20 Best Photography Spots in Nebraska – Photo Guide
Nebraska is a state in the middle of the United States. It has the prairies of the Great Plains, the tall dunes of the Sandhills, and the dramatic rock formations of the panhandle. Lincoln is the state capital and a lively college town. It is known for its tall state capitol. In a building that used to be a train station, the Durham Museum in Omaha tells the story of the state’s early settlers.
Nebraska has a lot more to offer than corn fields and flat plains, and you might be surprised by how beautiful it is out in the field. Here are some of the best photography spots in Nebraska for nature and landscape photography.
BEST GEAR TO PHOTOGRAPH NEBRASKA
- For sharp images with depth, you need the holy trinity of lenses: telephoto, 24-70mm, and 70-200mm.
- Tripods make it much easier to take steady shots than if you just used your hands.
1. Agate Fossil Beds National Monument, Whistle Creek
The Agate Fossil Beds National Monument is a national monument in the United States that is located in the northwest corner of Nebraska. It is home to an extensive collection of fossils that date back to the Miocene period. The Niobrara River valley and the fossils that can be discovered on Carnegie Hill and University Hill are the primary attractions at this national monument and are one of the best photography spots in Nebraska. The vast majority of this area is made up of grassy plains. Agate is home to the fossilized remains of mammals that date back one million years, and the buttes that dot the Great Plains make for stunning photographic subjects. Both the Daemonelix Trail, which is a mile long, and the Fossil Hills Trail, which is wheelchair accessible, are available for guests to use while exploring the area.
2. Cowboy Trail
The Cowboy Trail is one of the nation’s longest rail trails and was formerly a railroad line that runs across the northern half of Nebraska. It is also one of the longest rail-trails in the nation. It is a recreational trail that may be used for a variety of activities, including walking, cycling, and even horseback riding.
Cowboy Trail is located in a corridor that was formerly used by the Chicago and North Western Railways. The path currently extends for more than 200 miles but is still in the process of being developed; another 100 miles are currently under construction. The trail travels across the agricultural landscape of Nebraska before entering the Great Plains. A pedestrian bridge that is 148 feet high and spans the Niobrara River is a highlight of the path and one of the best photography spots in Nebraska.
3. Platte River Valley
In the month of March, almost one million sandhill cranes make their way to the Platte River Valley in Nebraska to relax and replenish before going on with their migration. This mass migration creates an opportunity for some of the most spectacular wildlife and is one of the best photography spots in Nebraska. You may see the cranes at sunset as they make their way back to the river to spend the night there, or you can listen to the sound of thousands of birds rising up for the day as the sun rises. The early morning hours are typically the greatest time to watch the most sandhill cranes, and there are a number of businesses that rent out viewing blinds so that visitors may have a better look. It is recommended that you bring some binoculars in addition to a camera on your trip.
4. Scotts Bluff National Monument, Gering
In the western part of Nebraska in the United States, the Scotts Bluff National Monument can be found to the west of the city of Gering. Over 3,000 acres of historic overland trail remnants, mixed-grass prairie, rugged badlands, towering bluffs, and riparian area along the North Platte River are preserved at this National Park Service site.
The breathtaking natural scenery of Scotts Bluff National Monument has made it one of the best photography spots in Nebraska. The harsh sandstone cliffs that make up the monument are both dramatic and attractive, especially when contrasted with the beds of wildflowers that color the area during the summer. Spend an afternoon visiting Scotts Bluff National Monument’s countless photographic opportunities. Take advantage of the golden light by shooting during the hours just before sunrise and after sunset for the greatest results.
5. Chadron State Park, Chadron
Chadron State Park is a public recreation area that may be found inside the Nebraska National Forest, nine miles south of Chadron, Nebraska, in the most northwestern part of the state of Nebraska. Chadron Creek and a part of the Pine Ridge escarpment are included in the 974 acres that make up the park. At Chadron, two of the most well-liked things to do are to go on a hike or ride a bike. The park’s six miles of trails link to the Nebraska National Forest which is immediately adjacent to the park. In the Nebraska National Forest, there are hundreds of miles of trails that are open to anyone who likes to hike, ride bikes, and ride horses.
Because of the wide variety of plants and animals that can be found there, Chadron State Park is considered to be one of the best places in Nebraska for photographers to showcase their art. Are you in the mood to take photographs of expansive views and intricate details? Go up high along the ridge lines of the park. Bring your tripod and telephoto lens, too, because this beautiful landscape gives you a lot of chances to explore the extremes of light and shadow.
6. Chimney Rock Nebraska
Chimney Rock should be on every list of places to take pictures in Nebraska, it is one of the best photography spots in Nebraska located in Morrill County and just minutes from the charming town of Gering. Chimney Rock is on the Nebraska state quarter and is a symbol of the first people who moved west. This spire gives off a warm glow at both sunrise and sunset, and in the spring, the fields around it are a beautiful shade of green. At this spot, there isn’t a bad view from close up, far away, or above.
