NEBRASKA STATE PARKS
2200 N. 33rd Street
P.O. Box 30370
Lincoln, NE 68503-0370
800/826-Park to leave a message for reservations
There are many fine cabins for rent to the adventurous traveler in this wide-open prairie state. Most cabins require advance reservations, with a 2-night minimum. If you like unusual accommodations, try a teepee at Platte River Parklands, a gold-painted caboose at Two Rivers State Park, or a room in the brick Officer’s Quarters at Fort Robinson State Park.
Reservations - Taken on a first-come, first-served basis, up to one year in advance. An advance deposit for 2 nights lodging is required, except at Fort Robinson, where a 3-night deposit is required until March 1 of the reservation year. Groups may qualify for a 25% advanced deposit. Not send payment with your reservation request. Deposits must be paid within 10 days of receipt of the reservation confirmation and cannot be refunded for cancellation or failure to appear. No one-night reservations accepted, but units may be rented for one night on a first-come, first served basis. Check in is 4 pm and check-out is 11 am, unless other arrangements are made with the park office.
The Cowboy State Recreation and Mature Trail
Sections of this 320 mile trail across northern Nebraska are now open to day use for hiking, horseback riding and cross-country skiing. No motorized vehicles allowed. Individual Trail Passes are $10 annual and $2 daily. Development will continue on various portions of the trail or some time. For information call 402/376-1306.
A valid Nebraska Park Permit is required for all motor vehicles entering the parks.
CHADRON STATE PARK
15951 Highway 385
Chadron, NE 69337-7353
This park is in the Nebraska Panhandle. in Old West Trail Country, and features an activities center, trading post and interpretive center. The park once was a key area for fur traders. For a taste of the Old West, in the summer months make reservations at the park office for the Trapper’s Stew Cookout. The menu includes stew, cornbread, coffee, and swamp water. After dinner there is a mountain man sing-along and an evening campfire film program (no reservations are needed for the film). Other activities of the park include paddleboat rentals, hiking, and trail rides, swimming pool, and fishing in Chadron Creek.
The park offers 16 2-bedroom housekeeping cabins; each equipped with 2 double beds. There are also 6 housekeeping units at the multi-use facility with single beds. Cabins are complete with stoves, refrigerators, utensils and service for 6.
Rates and reservations: Lodging season is from Mid-April through late November, by mail, phone, or in person during office hours. Rates are between %50-$60 per night. The group facility dorm and central building rent for $320 per day, or the central building alone at $75 per day, with kitchen $150 daily. If using the cabins $50 a night each. Extra beds or rollaways $5 each. Picnic shelter $25 daily. Horseback riding $10 per ride. Swimming $4 adults, $2 for children. Jeep rides $6 adults, $4 child. Paddleboat rental $4 per half-hour.
EUGENE T. MAHONEY STATE PARK
28500 W Park Highway
Ashland, NE 68003-3508
402/944-2523 Fax: 402/944-7604
The lodging season is year around at the park. Reservations by mail, phone or in person during office hours.
Modern Housekeeping cabins are standard two-bedroom, sleeping 4 renting for $80, or 6 - $90 per night. Camping is $13 nightly. Treetop and Deluxe 2-berooms sleep 5-6 for $100 night. Deluxe 4 bedroom sleeps 8 at $210 per night. Extra beds or crib or rollaway only $5 each.
There are 24 standard rooms in the lodge, all with 2 queen beds. The park view rooms rent for $55 a night, River views - $60, and the 16 loft rooms offer 2 queen beds and are $70 park view and $75 river views.
The group conference Facilities are on the upper level of the lodge. The Nebraska Room is $110, the Red Oak and Cedar rooms $55, The Sandstedt Platte Room $40, lower lodge conference rooms are $30 each, the Riverview Lodge with kitchen is $250. The Kountze Theater is $200.
There are nominal fees on all activities at the park, including canoeing, horseback riding, miniature golf, driving range, recreational equipment, firewood, swimming pool with slide and picnic shelters.
FORT ROBINSON STATE PARK
P.O. Box 392
Crawford, NE 69339-0392
308/665-2900 Fax: 308/665-2906
This park features a fort, which was established after the Civil War, and remained active until after W.W.II. The last great gathering of the Sioux nation was here, and this is where Crazy Horse, greatest chief of the Sioux, was murdered. The fort was used as a prisoner of war camp in W.W.II. Today, it is the home of the world’s largest Quartermaster Remount Depot and Olympic equestrian training grounds. You must take an interpretive tour of the fort; plan to stay several days.
Tour the rest of the 22,000 acre park to see the buffalo and wild sheep herds. Other activities at the park include horseback trails in the butte country, jeep rides into the high country, buffalo stew cookouts, stagecoach rides, train rides, campfire programs, Trailside Museum, boating and fishing at Carter P. Johnson Lake, trout fishing in Soldiers’ Creek, backpacking, and rodeos. Evening melodramas and comedies are presented at the Post Playhouse. The park offers lodging in several categories; make reservations after Jan. 1. Lodging facilities are open from mid-May through the first week in Sept., and then they are briefly open during deer hunting season in November, and turkey hunting season in the spring. This panhandle park is often under-utilized.
