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Ride the Trails of Nebraska State Parks

Nine horseback riders on the trails of Nebraska

by Nebraska Game and Park Commission

Take our Equestrian Trails around scenic Nebraska Lakes

Willow Creek State Recreation Area provides 9 miles of hiking and horseback trails around the 700-acre lake. The area offers a horse campground with electrical camp pads and corrals. In addition, a horse group camp with two barbless wire fence corrals is available on a first-come first-serve basis.

Two Rivers State Recreation Area offers open riding as opposed to specific trails around the 320 acres of sandpit lakes. A horse staging and camping area is available. Picnic tables and hitching posts are available at the horse staging area. Horses must not be left unattended at the staging area. A 50-gallon drum is available for water for the horses.

Pawnee State Recreation Area provides a nice ride with 6 miles of multi-purpose trails that take riders on a scenic route around the lake. All trails that equestrians can use are identified with signage. For those who wish to camp with their horses, Pawnee offers a primitive camp that includes picnic tables, drinking water, fire rings and pit toilets. Area #3 has a small coral. The area has mature trees that provide plenty of shade.

Danish Alps State Recreation Area is a combination of an equestrian campground and scenic horse trails, making the Danish Alps State Recreation Area a great destination for horse enthusiasts. The area offers 14 horse corrals, hitching posts and water within the equestrian campground. The scenic horse trail encircles most of the lake.

Branched Oak State Recreation Area has more than six miles of interlocking multi-purpose trails that meander through trees, open grasslands and scenic overlooks on the south side of the lake. A horse camp is located in Area 2 (Homestead Campground) which offers 15 electrical rock pad campsites, water, restrooms, grills, picnic facilities, an accessible mounting ramp, hitching posts and corrals. Half of the electrical sites may be reserved up to 1 year prior to arrival.

Visitors can camp with their horses at Homestead Campground equestrian area (Area 2). This area offers 15 pull-through Equestrian Electric Plus campsites. To make reservations for these 15 sites, please contact the park office. Other amenities include 14 corrals, hand-pump drinking water, primitive toilet, picnic tables and fire rings.

The equestrian camping area also provides 8 Equestrian Basic campsites for those that do not need the electricity. These sites are first-come, first-served.

Ride your horses across unique Nebraska Terrain

Cowboy Recreation and Nature Trail is located in northern Nebraska, starting in Norfolk and ending in Valentine. There is no camping on the Cowboy Trail, although many communities will provide users with camping, restroom and shower facilities.

Niobrara State Park offers 120 acres of free range riding as opposed to designated trails. The equestrian campground provides primitive camping with one corral that will hold several horses. The corral works well for horses that are accustomed to each other. Campground is first-come, first serve and includes non-modern restroom, picnic table and grill. Water will need to be bucketed to this area.

Ride through tree-covered hills and above river valleys

Lewis and Clark State Recreation Area offers 6.5 miles of heavily wooded and scenic lake overlook trails. A campground has been developed with corrals for the horses, water, restrooms and picnic areas.

Indian Cave State Park consists of 3,052 rugged acres bordering the Missouri River. It is a pristine area devoted to camping, hiking, backpacking, picnicking and horseback riding. Indian Cave boasts 16 miles of equestrian trails and has an established horse camp for private horses in the park. The main horse trail is called the Hardwood Trail – also known as trail #5, the trail winds in and out of the picturesque Missouri River bluffs. Horses are allowed on this particular trail as well as trail 5A, 9, 8, 8A, and 6 for a total of 16 miles. We ask that you stay off the hard-surfaced roads in the park. Riders should carry drinking water; there are several locations in the park to obtain water. A water wagon is available for horses. Amenities include toilets, grills, tables, hitching posts and 12 corrals.

Take a ride through History

Rock Creek Station State Historical Park is where James Butler Hickok, “Wild Bill,” killed David McCanles and began his bloody career as a gunfighter. Today, the park is rich in history, which is displayed at the Burlington Northern Visitor Center. The area provides a horse camp that includes 20 individual corrals that are set in groups of 4, water for horse and rider, picnic tables and grills, and the historical park provides 5 miles of trails. Adjacent to Rock Creek Station is Rock Glen Wildlife Management Area that provides many more miles of riding. However, it should be noted that the Wildlife Management Area’s main function is wildlife-related and riders are asked to observe special riding regulations for this area. Our trails are multi-purpose, so horse riders share the trails with hikers and bike riders.

The maintained trails pass through a variety of terrain, including tallgrass prairie, woodlands, and ravines. The trails pass through 1860s reconstructed ranches, and visitors can explore the history of the historic trails from that era, including the Oregon-California Trails and the Pony Express. The park does not provide horses or guided rides, but our equestrian visitors range from individuals and families to small groups and larger equestrian events.

Fort Robinson State Park is located in Nebraska’s Pine Ridge in Northwestern Nebraska. It is truly a horse rider’s paradise and Nebraska’s premier horse destination. It offers 22,000 acres with many miles of trails and fire service roads to ride. Fort Robinson provides great accommodations for both horse and rider. You can put your horse up in one of many stalls available in the large barns at Fort Robinson. While your horse enjoys comfortable accommodations, the rider may kick back in one of the many campsites (primitive to full hookups). For those that don’t wish to camp, lodge rooms and beautiful spacious cabins for groups and/or individuals are available to enjoy (reservations are recommended). For more riding, the Pine Ridge offers U.S. Forest Service – Nebraska National Forest land that provides many more miles of trails at the Wood Reserve adjacent to the Fort and many more trails a short trailer ride away.

Take a Ride