the Nebraska Greater Prairie Chickens turn toward love. To successfully attract a female mate, the male Prairie Chickens must impress them with their dancing prowess. Males will gather in large numbers on dancing grounds knowns as leks. They will cackle, jump and stomp their feet, sometimes scuffling with a rival. Then they will scrunch down and inflate their bright orange neck sacks and emit an eerie booming sound. Dusty will provide breakfast pastries, coffee and juice on the bus.

Pick out just the right souvenir to remember your visit at the Fort Cody Trading Post
221 Halligan Dr., North Platte
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Fort Cody Trading Post has been a landmark on the Nebraska prairie since 1963. A stop at Fort Cody is to many a step back into a more simple and gentle time. Be sure to take time to view Buffalo Bill’s Wild West in Miniature, with its 20,000 hand-carved figures. It is one of the largest single folk art displays in the country. You’ll also find an Old West Exhibit, filled with authentic pieces of historic cowboy gear and Buffalo Bill memorabilia.

Breakfast on the bus will have been a long time ago, so treat yourself to a hearty lunch at the Lincoln Highway Diner.
320 Rodeo Road and in the North Platte Regional Airport
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At either location of the Lincoln Highway Diner you’ll find comfort food at a fair price. They specialize in traditional homestyle fare and serve hearty portions. You can get all day breakfast with lunch and dinner.

North Platte is a railroad town, and you’ll get to experience all of our rail heritage at the Golden Spike Tower
1249 N. Homestead Rd., North Platte
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Take a ride up the elevator to the 7th floor open air observation deck to experience the sights and sounds of Union Pacific’s Bailey Yard, the largest rail yard in the world, or the 8th floor for fully enclosed climate-controlled viewing. Don’t forget a visit to the gift shop for the perfect rail-related souvenir.

Grain Bin Antique Town will be one of the most unique stops on your visit.
10641 South, Old Hwy 83 Rd, North Platte
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Grain Bin Antique Town is located in the beautiful hills south of North Platte where you’ll enjoy the surrounding beauty as much as your purchases. This unique shop began with re-locating and restoring 20 historic, wooden and octagon granaries. They have been stocking and filling them full of fantastic finds ever since.

You’ll be facing another early morning, so a delicious pizza and some hand-crafted local beer at Pal’s Brewing Company will be just the ticket for tonight.
4520 S Buffalo Bill Ave, North Platte
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Pal’s serves delicious hand crafted beers and an assortment of pizzas and hors d’ oeuvres in a fun atmosphere. The friendly staff will make sure that you ‘come in as strangers, leave as Pals.’

Day 3

It’s time to finish up your Sandhill Crane experience with a morning in the blind.
North Platte’s Dusty Trails will be your host
A roost is never completely quiet. In the morning as you arrive at the blind in the full dark, the cooing and murmuring of the Cranes will have continued unabated from the night before. As the dawn approaches, the noise and activity on the roost will rise to a crescendo. A few small groups will take wing until finally the air will reverberate with thousands of flapping wings as the entire roost rises to greet the day.

You deserve a hearty breakfast at the Lincoln Highway Diner
4520 E. Lee Bird Dr., (North Platte Regional Airport) North Platte
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The Lincoln Highway Diner specializes in a great selection of home-cooked meals and are known for their generous portions. Friendly staff and reasonable prices make it a great choice.

One more stop before you go at the 20th Century Veterans Memorial
2811 S Jeffers St, North Platte
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Visitors put North Platte’s 20th Century Veterans Memorial on a par with war memorials in Washington DC. The bas relief murals and the statues honoring all five branches of service plus homage to the North Platte Canteen are stunningly done.

Now you can return to your home maybe a bit tired, but rejuvenated by the spiritual experience of the Sandhill Crane migration and the Prairie Chicken mating dance. Once it’s in your blood, you’ll find a way to come back year after year. You will be welcome.