There are 2, 3, and 4-bedroom cabins, all fully equipped with kitchen, stove, refrigerators, and showers, with heat, and utensils and linen provided. These cabins rent from $37 to $58 per night, sleeping from 6-10 persons maximum. For unusual accommodations stay at either the 5, 7, 8, or 9-bedroom units in the brick Officer’s Quarters. These quarters are the original fort accommodations for the officers, and offer full facilities, with centralized kitchen, refrigerator, stove, some with tub/showers, some with 2 1/2 or 3 baths, with all linen and utensils provided. The quarters are rented from $69 for the 5-room quarters, sleeping 12; $101 for the 7-room, sleeping 16; $117 for the 8 room, sleeping 18; and $128 for the 9 room, sleeping 20; all utensils furnished. Rent by the day or week.
Lodging season is from April to late November. Camping is $7 per night; electric hookup is $3. Reservations by mail, phone or in person during office hours.
Cabins: There are 10 two-bedroom cabins, renting for $60 a night, 3-bedroom at $70 a night and 4-bedroom $80 a night. A 5-beroom cabin runs $90 a night. The Bandmaster Quarters rent for $70, and has 2 bedrooms. The Lodge rooms are $30 for a double bed, $35 for 2 twin beds. The Commanche Hall is a fully equipped kitchen for 60 persons and rents for $550 per day. The Bricks, a 6-bedroom unit is $135 and the 8-bedroom unit is $150, with the 9 bedroom unit at $150.
The Peterson Ranch is a 3-bedroom with an upstairs, plus two beds in the basement at $135 per day, with the barn with corral also available.
Extra beds or roll-aways at any of the units is $5 each, including the crib. Meeting rooms: The Dodd Hall is $55 per day, the Annex Multi-use area is $50 per day. The picnic shelter is a cookout site shelter available when not in use for park activities and rents for $50 per day, the picnic shelter is $25. The Arena and office rents for $100 per day. Horse Stall rentals are $5 daily, $10 with service. Trail rides are $10-$14 per ride. Take in the chuckwagon cookout for $10 adult and $4 child. There is daily nominal fees for swimming jeep rides to the buffalo herds, stagecoach rides, hayrack rides, trail ride breakfast is $20. The child playhouse is rented by the season.
LAKE MINATARE SRA
PO Box 188
Minatare, NE 69356-0188
The Scout Camp Shelter rents for $25 a day. Camping is $3-$8 per night, electric hookup is $3 in the camping area.
NIOBRARA STATE PARK
P.O. Box 226
Niobrara, NE 68760-0226
This state park is located on the Missouri River in the NE. corner of the state, where the Niobrara River meets Old Muddy. The area once was the home of the Ponca Indians, and is the focus of many of the events that unfolded in the settling of the West, including the Lewis and Clark Expedition campsite in 1804. The area was a fur trading post in 1833, and Mormons camped here during the journey to Utah. The park offers superb fishing, in both the Missouri and Niobrara River. Hiking is permitted on an abandoned RR line.
The park also features horseback riding, swimming pool, and a 9-hole golf course (nearby in Old Niobrara township). Be sure to visit Bazille Creek Wildlife Area near the park; Ponca State Park is also nearby.
Cabins: There is a cluster of 16 cabins near the Missouri side of the park, and another cluster of 14 cabins on the Niobrara side, near the park office. The cabins have kitchens with stove and refrigerator, showers, heat, AC, and all linens and utensils. Some cabins have handicapped facilities. Cabin rates are $60 per night for 2 bedrooms and $70 for 3 bedrooms. Cabins near the park office are slightly less. The group facility features a kitchen with dining at $115 per day. The picnic shelter is $25 per day. The green House is $70 per day. Extra beds and rollaways are $5 each. Trail rides $10. Nominal fee for all other activities. Take the Missouri River raft ride at $12 adult and $10 child. Cookout is $6 adults and $4 child.
Lodging season is from mid-April thorugh late November. Reservations by mail phone or in person. Make reservations directly with the park.
PLATTE RIVER PARKLANDS
14421 346th Street
Louisville, NE 68037-3001
402/234-2217. Fax: 402/234-2520
This unique park is located in the SE. corner of the state on the mouth of the Platte River, the great road of the Oregon Trail. The French in scouting the western U.S. in the 1700’s originally used the area. The Louisville Lakes Recreation Area (camping only) and Schramm Park State Recreation Area (camping only) are adjacent to the park, as well as the popular Ak-Sar-Ben Aquarium.
The park is easily accessed from Lincoln, NE, so it is very popular. Savor the taste of the Old West with the Park’s Buffalo Stew Hoe-down.
