Apache Camper Blog

  • Published on Sep 30, 2015
    Experience Fall camping in Nebraska!

    The temperature is falling, and the best camping time of the year is getting off to a huge start!  I am here with some different ideas of how to experience fall camping in Nebraska with more entries to follow.

    With the beautiful weather of September and October, the next couple of months offer the best camping of the year – with comfortable days, and cool nights.  It is the perfect weather for a campfire, for a pot of chili, or for fall hiking taking in the wonderful smells and colors of this season.

    Campsites are more easy to get now that school is in session, and with the extra cool nights, the bugs are not nearly as ferocious as they seemed a couple of months ago.  Now is the time to take your RV out and experience the thrills of fall camping. 

    While those of us in the Midwest aren’t able to make it to the east coast to take in the colors, we have many hidden jewels of our own that make you feel like you are worlds away from it all with colors all their own.  One of the most popular on the eastern part of the state is Indian Cave State Park.  One of the highlights of the year is the Halloween festivities.  I have an article from the Nebraska City News www.ncnews.com below detailing the major part of the event.  However, during the month of October, people will camp down there nearly every day and decorate their campsites with lights and spooky decorations.  A great time for kids and adults alike!

    Celebrate Halloween throughout October at Indian Cave State Park with Haunted Hollow activities.

    “Trick or Treat at the Town” is set for 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 9. The cost is $2 for children to enjoy a fun evening of tricks and treats.

    Hayrack rides are scheduled for Oct. 10, 16 and 17 and 23 and 24. Tickets are $8 for ages 13 and up and $6 for ages 4 to 12. Age 3 and under are free. Tickets are available by calling (402) 883-2575. The half-hour rides begin at 7 p.m., then leave every 15 minutes, with the final ride starting at 9:30 p.m.

    Other Haunted Hollow activities include a costume contest, campground-decorating contest, pumpkin-rolling contest, Halloween crafts, living history demonstrations, Halloween scavenger hunt and horseback rides.

    Indian Cave State Park is located 10 miles south of Brownville and 5 miles east on S64E. Call (402) 883-2575 for more information.

    Other activities include hiking, horseback riding, and of course the caves.  Look up all the reviews on Trip Advisor.  Lots of information to be had easily accessible at their website www.tripadvisor.com or on their handy app.

    Another state park that is sometimes overlooked is Ponca State park.  Nestled in the hills overlooking the Missouri River on the northern side of the state, it is on the Lewis and Clark trail, and has an incredible visitors center, and even a little executive golf course at the entrance.  Below is a great description from Reserve America: you can visit their website at www.reserveamerica.com

    Ponca State Park features one of the state's most comprehensive outdoor/environmental education programs. Onsite staff and volunteers help guide and educate visitors on the history, biology, ecology, astronomy, geology and archeology of the area. Many how-to programs on outdoor recreation are also given, including fishing, backpacking, wilderness survival, cooking and others. During late spring, summer and early fall, programs are given daily for both adults and children.

    With more than 20 miles of trails, the park provides hikers and mountain bikers many opportunities to explore the park's backcountry. Several mountain bike races are held every year making the Park's trail system noted for its diverse and often challenging trails.

    In the summer, swimmers can cool off at the Park's swimming pool where lifeguards are on duty(As a general rule, the swimming pool does not open until the second Saturday of June and is open on weekends only from the middle of August until Labor Day). Experienced wranglers guide organized horseback rides through the scenic woodland bluffs and river overlooks. The Highland Oaks Public Golf Course is located on the southern boundary of the park. The challenging 9-hole course offers spectacular park vistas and a luxurious clubhouse. A boat ramp and 2 miles of river access offers boaters and anglers many opportunities to experience the Missouri National Recreational River. A canoe/kayak launch is located 6 miles upriver on Ponca State Park's North Addition offering a more adventurous outdoor experience. The park also has Youth Fishing Programs twice a week and a Fishing Tackle Loaner Program. Hayrack tours are available during the spring, summer and fall. Reservations are taken for groups of 15 or more. Haunted hayrack rides are given for two Saturday nights during the Park's annual Hallowfest - in October. Call the park office for specific dates and for when reservations for the hayrides can be made as space is limited. The park has an annual Mother's Day and Father's Day Buffet along with periodic cookouts on holiday weekends and special events. Call the park office for details. Buffalo burgers, Lewis and Clark Stew and fish fries are given in the summer and fall. Call the park for more details.

    The Missouri National Recreational River Resource and Education Center houses the park office and new opportunities in education and recreation are being developed. This 17,000 sq. ft. facility has a large interpretive display/exhibit area, a field laboratory and conference rooms. Meeting rooms will accommodate groups up to 250 or can be subdivided for smaller gatherings. A fully-equipped kitchen is available for rent.

    Campground Notes: Ponca State Park provides excellent camping. Paved electrical camp sites in two modern campgrounds with 30/50 amp electrical hookups. There are showers, picnic tables, fire pits, dump station, and playground. Modern facilities operate from April - October, weather permitting. Primitive camping is available year-round.

    As always, your best source for information on the state parks in Nebraska is the Nebraska Game and Parks which is at www.outdoornebraska.ne.gov/parks

    Make sure to take advantage of fall camping, and do a little research on areas near you.  There are spectacular places to camp.  It always makes me smile when someone moves in from out of state and says that they didn’t think Nebraska had campgrounds.  After I tell them about only 3 or 4 of them, they make a beeline to their computer and start searching.  Nebraska is a treasure trove of camping areas, places to explore, and people to meet.  Don’t waste your time going anywhere else until you follow in Lewis and Clarks footsteps and beyond.  CAMP NEBRASKA


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