Panorama Point, Nebraska (5,424
Having successfully climbed all of the 14,000 foot peaks
in Colorado, I felt that I was ready for a real challenge. So, I set out
to climb the highest mountain in all of Nebraska with my wife Kenna. Unfortunately,
we were destined to encounter unexpected obstacles on our expedition.
On a cool, dry Sunday in December, we drove to the Tri-Corner
Monument where the borders of Colorado, Wyoming, and Nebraska meet. After
driving north from Denver and east from Cheyenne, we took Exit 401 from
Interstate 70 in the town of Pine Bluffs, Wyoming. I thought the namesake
pine bluffs south of town were the most picturesque feature of our journey.
Just north of the interstate, we turned right (east) on
8th Street for 0.6 miles to Beech Street. We headed south on
Beech Street (County Road 203) for 12 miles to the Colorado-Wyoming state
line. We left the pavement here, turning left on a farm road. This road
was deeply rutted, so we drove on a faint track next to it. The road passed
a windmill and reached the stone Tri-State Monument 0.7 miles from the
Kenna Berry at the Tri-Corner Monument
We parked in Colorado, walked all the way to Wyoming,
and then headed east-northeast into the Nebraskan outback. We passed a
small watering hole and soon reached the approximate point where my 10
year old guidebook indicated that we should cross an east-west fence line.
We felt uneasy about climbing over this barbed wire fence into a farmer's
fields, so we headed east across desolate prairie land on the south side
of the fence line.
There was a herd of bison on the next plot of land north
of the fence line. We definitely didn't want to intrude on the territory
of these enormous beasts, so we continued on our eastbound route. After
traversing about a mile to the east, we reached a dead end at a fence corner.
The road north to Panorama Point was directly across the fence, but a sign
was posted here, advising that hiking and bike riding are now prohibited
on the other side due to the new bison ranch.
We trekked back to the car and used the standard drive-up
route for Panorama Point. We found that it is still open to the public,
by car only, with a self-service fee of $1 per person. The road was deeply
rutted, so we straddled it with our low-clearance car. A four-wheel drive
vehicle or high-clearance vehicle would be helpful here.
Kenna Berry and Gary Swing at Panorma Point
We drove right up to the stone monument at the highpoint.
It was situated atop a small rise with extensive views of the prairie.
We stepped out of the car for a few minutes to take pictures and sign the
summit register before heading back home.
Getting to Panorama Point: take exit 401 from Interstate 80 in Pine Bluffs, Wyoming. Just north of the interstate, take 8th Street east for 0.6 miles to Beech Street. Turn right here and drive south about 9.2 miles to a gravel road on the left (County Road 203). Turn left here. The road bears right at 0.7 miles, becoming southbound County Road 1 for 0.6 miles, and then turns east for 2 miles as County Road 6. Turn right on County Road 5, passing a farm house on the right in 1.4 miles, and then turn right (west) on a dirt road marked with a sign for Panorama Point. Pay your fee here and drive the final 1.3 miles to the summit.