Our epic journey started out with a short drive south from Rapid City, SD to Ft Robinson, NE. We stopped along the way for lunch at a pizza place outside of Hermosa, SD along Highway 79 called Lintz Brothers Pizza. We highly recommend it.
About an hour later, we arrived at Ft Robinson. Fort Robinson is Nebraska’s largest state park. It was an active military post from 1878 to 1948. It was established as a post-Civil War Indian Agency Protective Post. During its long military history, Ft Robinson was the site of several notable events. In 1877, Sioux warrior Crazy Horse died in the Adjutant’s Office after being mortally wounded at the Guardhouse. In 1879 a band of Northern Cheyenne, in fear of being sent back to Indian Territory in Oklahoma tried to escape the log barracks where they were being housed. Known as the Cheyenne Outbreak, this event was one of the last battles of the Indian Wars.
Guard House and Adjutant Office (L to R)
The post also served as home to the Army’s 8th (1907-1910) and 12th (1910-1916) Cavalry Regiments. During WWII a POW Camp was established nearby to house German prisoners.
These days with its 22,000 acres, Ft Robinson State Park provides a wonderful location to experience outdoor activities for the family. There is an indoor swimming pool with a much loved diving board that the kids can’t get enough of. Long and short horse trail rides are a great way to see the beautiful scenery in the area. If you are a little hesitant to hop on a horse, you can climb into an open jeep for a fantastic ride. Horse-drawn tours are also available, which provide a history lesson of the fort. Stagecoach and pony rides are also available. The fort has several wonderful museums both natural history and military history. Ofcourse you will want to eat so be sure to dine at the lodge and if you are feeling adventurous, chuck wagon and hayrack steak cookouts are provided as well.
Lodging is in the form of single rooms in the 1909 Enlisted Men’s Barracks and various stand-alone/duplex Officer’s Quarters dating from 1874 to 1909. Camping is probably the best way to experience Ft. Robinson. The campgrounds are well situated even if a little close to the main road at times. There are full hookup sites, sites with just electric and tent sites. Several vault toilets are provided as well as a shower house.
The Lodge (1909 Enlisted Men’s Barracks)
1909 Officer Quarters
1887 Officer Quarters
We camped at Ft Robinson for 3 nights and the weather wasn’t ideal this year. It rained every day with temperatures in the upper 50’s during the day and mid 40’s at night. Forty degrees at night is my low limit while camping. The problem is having to crawl out of bed in the morning. Camping can start not being fun at that temperature. A hard sided camper with a furnace and plenty of power to run it is a very nice thing to have.
The campground like most are very user friendly for families. The kids were reacquainted with their long distance friends who they met three years ago on a previous trip to Ft Robinson. They rode bikes all over, played in the creek and roasted marshmallows at night.
As always, we have enjoyed our annul stay at Ft Robinson. Even with the rain, there is plenty to do and things to see.
Next we will be heading south towards Scottsbluff then Kimball, NE. We will them venture through Wyoming on our way to Colorado.
Driving Through West Nebraska Near Scottsbluff