Steeped in Western history, Hitchcock County is in the former path of the Great Western Cattle Trail, where cowboys drove up huge herds from Texas. Trenton, pop. 560, is the county seat. Other communities are Culbertson, Palisade and Stratton.
The last large-scale battle between two Native American tribes in the United States occurred in 1873 at Massacre Canyon. The Massacre Canyon Monument and Visitor Center tells the story of the bloody clash and also displays the 1.3-million-year-old fossil of a rare, elephant-like stegomastodon. Three miles east of Trenton on U.S. Highway 34. (308) 334-5326.
Swanson Reservoir State Recreation Area is an all-season destination for anglers. Trophy-size pike lurk among submerged willows along the face of the dam, walleyes are large and numerous, as are white bass and other feisty fish species. The reservoir is a popular ice-fishing spot, too. All types of boats are allowed, and there is a designated swimming area. Hunters find pheasants, turkeys, mule deer and white-tailed deer on public and private land near the reservoir. 36166 Rd. 44B. (308) 334-5493.
The Stone Church, on Highway 17 and County Road 710, nine miles south of Culbertson, is on the National Register of Historic Places. Congregants quarried the stone seven miles away and built the church in 1900 by hand. Services discontinued in 1951, but the structure has been kept up for weddings and special events.
Beginning on the south end of Taylor Street in Culbertson is the Twin River Walking Trail, which follows Frenchman Creek through shady trees.
More info on Hitchcock County can be found at hitchcockcounty.ne.gov.