11 Top Picks for Fall Camping at Nebraska State Parks

October 31, 2022 renae blum


During the busy fall season, campgrounds fill up fast on weekends but visitors are welcome to pitch tents in a pasture at Indian Cave State Park in Nemaha and Richardson counties.

Photo by Eric Fowler

By Renae Blum

Looking for a place to go camping this fall? You can’t go wrong with a Nebraska state park. All are great choices, but these 11 stand out for their camping amenities and activities to enjoy during your stay. Pick one near you and enjoy a camping adventure with family and friends this fall.

Indian Cave State Park

Campers can experience some of Nebraska’s best fall color at Indian Cave State Park. The park’s hardwood forest puts on a spectacular show of colors each autumn, with 22 miles of scenic hiking and biking trails to see it all.

All types of camping are available, from RV camping to tent camping, and even Adirondack shelters for backpackers. Equestrian camping is also available.

Tent camping in the fall at Indian Cave State Park. Photo by Eric Fowler.

Louisville State Recreation Area

Great fall fishing can be found at Louisville State Recreation Area, which boasts five sandpit lakes with approximately 50 surface acres of water. All types of camping are available.

Besides fishing, campers can go hiking and visit other nearby state parks, including Mahoney State Park. The park is also close to the town of Louisville, so it’s easy to make a trip in to get groceries or enjoy a meal.

RV campground in the fall at Louisville State Recreation Area in Cass County. Photo by Jenny Nguyen-Wheatley.

Rock Creek Station State Recreation Area

Tucked within rolling prairie hills, Rock Creek Station is set in a beautiful area filled with history. Adjacent to the state recreation area is Rock Creek Station State Historical Park, where visitors can see original wagon ruts and learn about the site where James Butler “Wild Bill” Hickok began his legendary gunfighting career. The state recreation area has great picnicking and hiking opportunities.

Both tent and RV camping is allowed at Rock Creek Station. This is also a great place to bring your horses; the park offers a horse camp with 20 individual corrals.

Larry Frahm and and Jordan Hopwood of Lincoln at horse camp at Rock Creek Station State Historical Park. Photo by Eric Fowler.

Ponca State Park

Situated in the picturesque Missouri River bluffs in northeastern Nebraska, Ponca State Park is an obvious choice as a fall camping destination thanks to its beautiful fall foliage. Visitors also love the extensive hiking trails, wildlife viewing opportunities, Missouri River access and educational shooting complex. Both RV and tent camping options are available.

RV campground at Ponca State Park. Photo by Jenny Nguyen-Wheatley.

Lewis and Clark State Recreation Area

Enjoy scenic views at Lewis and Clark State Recreation Area, which features the second largest reservoir in the state. This park offers great water recreation as well as great fall fishing. It’s also a prime area for bird watchers; keep your eyes peeled for wild turkeys, deer, coyotes and a variety of other small mammals. Campers will find over 150 campsites with electricity, as well as tent camping and an equestrian camping area.

Jennifer, Jeremy and Bryce Barnes of Sioux City tent camping at Lewis and Clark State Recreation Area. Photo by Jenny Nguyen-Wheatley.

Niobrara State Park

This scenic, tranquil park offers a wide array of outdoor experiences, as well as a beautiful modern campground with a great view of the Missouri and Niobrara rivers. Bring your binoculars and enjoy the wildlife watching opportunities, cast a line in the pond, ride your horse on the trails, or lace up your shoes to walk the 14 miles of hike/bike trails. Both RV and tent camping is available.

Road running through Niobrara State Park near campsites during the fall. Photo by Jenny Nguyen-Wheatley.

Victoria Springs State Recreation Area

Described as an oasis in the Sandhills, Victoria Springs State Recreation Area is a great place to kick back and enjoy a fall day. It is the second oldest area in Nebraska’s state park system, and two original log cabins built by a homesteader are still standing. Park activities include fishing, picnicking and paddle boating at Victoria Springs. Tent and RV camping is available.

The Riessland and Kucera families relax around a campfire in the campground at Victoria Springs State Recreation Area in Custer County. Photo by Eric Fowler.

Keller Park State Recreation Area

Keller Park is a hidden gem. Located north of Ainsworth, it is one of the few spots where anglers can pursue both rainbow trout and warm water species. Nestled amid rugged tree-covered bluffs, this is a beautiful area with opportunities for fall color. Visitors can enjoy hiking, picnicking and great wildlife watching. Both RV and tent camping is available.

Dustin (left), Hunter and Lindsay Craven tent camping at Keller State Recreation Area. Photo by Jenny Nguyen-Wheatley.

Calamus State Recreation Area

Located in Nebraska’s beautiful Sandhills, Calamus State Recreation Area is among the most popular places for camping, fishing, boating, picnicking and hiking in the state. Anglers can pursue walleye, white bass, wipers, northern pike, channel catfish and crappie, among others. Both RV and tent camping is available.

Families play on the beach in the Homestead Knolls area at Calamus Reservoir SRA in Loup and Garfield Counties. Photo by Eric Fowler.

Red Willow State Recreation Area

Some of the finest fishing and hunting in the state are found at Red Willow State Recreation Area. Cast a line for channel catfish, crappie, largemouth bass or walleye, and pursue pheasants and other upland game birds. Red Willow is a great spot to use as a base camp while you hunt. Hiking and picnicking are other favorite activities with visitors. Both RV and tent camping is available.

Wildcat Hills State Recreation Area

For a more rugged getaway, enjoy some primitive camping at Wildcat Hills State Recreation Area. It’s a beautiful area situated high on a rocky escarpment in the Wildcat Hills. During your visit enjoy more than 3 miles of trails through canyons and rocky bluffs, picnicking in historical stone shelters, or birdwatching.

For more information, or to book a reservation, visit OutdoorNebraska.gov.

The post 11 Top Picks for Fall Camping at Nebraska State Parks appeared first on Nebraskaland Magazine.

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