Located smack-dab in the center of the United States, Nebraska is reputedly one of the flattest states in the country. Nebraska has a population of just under two million people, many of whom live in Lincoln and Omaha. Sprawling over an astounding 77,000-odd square miles, Nebraska is actually split between two time zones. Much of the eastern two-thirds of the state stays hot and humid for most of the year. However, the westernmost corners of Nebraska trend more towards cold and dry, or subtropical and humid. Much of the state is flat, but, just where is the highest point in Nebraska?
Join us as we learn more about Nebraska’s highest point. We’ll discover where it is, how high it is, and how it compares with the rest of the state. We’ll also find out just what there is to do at the highest point in Nebraska, and how to get there.
Keep reading to find out more about the topography of Nebraska!
The Highest Spot in Nebraska
The highest point in Nebraska is actually 5,424 feet (1,655 meters) above sea level. Panorama Point lies in Kimball County, in the extreme southwest corner of Nebraska. This midwestern state is made up entirely of High Plains, known as the Great Plains, and the Dissected Till Plains. Panorama point is very close to the Three-State Marker, where Nebraska, Colorado, and Wyoming meet.
What About the Rest of Nebraska?
The topography of Nebraska can be defined as a gentle, uninterrupted slope, with the lowest point in the state being the eastern border. In fact, the eastern third of the state is entirely under 1,200 feet in elevation. Nebraska’s middle third gently rises to between 1,800 and 3,000 feet. Most of the western third of the state lies between 3,000 and 4,500 feet. The lone exceptions to these low elevations lie in the state’s western boundary. Here, where the highest point in Nebraska rests, elevations average over 4,500 feet above sea level.
So, since the surrounding area is nearly as high in elevation as the highest point, Panorama Point doesn’t look much like a mountain. In fact, the view from Panorama point showcases the wide open sky, and gentle fields of grass, more than anything else. Most prominent on the horizon are the numerous wind farms, interspersed with miles and miles of featureless prairie.
How Do You Get to Panorama Point?
Interestingly, Panorama Point is actually located on private property. However, there is public access, so long as you maintain respect and obey the rules. Your first stop in visiting the highest point in Nebraska should be the High Point Welcome Center, which can be accessed from Exit 20 off I-80. Visitors should stop at the property’s gated entrance and deposit their admission fee. From there, a graveled road will take you to the Panorama Point stone marker.
Kimball is the nearest town focal point to Panorama Point, it’s also the location of the High Point Welcome Center. If you’re planning to visit Nebraska’s highest point, then you’ll almost certainly get to pass through this historic midwest town.
What Can You Do at Nebraska’s High Point?
Given that the highest point in Nebraska is located on private land, there’s not much to do there other than take in the views and commemorate your experience with some photos. However, Panorama Point isn’t far from the CO-NE-WY Tri-State Marker. This monument marks the spot where Nebraska meets Wyoming in the west, and Colorado in the south. So, if you’ve ever wanted to try standing in three states at once, this Nebraska sight is a must-visit.
Panorama Point might seem a little boring by mountaineering standards, but there’s something to be said for taking in the wide-open plains. During your visit, don’t forget that you stand at the foot of the Rocky Mountains. Also, and perhaps a little more exciting, you’re likely to see buffalo wandering the surrounding farmlands. Don’t worry: they’re not dangerous, as long as you don’t approach or harass them in any way. If a buffalo happens to approach within 50 feet, get in your car.
Nebraska’s Five Highest Points
The highest points in Nebraska all lie in the western half of the state. The second highest point in the state, located in Banner County, is Banner County High Point, at 5,340 feet. The third highest point in the state is Kennedy Benchmark, in Sioux County, with an elevation of 5,255 feet. The fourth and fifth highest points in Nebraska are very close in elevation. Wildcat Hills, in Scotts Bluff County, comes in fourth with an elevation of 4,940 feet. Finally, the fifth highest point in Nebraska is Dawes County High Point, which is, unsurprisingly, in Dawes County, with an elevation of 4,820 feet.