America's Scenic Byways

Outlaw Trail

238 miles - 7 hours

The wild west era where famous outlaws, horse thieves, lynch mobs, and lawmen ruled this area is past. Today along the Outlaw Trail (Nebraska Highway 12), you'll be greeted only by friendly folks and big smiles as well as plenty of quiet hideaways.

Extending from the metropolitan area of South Sioux City to the "Old West" in Valentine, the Outlaw Trail Byway meanders alongside the Niobrara and Missouri Rivers where steep bluffs and tree-shrouded slopes give way to lush, rolling green hills. The deep canyons and ample tree cover surrounding Devil's Nest created a meeting point and hideout area for Jesse James and his gang. On the western end of the byway, verdant farmland graduates into the wide open spaces of ranching country and the massive Sandhills region of Nebraska.

Captain Meriwether Lewis and Lieutenant William Clark's Corps of Discovery Expedition was the nation's epic exploration of the American West in 1804-06. This 8,000-mile excursion up the Missouri River to the Pacific Ocean navigated through this area. Documented sites from their journey still can be seen here today. The "Nebraska Everglades," a region that borders two national rivers and several lakes, is full of outdoor recreational opportunities.

Following the Outlaw Trail takes you through the Santee Sioux Reservation, which is home to 750 tribal members. This region is known for its friendly people, small towns, and immense landscapes. If you are respectable folks who are craving scenic beauty or wishing to explore this region's colorful history, then the Outlaw Trail is a route you shouldn't miss.