The 260 mi (420 km) from South Dakota to Kansas encompass two distinct regions: typical Midwestern wheat and cattle ranches, and the fascinating grass-coated sand dunes of central Nebraska’s Sand Hills region.
Contrary to a popular belief inspired by the powerhouse college football Cornhuskers nickname, Nebraska isn’t mostly corn, but rather beef—lots and lots of it. US-83 passes by more cattle than it does people, with scant few communities along the way.
In the northern corner of the state there are trees, trees, and more trees, especially as you drop down from the scorched plains into the evergreen-studded Niobrara River Valley. Coming from South Dakota, your first stop south of the border is Valentine, then US-83 crosses the rolling Sand Hills region toward the railroad town of North Platte, former home of “Buffalo” Bill Cody. From North Platte, it’s a straight shot south to Kansas.