Platte River State Park

April 27, 2020 NEBRASKAland Magazine


The waterfall on Stone Creek at Platte River State Park is a must-see for park-goers. Photo by Jeff Kurrus.

By Jeff Kurrus

I never feel overwhelmed at Platte River State Park. Whether there are thousands of kids attending an Outdoor Discovery day or just a few vehicles, I can always take a deep, relaxing breath whenever I pull into the park. Located three miles from Louisville – between Omaha and Lincoln – the park is a welcomed break from city life. It offers both family-friendly attractions and solace in its 450 acres, even on the busiest of weekends.

I love playing with my kids at the spray park, and I could watch them for hours exploring at Crawdad Creek. When I can visit alone, fly-fishing at Jenny Newman Lake keeps me coming back, while solo hikes through the woods have been inspiration for many photographs. I’ve enjoyed climbing the observation tower to view the forest and Platte River from afar, and also walking to Decker Creek to see both up close. The Roger G. Sykes Outdoor Heritage Education Complex is where I go to learn something new, while my need to get away has led me wandering to a quiet bench near a waterfall. I like options when I’m outdoors, and Platte River State Park continues to deliver. The park’s newest attraction is a 4.5-mile addition to its trail system, fortifying an already-popular destination for mountain bikers in eastern Nebraska.

It’s your choice, whatever you decide to do first. Your first deep breath will surely be unique from mine.  

Lodging Options

New RV Campground

The new, state-of-the-art campground has 49 full hookup concrete pads with electric, water and sewer.

The park’s RV campground has 49 full hookup sites. Photo by Jenny Nguyen-Wheatley.


  • Glamping Cabins – There are three year-round glamping cabins that feature a queen bed, modern bathroom and furnished kitchen. All have heating and air conditioning. This is a luxury stay under the stars.
Roll your bed out onto the patio and experience a night in the forest at a Platte River State Park glamping cabin. Photo by Jenny Nguyen-Wheatley.
  • Modern Cabins – There are 21 year-round modern cabins with two, three or four bedrooms and kitchenettes. Some have fireplaces, and all have heating and air conditioning along with bathrooms, showers and linens.
Modern cabins at Platte River State Park are nestled into the trees. The back of this one overlooks Jenny Newman Lake. Photo by Jeff Kurrus.
  • Camper Cabins – The 27 camper cabins are grouped around a central shower-latrine building. Each cabin has a refrigerator and bedding. Each also has air conditioning, except for the Whitetail cabins.
The Rohloff and Draheim families of Hampton, Virginia, stay at a camper cabin. Photo by Eric Fowler.


Pawnee Tepee Village – For a unique camping experience, four rustic tepees are available to rent and each accommodates six to eight people. Each has a platform floor.

The tepee campground offers a unique camping experience. Photo by Jeff Kurrus.

Bike Trails

Platte River State Park offers 17.5 miles of trails, including challenging obstacles for experienced riders and bypasses for novice users.

The views from the trails overlooking the Platte River are amazing and seeing wildlife is a given.

Because of these reasons, this trail is considered one of the best in all of Nebraska, and it remains a popular destination for riders throughout the region.

A series of challenging elements can be found on the new 4.5-mile addition to the Platte River State Park trail system. Trisha Kramer of Lincoln rides a downhill trail. Photo by Eric Fowler.

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