Hitchcock Nature Center is north of Crescent, IA and just let outside Omaha, NE. A short drive from the city and you are in the Loess Hills that were explored by Lewis and Clark on their trek west. The is a $3 day use pass or a $20 yearly pass available.
This place has a lot to offer anyone. They have Nature education events, archery range, a handicapped accessible boardwalk trail, hiking trails, camping, etc. There are miles of trail available with backcountry camping available for $10 per night. RV camping is also available for $15 per night with electric, showers/bathrooms, picnic tables, fire rings, etc. They also offer a couple cabins for rent.
The hiking is fantastic and offers something for every skill level. There are absolutely gorgeous views of the Missouri River valley below. All trails are marked and the a multiple different trailheads, many which start around the visitors center/tower Overlook. During the winter they even over snowshoeing events. It is really a nice place to get outdoors anytime of the year.
Lake Wanahoo is a fairly new lake in Saunders county Nebraska. The lake is part of the local NRD and was originally managed by the state parks department. You used to be able to use your state park permit to gain entry, but now you need to either buy a day pass or a yearly pass from the NRD.
There are plenty of places to camp here including gravel pads and grass pads for RV’s. While most people seem to prefer the gravel pads closer to the lake, we actually prefer grass pads because they are 2-3 larger, so you have more room to setup.
The tent camping area is huge and there always seems to be plenty of availability. We were the only tent in the entire area. The tiered tent area allows you to have a great view of the lake from wherever you setup. All RV and tent spots have picnic tables and fire rings. Unfortunately when the lake and campground were built they planted saplings, so during the hot months there is no shade to be found.
The is still plenty to do at the lake from getting the fishing boat out, using their three wide boat ramp or fishing from the shore using bank or using a jetty. There is a gravel trail that goes all the way around the lake, which provides about a three mile loop. The trail also leads down into the town of Wahoo. There are two large play areas for kids. One is in the campground and one is across the lake in the day use area.
No matter where you go you are not far from a restroom. There are nice clean vault toilets available all around the lake. There is also a large bathroom/shower house in the campground. The shower house does have a change machine on the outside of the build to get change for the showers. These are kept very clean and tidy.
When pulling your RV out here the water fill is in an awkward spot in a parking lot of the campground. To get to the dump station you have to leave the campground, get on the highway and drive to the opposite side of the lake to the day use area. These were just installed a couple years ago. They are nice and level, but just add a bit of driving to get to them.
All-in-all this is a nice place and in a few more years of tree growth, it could be even better!
This is a County run Park, that has a limited number of sites. The location is very nice, most sites are full sun. And the grounds are located on top,of a hill. Easy drive in, all paved. A lot of hiking trails, for day hikes. Really nice location but site availability is always the question. Would recommend.
I had the please of staying at this beautiful Nebraska state park with my youngest son on a return trip home from North Dakota over the July 4th weekend 2019. We pulled in after office ours and easily found several primitive walk up sites to choose from. We selected T45 for it’s proximity to a scenic Missouri River overlook and it’s flat, shaded ground. Ponca SP is a large clean and hilly state park offering just about everything you could want from Glamping in cabins to roughing it on one of several pack in trails. There is plentiful wildlife to observe. We witnessed deer and many species of birds in our one evening and morning stay. Guests to the park can partake in horse trail rides($), golf($), fishing, hunting, shooting/ archery range, biking/hiking, water activities such as kayaking or canoeing on the Missouri River, and a large pool near the entrance. Food service is also available on site if you get tired of cooking at your camp. If you want a power site for an RV I’d highly recommend reserving well in advance because this is a popular SP. For those of us who tent camp without power you’ll likely find the perfect spot for your small to large tent on a walk up site with plentiful shade trees at all of the sites that I observed. I highly recommend trying to get the site one spot to the North of T45, it literally looks right over the Missouri River and sits just steps away from the scenic overlook. The bathroom facility right by T45 was clean and well maintained and there was a water faucet next to this site as well as the trash bins. Scenic hikes, drives, or bike rides around the park are largely shaded with a rich tree canopy over rolling hills throughout the park. There are at least two scenic river overlooks with historical referenced to the area’s rich history including the Lewis and Clark expedition. Check the park’s web site at outdoornebraska.gov/Ponca/ to find out what educational and fun events might be happening at the park. They hold a Harvest/Halloween event over a few days in October each year, but you’ll have to book a site a year in advance if you want to for sure get a spot during that time. Don’t forget to stop in to the education center and learn all about the river’s history. The education center is top notch and one of our favorite things about the park. This is a five star state park by any measure and I can’t wait for a return trip to this park.
