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From the Field: BACKPACKER trail scouts’ top Central local hikes

Try a 9-mile out-and-back in Ohio's Hemlock Gorge or hike through history in Per Marquette State Park or on the Saddle Rock Trail in Nebraska.

Saddle Rock Trail, Scotts Bluff NM, NE
Lesley Gaunt, Gering, NE

Ascend through 11 million years of geology on this 3.8-mile out-and-back to a sedimentary rock promontory that towers 800 feet above the Nebraska plains. “You get to see the sandstone, siltstone, and limestone layering close up,” Gaunt says. Just past mile one, enter a 100-foot, 1930s-era tunnel. From the bluff’s 4,659-foot summit, look west 100 miles (on a clear day) to 10,276-foot Laramie Peak. Combo with the .5-mile Mitchell Pass Trail (Trip ID 399005) to follow the path of 19th-century Oregon Trail pioneers. Trip ID 399003

“The whitish-gray layers in the rock are ash from ancient volcanoes as far away as Nevada.”

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