Nebraska State & National Parks + Forests

(click the sidebar icon to toggle layers on/off)

view full size map

State Parks

  • Chadron State Park – located in the northwestern part of Nebraska and offers visitors a scenic retreat amidst the picturesque Pine Ridge region. Covering over 970 acres of land, the park provides a wide range of recreational activities for outdoor enthusiasts. It features numerous hiking trails, including the famous Pine Ridge Trail, which offers breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape. Chadron State Park also boasts excellent opportunities for camping, fishing, and wildlife observation. Visitors can explore the park’s diverse ecosystems, spot various bird species, and even catch a glimpse of elk and deer that roam the area. With its tranquil atmosphere and stunning natural beauty, Chadron State Park provides an ideal destination for those seeking a peaceful getaway in nature.
  • Eugene T. Mahoney State Park – situated near Ashland, Nebraska, and is a popular destination for both locals and tourists alike. Spanning over 700 acres, the park offers a wide array of recreational activities for visitors of all ages. One of the park’s highlights is the Peter Kiewit Lodge, a beautiful facility that provides comfortable accommodations and various amenities. Eugene T. Mahoney State Park is known for its impressive aquatic center, which includes thrilling water slides, a wave pool, and a lazy river. Additionally, the park features numerous hiking and biking trails, a marina for boating and fishing, and an outdoor theater that hosts live performances during the summer. Whether you’re looking for adventure or relaxation, Eugene T. Mahoney State Park offers something for everyone.
  • Fort Robinson State Park – holds a significant historical and cultural value in Nebraska. Once a military outpost, the park now serves as a popular recreational area and historical site. Located near Crawford, Nebraska, it spans across 22,000 acres of land and offers a rich blend of natural beauty and historic landmarks. Visitors can explore the old cavalry barracks, officer quarters, and the famous Red Cloud Agency building, which played a role in Native American history. The park is renowned for its equestrian facilities, offering trail rides and horseback camping. Other activities include hiking, fishing, wildlife viewing, and camping. Fort Robinson State Park provides a unique opportunity to immerse oneself in Nebraska’s past while enjoying the scenic landscapes of the Pine Ridge region.
  • Indian Cave State Park – nestled along the Missouri River in southeastern Nebraska, is known for its stunning limestone cave and its abundant natural beauty. The park covers more than 3,000 acres and offers a wide range of outdoor activities. Visitors can explore the namesake Indian Cave, which features ancient petroglyphs and pictographs, providing a glimpse into the area’s rich Native American history. The park boasts over 22 miles of hiking and biking trails, which meander through the woodland and along the river, offering picturesque views. Camping, fishing, and picnicking are also popular activities in Indian Cave State Park. With its unique geological formations, fascinating cultural heritage, and diverse recreational opportunities, the park attracts nature enthusiasts and history buffs alike.
  • Niobrara State Park – located in northeastern Nebraska, is a hidden gem that offers visitors a serene escape in a riverine environment. Spanning across 1,640 acres, the park is situated along the scenic Niobrara National Scenic River. It is characterized by its towering bluffs, dense forests, and meandering waterways, providing breathtaking views and abundant wildlife. Visitors can enjoy activities such as kayaking, tubing, and canoeing on the river, or explore the park’s hiking and horseback riding trails. Niobrara State Park is home to various species of birds, including bald eagles, as well as a diverse range of plant life. For those seeking relaxation, the park provides camping facilities and picnic areas where visitors can unwind amidst the tranquil natural surroundings.
  • Platte River State Park – a popular outdoor destination located near Louisville, Nebraska. Covering approximately 450 acres, the park is nestled within the picturesque Platte River Valley. It is renowned for its scenic beauty, diverse wildlife, and family-friendly recreational activities. The park features several hiking trails that wind through wooded areas and provide stunning views of the Platte River. Visitors can also enjoy fishing and swimming in the park’s two lakes, as well as engage in activities like horseback riding, disc golf, and archery. Platte River State Park offers various accommodations, including cabins and campgrounds, making it an ideal spot for a weekend getaway or a day trip filled with outdoor adventures.
  • Ponca State Park – situated along the Missouri River in northeastern Nebraska, is a nature lover’s paradise. Encompassing over 2,400 acres, the park showcases the beauty of the region’s unique topography and provides ample opportunities for outdoor recreation. Visitors can explore the park’s extensive trail system, which offers scenic views of the river valley and leads to the famous Ponca State Park Overlook Tower. The park is a haven for birdwatchers, with more than 300 species of birds recorded in the area. Fishing, boating, and kayaking are popular activities on the Missouri River, and the park provides facilities for these water-based pursuits. Ponca State Park also offers a nature center, educational programs, and comfortable camping accommodations, allowing visitors to fully immerse themselves in the natural wonders of Nebraska.
  • Smith Falls State Park – located in north-central Nebraska, is home to the state’s highest waterfall and offers a serene escape in a remote and pristine setting. The park covers around 63 acres and is named after Smith Falls, which cascades from a height of 63 feet. Visitors can marvel at the majestic waterfall and enjoy activities such as hiking, picnicking, and wildlife observation in the surrounding area. The park is situated along the Niobrara National Scenic River, providing opportunities for canoeing, kayaking, and tubing. Smith Falls State Park also offers camping facilities, allowing visitors to extend their stay and fully appreciate the tranquility and natural beauty of the region.

National Parks

State & National Forests

Nebraska National Forest
Samuel R. McKelvie National Forest

National Natural Landmarks

  • Ashfall Fossil Beds: A rare example of a lagerstatten, a thick bed of volcanic ash, contains hundreds of extraordinarily complete skeletons of extinct mammals. 42.440556°N 98.148083°W
  • Dissected Loess Plains: Eroded canyons and deep valleys in loess deposits over 200 feet (61 m) thick
  • Fontenelle Forest: The largest virgin forest in Nebraska. 41.18°N 95.917778°W
  • Nebraska Sand Hills: The largest sand dunes complex in the Western Hemisphere. 42.13°N 102.19°W
  • Valentine National Wildlife Refuge: Sandhill tall grass prairie ecosystem unique to the central Great Plains. 42.493611°N 100.572778°W