7. Sandhills Journey Scenic Byway
The Sandhills Journey Scenic Byway is a route that runs for 272 miles through the most distinctive landscape in Nebraska. This route offers some of the state’s most breathtaking panoramas and is one of the best photography spots in Nebraska, making it an excellent option for photographers and even travelers who wish to take in the state’s distinctively lovely scenery. This gorgeous byway also provides access to a variety of outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, hunting, and astronomy. Nebraska’s grassy sandhills are unique to the state, and all 13 million acres make for a beautiful view.
Carhenge is a full-scale replica of Stonehenge, located just northwest of Alliance, Nebraska. It was built in 1987 by Jim Reinders, who made it as a tribute to his father and other family members who served in World War II. Carhenge is one of the best photography spots in Nebraska, but has gained a lot of popularity over the years. Its uniqueness and ease to access make it a must see if you are in the area.
9. State Capitol, Lincoln
The State Capitol building in Lincoln is known as one of the best photography spots in Nebraska. The building, which is now a national historic landmark, was put up between the years 1922 and 1932 in four separate stages. It was the first state capitol building in the United States that was designed in a vernacular style, according to historians and architects. The majestic structure has a domed tower that is four hundred feet tall and a low spreading base that has artwork portraying the natural, social, and political growth of the state of Nebraska. Both the exterior and interior of the building can be seen from a great distance. Today, the building that serves as the nation’s capital is situated on meticulously maintained grounds, making it simple to take pictures of the exquisite design that went into the structure. A guided tour of the State Capitol allows guests the opportunity to experience the building’s elaborate interior.
10. DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge
The refuge serves as a safe haven for a variety of animals, particularly migrating birds. Visitors to the refuge can do many things, like taking pictures of the animals and going hiking. Spring and fall are the ideal times to photograph birds in flight, but winter is often considered to be the best season for photographing bald eagles. Visitors will be able to see wildlife and beautiful scenery as they drive along a paved tour route. They will also be able to see DeSoto Lake through windows that can be heated or cooled.
It doesn’t matter if you’re an experienced photographer or if you’re just searching for a special place to soak in the views and sounds of the surrounding area. The DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge is the ideal location because it is considered to be one of the best photography spots in Nebraska. The park, which is situated close to the Missouri River, gives visitors a number of options for getting out into nature, such as hiking, biking, and canoeing.
11. Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge, Omaha
The Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge is the first walking bridge to unite two states. It spans the Missouri River and is an impressive 3,000 feet in length. It provides people with a breathtaking sight of Omaha’s skyline and the sensation of being quite airborne. This eye-catching bridge is undoubtedly one of the best photography spots in Nebraska. On the other side, the Heartland of America Park and the Old Market section of Omaha, which is close to the park, offer more photographs that could go on a postcard of Nebraska.
12. Toadstool Geologic Park, Harrison
The Nebraska badlands are featured in Toadstool Geologic Park. This park is home to lava formations and strange geological formations that have changed over millions of years, and it features everything from bizarre rock formations and towering stacks to gigantic stones. Trails for trekking places to pitch a tent, and a fishing pond make this an ideal destination for an enjoyable day trip or an exciting overnight excursion. The presence of camping within the park gives the possibility of taking photographs of breathtaking sunsets. To find some of the best photography spots in Nebraska, take a trip to the Toadstool Geologic Park.
13. Courthouse and Jail Rocks, West Camp Clarke
Courthouse and Jail Rocks is a tall sandstone formation that rises from the plains in western Nebraska. The red ledge is widely thought to be one of the best photography spots in Nebraska because it offers stunning views of the surrounding landscape. Climbing up the rocks is a fun activity for hikers, but be careful because they are very steep. Even though mobility is easier now than it was in the past, the 200-foot-tall Courthouse and Jail Rocks continue to attract tourists and curious photographers from all over the region. Chimney Rock is another landmark that may be seen on the horizon, and it is located twenty miles to the west of Courthouse and Jail Rocks.
14. Sunken Gardens, Lincoln
The Sunken Gardens in Lincoln, which were last renovated in 2004, are a lovely natural place in the city that serves as the state capital. Over 30,000 distinct plant species are represented in the facility’s Annual Garden, which is designed in accordance with a distinct motif each year. Other natural places include a Healing Garden that is entirely white and a collection of perennial plants that is continually expanding. This public location, which is great for picture shoots, does not charge entry.
Discover the rich history of Nebraska while taking in the exquisite ambiance of the Sunken Gardens located within the Durham Museum in Lincoln. In addition to being one of the best photography spots in Nebraska, it is also a great place for nature walks and picnics with the family.
15. Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo, Omaha
Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo is one of the best photography spots in Nebraska and is known all over the world for the extensive animal exhibits that it houses. It features a number of unique exhibits, including the world’s largest indoor desert, an orangutan forest, and African grasslands. Stingray Beach and a wildlife carousel are two examples of interactive attractions that can be found at the zoo.
Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo provides guests with the one-of-a-kind opportunity to connect with nature and engage in hands-on activities with animals from all over the world. Featuring approximately 4,000 animals on more than 225 acres, such as rare white lions from South Africa, giant pandas from China, and endangered species such as golden lion tamarins and giant anteaters. Some of the creatures featured here include giant pandas, white lions, and golden lion tamarins.
16. Fort Robinson State Park, Crawford
Fort Robinson State Park is a great place to go for both tourists and photographers. It is in the far northwest corner of Nebraska. The area around the park has a lot of history, and many of the buildings that were there when the park was first built in 1878 have been kept. It is considered to be one of the best photography spots in Nebraska because the landscape around the old fort, which is mostly made up of cliffs and pine trees, provides a scenic view. Exploring this area’s remoteness is like going back in time a few hundred years; it makes you feel like you are there at the time. The evening is a good time to enjoy the cool breeze and keep an eye out for bighorn sheep.
17. Ponca State Park, Ponca
Ponca State Park (PSP) is one of the best photography spots in Nebraska. It is in the northeast corner of the state, on the bluffs of the Missouri River. The park’s motto is “Where People and Nature Meet,” which sums up what Ponca State Park stands for. PSP is one of Nebraska’s eight state parks. It strives to be a beautiful place to learn about nature and a fun place to visit, play, and stay.
Ponca State Park has lots of things to do and a lot of places to stay. There are conference rooms you can rent for any event, like a family reunion or a wedding reception. At PSP, you can do things like swim in a pool, go horseback riding, and kayaking, and take part in many activities led by naturalists. Spring, summer, and fall are all great times to drive through the park and look at the scenery, flowers, and wildlife.
18. Oglala National Grassland
The Oglala National Grassland can be found in the most remote part of Nebraska’s northwestern corner. Grazing cattle is one of the most important uses of the land, and it has rangeland that is perfect for raising cattle. The grassland is one of the hunting areas in the state due to the abundance of pronghorns, which can be found there. Deer, wild turkeys, grouse, foxes, burrowing owls, and prairie dogs are some of the other animals that live in this area. Ponds not only offer fishing opportunities but also serve as a habitat for waterfowl. The National Grasslands Visitor Center is located in Wall, South Dakota, and it offers displays of the history, as well as the plants and animals, of the grassland.
The Oglala National Grassland is one of the best photography spots in Nebraska for breathtaking sunsets and picture-perfect vistas of the Badlands. It is also an excellent spot to explore nature because it offers a seemingly unlimited number of trekking alternatives and opportunities to watch wildlife. If you are daring enough to visit during the winter, you may even get to see some elk!
19. Niobrara National Scenic River
In north-central Nebraska, 76 miles of the Niobrara River are part of the Niobrara National Scenic River. The Niobrara National Scenic River is a true national treasure. It has some of the best river activities and is one of the best photography spots in Nebraska. This river is unique because it has amazing cliffs, rock formations, waterfalls, a wide range of plants and animals, fossils from long ago, high-quality water, and a steady flow from the High Plains Aquifer. All of these things make Niobrara a beautiful and memorable place to visit.
20. McConaughy Lake
On the North Platte River is where you’ll find the reservoir known as McConaughy Lake. It is situated 9 miles to the north of Ogallala, Nebraska, in the United States, close to the intersection of Nebraska Highway 61 and U.S. Highway 26. During the warm summer months, the lake provides a picture-perfect setting for a variety of water sports, including water skiing, boating, and swimming. You may go ice fishing or cross-country skiing along hundreds and miles of paths throughout the winter months. This reservoir is located to the east of Benkelman in the northern part of Nebraska, and it features miles of gorgeous shoreline that includes hills and forests along the route. McConaughy Lake is one of the best photography spots in Nebraska.
THESE ARE THE LIST OF THE BEST PHOTOGRAPHY SPOTS IN NEBRASKA
If you are ready to explore Nebraska photography and take stunning photos, try visiting some of the best photography places in Nebraska. Just see the list of top places mentioned below. You can get a feel of beauty in Nebraska which will pep you up for a long time ahead. So, what are you waiting for? Pack your bags and explore the beauty of this place!
We hope this photo guide has been helpful and that you have enjoyed your virtual exploration of the best spots for photography in Nebraska. If you have any suggestions for other top locations for landscape or wildlife photography, please leave a comment below!