Sandhill Crane Public Viewing Locations

Sunrise and sunset are prime viewing times on the river. During the day, the cranes are in the fields eating, “fueling up” to continue their journey north.

Fort Kearny State Recreation Area Hike/Bike Bridge

The Fort Kearny Hike/Bike Bridge spans over the Platte River, making it the perfect spot for sunrise or sunset viewing. It’s about a 300 yard walk from the parking area. Camping and other wildlife opportunities are also available. This old railroad bridge is part of the Kearney Trail System, connecting Fort Kearny to Cottonmill Park, a distance of 13.1 miles.

You will need a Nebraska State Park Permit to park here, which can be purchased at the Fort Kearny Visitors Center.

1020 V Road, Kearney

Fort Kearny State Historical Park & Visitor Center


Make sure to stop at the Fort Kearny Visitors Center before you find your perfect crane-viewing spot. An 18-minute educational video is available to view, as well as helpful staff to answer any questions and direct you to where you need to go.

*You can buy a Nebraska State Park Permit here*

1020 V Road, Kearney

Hours During Crane Season:
March 2 – April 7
9:00am – 5:00pm

Plautz Viewing Platform

With convenient access off Interstate 80, this area south of Exit 285 (Gibbon) provides a safe platform for spectacular views of cranes, herons, egrets, pelicans, and many other birds.  CPNRD has crane and waterfowl viewing decks along the Platte River with free parking

1.5 miles south  of 1-80 Exit 285 (Gibbon)


Windmill State Park

Situated at the Gibbon Interchange 14 miles east of Kearney, the area draws its name from the old-time windmills in the park. The oldest windmill is a 1880 Standard that was used to pump water for steam locomotives in Fleming, Colo. All have been restored to working order.

2625 Lowell Rd Gibbon, NE 68840

(308) 468-5700