We stayed with our class A RV on our way to and from a further destination in early July. First spot was one right along the river. All the spots are spacious…neighbors are not on top of you. This spot had a nice concrete slab with a picnic table (not so nice with peeling paint). Views of the river and city were nice. Full hook-ups with sewer, water, electric and (spotty) WiFi. Second spot was not on the river but equally spacious. No concrete patio with this one. Bathhouse’s were a mixed bag. One was large with numerous stalls and showers and very clean. The other quite small (2 stalls and one shower) and not so clean. Had to step around empty shampoo and conditioner bottles on the floor and a used razor on the soap dish…there in the early evening and still around 9 the next morning. Many sites seemed to be extended stay and not all were well kept…plastic covering windows, haphazard decks, etc. All-in-all though an OK one night stopover spot if you’re traveling through.
Scenic park is across the Missouri river from Sioux City, Iowa. It is easy to get to. Very friendly staff. Restrooms are kept clean. It is a large campground with several different restrooms with showers. There is a number of permanent campsites, there is also some that can be reserved. Some are also pull thru's. Ice and firewood are available on site. There is a separate area available for tents. With it being on the edge of South Sioux City, Ne and across the river from Sioux City, Ia. there is lots of shopping options close by. It can also be reserved for groups, with a shelter available for use. There are some sunny spots and also spots with lots of shade. I really like this campground!
We primary stop by this site for fishing as the lake is regularly stocked. It's great for kayaking or small boats. There is very little shade available at this campground as it is a man-made area so bring the sunscreen. Fires are allowed and pets must be on leash. RV sites and tent camping site are available.
We stayed with our class A RV on our way to and from a further destination. First spot was one right along the river. All the spots are spacious…neighbors are not on top of you. This spot had a nice concrete pad with a picnic table (not so nice with peeling paint). Views of the river and city were nice. Full hook-ups with sewer, water, electric, cable, and wi-if. Second spot was not on the river but equally spacious. No concrete pad with this one. Bathhouses were a mixed bag. One was large with numerous stalls and showers and very clean. The other quite small (2 stalls and one shower) and not so clean. Had to step around empty shampoo and conditioner bottles on floor and a used razor on the soap dish…..there in the early evening and still there around 9 the next morning. Many of the sites seemed to be extended stay and not all trailers were well kept…..plastic covering windows, haphazard decks, etc. All-in-all though an Ok stopover in a longer trip.
This is one of our favorite places to camp. It's beautiful and there's plenty of hiking. The campgrounds are a little way away from the road and more secluded so they're very quiet. You do have to pack your stuff down a bit of a steep hill. with the nature Center there is plenty for the kids to do. There's even a 1 mile hike on a boardwalk that's very easy. There's all levels of hikes. They have a hawkwatch tower. Lots of information about Hawks and nature conservation. We love doing their extra classes.
There’s only one good campsite at this campground. It’s more secluded and away from the rest. The others are pretty close to each other, I would recommend getting two campsites if you don’t want neighbors. The roads are paved, great for long boarding. There’s a swimming pond at this campground as well.
If you’re going to camp at two rivers, this is the camp ground to go to! I highly recommend making a reservation as it fills up quickly. It’s right a long the Platte River were you can swim. You could also kayak in. Two rivers is very strict about quiet hours though.
Hitchcock Nature Center features 10 miles of trails in varying difficulties for all skill levels. Great training site with some fantastic campsites and excellent views. Nature Center offers a unique lodge and educational space with a "fire tower" regularly used for bird studies. Backcountry campsites are the main attraction but there are also RV sites and an archery range. The park even offers a small section of ADA boardwalk. It's a great place!
If you're looking for a relaxing backcountry retreat for a little backpacking adventure then this is a great weekend option. Beginner to intermediate level trails that are good for the whole family. 340 acres with nearly 8 miles of trails to explore. Water options available. 8 backcountry campsites each with fire ring and picnic table. 1 shelter and privy available near main parking lot. Easy access to even more miles of trails in the remainder of the Loess Hills State Forest adjacent to the park.