On Feb. 16, the Federal Highway Administration announced that the Lincoln Highway Scenic and Historic Byway was awarded a National Scenic Byway Designation.

Nebraska’s Sandhills Journey Scenic Byway (Neb. Highway 2) also received the designation.

Along with increased awareness, the two byways will be featured in a commemorative 2021 National Scenic Byways Program Designations Booklet and added to the America’s Byways website.

The new National Byway status will help promote road trips, which are becoming more popular due to the pandemic, said Nebraska Tourism executive director John Ricks.

The Lincoln Highway Scenic and Historic Byway stretches 450 miles along U.S. Highway 30, border-to-border across the state.

The Lincoln Highway was America’s first transcontinental highway and followed closely the historic transportation route of the “Great Platte River Road” that began with early Native Americans, fur trappers and traders, westward migration routes, the Pony Express and Union Pacific Railroad.

The Sandhills Journey Scenic Byway runs 272 miles along Nebraska Highway 2 from Grand Island to Alliance, following rolling Nebraska Sandhills atop the Ogallala Aquifer, the nation’s largest underground water supply.

World-class natural wonders are found along the route, including dark skies perfect for stargazing, the Nebraska National Forest and the sandhill crane migration each spring.

The 2021 Nebraska State Travel Guide features all nine of Nebraska’s scenic byways, as well as small-town highlights and unique stops along the way.

In the past, the byways were awarded Nebraska Tourism grant dollars for marketing efforts and had stops featured on the Nebraska Passport program.

For more information on Nebraska’s scenic byways, order a travel guide here or go to https://visitnebraska.com/scenic-byways.

Top photo: The Lincoln Highway / US 30 through Sutherland.