Tour groups cruising through the heart of Nebraska don’t have to stray far from the superhighway to get a taste of early life on the prairie. In fact, one attraction actually bridges Interstate 80.

Meandering 455 miles between Omaha and the Wyoming border, this transcontinental corridor follows the route taken by 19th century settlers in covered wagons as they trekked westward on the Oregon, California and Mormon trails.

Pony Express riders, stagecoaches, steam locomotives and automobile drivers on the Lincoln Highway (America’s first cross-country road) also followed the path, much of it paralleling the Platte River.

In the same pioneering spirit, today’s travelers can blaze their own trail across the Great Plains, sampling a number of historical places a short hop from I-80 exits.