Activities at the park include swimming, horseback trail rides, hiking trails, recreational equipment, and paddleboats. Pick up a copy of the park newsletter, the Platte River Pathfinder, to find out what is going on during your stay. Nearby is the Sjogren Wilderness Tract; watch for wild turkey, deer, water fowl.
Cabins and Teepees: There are 31 cabins located in the park, complete with linens, utensils, ice chest, barbecues, central shower. You can also rent an actual Indian teepee in either the Oto, Pawnee or Lewis and Clark teepee villages. Each sleeps from 6-8, and has wooden floors. There are also 21 housekeeping cabins, complete with cooking and modern facilities, including bathrooms and refrigerators; some are heated and AC and a few have fireplaces for fall and spring rentals. They are all equipped with bedding, linens, dishes, tableware and limited cooking utensils.
Cabin Owen is a two bedroom unit renting for $70 a night, A standard one-bedroom is $50, 2-bedroom is $60 and the 4-bedroom is $85. The deluxe units are 2-3 bedrooms at $80 a night.
The Group Facilities The Red Bard is $115 and sleeps 20 in bunk beds. The Mallet or Scott lodges are day use facilities, renting for $190 with kitchen. The Decker Creek Lodge (upper level) is $75. The bison Hollow is $50.
Extra beds are $5 each. The picnic shelter is called the Wild Turkey shelter and rents for $25 day. Horse Trail rides are $10. The Buffalo Stew Hoe-down is $6 adult and $4 child. Nominal fees for all other activities. The canoe trip is $12 for 13 years and up. Paddle boat rentals by the hour.
All facilities are open all summer through Labor Day. Cabins are open until late October, the best time at the park for leisurely activities. Cabin rates are $45 and up, per night. Make reservations by mail after the first of the year. Mail orders are processed in the order of their receipt.
PONCA STATE PARK
Ponca, NE 60770
Just down the road from Platte River State Park, 2 miles N. of Ponca, this park has also seen history pass its way. The park is located atop the bluffs above the Missouri River, and is one of the oldest Nebraska parks. The 892-acre park offers rolling hills and hardwood trees.
There is swimming in the pool, and hiking and backpacking in the area. Try fishing for channel catfish in the Mighty Missouri.
Cabins: The park features 14 cabins, mostly 2-bedroom, all modern with AC, double beds, all linen and utensils provided, bath with shower, large screened porch, range, refrigerators. Two cabins are isolated from the group. The cabins are open from May 15 -Sept. 15. Capacity is 8, with 2 extra cots or rollaways allowed per cabin.
Rates: Start at $50 per night for two-bedroom. Advance reservations needed for 2 or more nights. No deposits are refunded for any circumstances. Check-in time is 4 p.m., check-out 11 a.m. Cabins may be rented for 1 night on a first-come, first-served basis.
The lodging season is from May 23 – Sept. 27. Reservations by mail, phone or in person during office hours. Extra bedding $5. Nominal fees for other activities.
SMITH FALLS STATE PARK
HC 13, Box 25
Valentine, NE 69201-9103
Tent camping is $3 per night. Group shelter is $40 with kitchen, and the Scout Shelter is $25.
TWO RIVERS STATE RECREATION AREA
27702 F. Street,
Waterloo, NE 68069-7012
Spend the night in the Two Rivers Park, located in East Nebraska, in a refurbished caboose, one of the most novel park lodgings in the country. The cabooses were donated to the park by the Union Pacific RR, one of the great forces of change in the Old West in the last century. The park is located off NE Hwy. 92; 9 miles SW of Waterloo.
The 964-acre park and sandpit lakes offer lake trout fishing, swimming, bathhouse, camping, waterfowl hunting during certain seasons, and canoe access. Put and tag trout fishing is from $54 per tag. Bicycle rentals $2 per hour.
UNION PACIFIC RAILROAD CABOOSES:
There are 10 gold painted cabooses, each equipped with a full kitchen, refrigerator, stove, and bath, heat, and AC. Each caboose sleeps up to 6. There are no utensils, but linens are furnished. The cabooses rent for $50 a night and sleeps up to 6. Stay in the cupola for a unique sleeping experience. The RR cars are open only in the summer.
Lodging season is from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day.
VICTORIA SPRINGS STATE RECREATION AREA
HC 69, Box 117
Anselmo, NE 68813-9541
This is the third oldest state park in the state, located 7 miles E. of Anselmo or 7 miles N. of Merna. The park is an oasis in the Sandhill country of NE. The 70-acre park gets its name from the mineral springs in the area; the water once was bottled for sale. Original log cabins of an early pioneer are on the site.
The park offers camping, fishing and boating, with paddleboat and rowboat rentals. Be sure to visit the historic school house.
Cabins: There are 2 modern 2-bedroom housekeeping cabins, equipped with 2 double beds, linens, blankets, showers, ranges, refrigerators, and utensils. The cabins are open Memorial Day through November. Rollaway beds are available $5. Advance reservations can be made for 2 day stays only, but often you can get a 1 night stay on a first-come, first served basis. Cabins rent for $50 a night.