We had high hopes for this campground and as far as activities it knocked it out of the park with hiking, fishing, mountain biking, ATVs, etc. The problem was trying to sleep with trains blasting their crossing horns all night. We truly love this place as a day use stop though.
Snake River Area Campground near Valentine, NE is on the Merritt Reservoir State Recreation Area.
Can you say sand! And fishing. The nice thing about this entire area is one: you don’t see much of the park employees, it’s pretty much all honor system based. Which means if you occupy an entire campground you can stay up as late or early as you want. You can also be as loud or quiet as you like too. Two: This is definitely a water based vacation. The reservoir offers plenty to do and the campground is shaded and did I mention sandy. Dark at night, like pitch black. Critters are around so secure your food. Picnic tables, pit toilets, fire pits and a trash receptacle.
There is the Niobrara River nearby which is the major attraction of the area for float trips. Valentine, NE has food and fuel plus events throughout the year.
At Merritt Reservoir State Recreation Area near Valentine, NE you have some choices to make. There are Merritt Main, Willow Cove , Lone Tree, Cottonwood , Pines, Cedar Bay , Beeds and Board Campgrounds to choose from. Each has sites near the Reservoir or further back in the scrub that have fire rings and picnic tables. Some have electric options, showers and boatramps. All have at least a pit toilet and dumpster. (And sand)
The state employees were a little scarce when I visited and the weather was not real inviting. I decided to not float on the Reservoir due to the low temperatures, but it would seem that the Nebraskans are a little hardier and used to the cold temperatures then me because there were a few out on the water fishing.
This area would be ideal for a large group get together and out in the middle of nowhere so any noise shouldn’t be an issue. I heard coyotes and it was pitch black at night, had the sky been clear the stars would have been amazing.
Valentine, NE is nearby for resupply and entertainment and there are some other recreation areas that offer hiking and of course floating on the Niobrara River.
Merritt Reservoir Main Area Campground in Merritt Reservoir State Recreation Area, NE is one of many camping options throughout the area.
This is the largest of the campgrounds in the State Recreation Area. There is a fish cleaning area nearby with camper dumpsite. A pit toilet and dumpster are available and each site has a fire ring and picnic table. In addition there is A LOT of sand;) If you are a fisherman this area is ideal for you! If your looking for hiking and land past times not so much.
About 30 minutes down the road is Valentine, NE for your food, fuel and supply needs. Otherwise this area is dark and quiet at night…..except for the wildlife of course.Bring your stargazing gear for additional entertainment and don’t forget lots of bug repellent:)
Love camping at Merritt. Many different campsites to choose from. Walk up and extended stay. Great fishing and boating. The Scenic Sandhills surround the lake and on the biggest hill is always Ole Glory our up every year by a local business owner that frequents the lake. Hunting around Merritt is great too from deer to grouse. Merritt is a year round sportsman’s lake.
Beeds Landing Area Campground in Merritt Reservoir State Recreation Area, NE is one of many camping options throughout the area.
Beeds has two areas to pick from. To the left is the boatramp so there is more traffic in that area. The right side is a little more secluded. A pit toilet and dumpster are available and each site has a fire ring and picnic table.
Unfortunately the weather was not ideal during our visit so being near the water was not a must. However if you are a fisherman this area is ideal for you! At the main campground area is a nice pavilion fish cleaning area as well as the camper dumpsite.
About 30 minutes down the road is Valentine, NE for your food, fuel and supply needs. Otherwise this area is dark and quiet at night…..except for the wildlife of course.Bring your stargazing gear for additional entertainment and don’t forget your bug repellent:)
Boardman Creek Area Campground is one of many campgrounds in the Merritt Reservoir State Recreation Area.
I likes Boardman Creek because of the site we used had direct put in and was secluded at the end of the camping area. I used a primitive site but Boardman has electric hook ups as well. There’s a pit toilet, dumpster, fire rings and picnic tables plus plenty of shade…..not that we needed it on our misty overcast outing but if you come in the middle of the summer it would be good;)
I saw no park employees so insure you read all signs and follow directions on paying for your site, visit and post your tickets correctly at your site.
There are no trails to speak of, only water, sand and fishing. So bring your gear and entertainment with you. There is a nice fish cleaning pavilion at the main campground and Valentine, NE is about 30 minutes up the road for fuel, food and supplies.
Powder Horn Area Campground is part of Merritt Reservoir State Recreation Area near Valentine, NE.
I traveled this area in September, when I left Kentucky it was in the 80’s, my first night in the Valentine area it got down to 41 and didn’t go above 55 for the entire time I was there. That being said pack a variety of clothes because the locals said it can be in the 70’s one day and snow the next this time of year ;)
Powder Horn is on the far side of the Merritt dam close to the entrance of the Samuel R. McKelvie National Forest. I’m from Kentucky and there is no forest in McKelvie, just a lot of prairie grass, sand and hills. Think of the desert with long grass on top. Pretty in a stark sense.
Powder Horn is a primitive campground set up with lots of trails off the main road in, a 4 wheel drive might be needed for some of the areas. There is a pit toilet and a boatramp in the main area otherwise you’ve a choice of locations to set up base camp. Merritt is all about fishing, there is a fish cleaning pavilion in the main camp area on the other side of the dam. I did not see an employee my entire time in the area, bring cash to pay for your site. Valentine was about 30 minutes away with fuel, food and some entertainment.
Wuiet campground with restrooms with plumbing and showers. Sites with and without power for tents and RVs. Miles of quiet beaches, even on holiday weekends.
Halsey National Forests campground is called Bessey Recreation Campground and has cabins, Rv sites, tent sites, as well as group and family sites. The Rv sites are Electric and gravel and are fairly level. They have picnic tables and fire rings and are spacious. And of course plenty of shade since you are in a forest.
There is a Nursery which grows the trees for the forest, a Look Out Tower which offers a panoramic view of the Sandhills, hunting, fishing, scenic drives, wildlife viewing, hiking and ATV trails, along with other activities.
It is a nice place to stop over and see.
We come here every year with a small group of friends and have a wonderful time. Whether we are out on the lake boating, or fishing, or this year trying to kayak, or by the camp fire telling stories, we always have fun. The sites are mostly shaded at Cedar Bay where we camp and are Electric only, but they are nice large sites and you have plenty of room. Everyone is very friendly. It is usually packed on weekends. Cell service can get be hard to get so prepare those teens.
I just happened upon this park as I was really tired and needed a place to stop and it's just beautiful. It's a donation Park like many in Nebraska. Almost every little small town seems to have one.This park has lots of nice Shady trees and water and a bathhouse no showers.
Only spent 1 night on our way through to the Black hills but loved the campground. Lots of pretty scenery and wildlife. Very peaceful. Nice trails. Big and deep fire pits with gravel pads and patios. Lots of ATV activity because of the great trails. Clean bathrooms/bath house, but only 4 total stalls in the main camping area. Bit of train noise during the day, but didn't really notice it overnight.
There are so many great sites here. Cedar Bay is always the busiest. Bordeman def has the best grassy sites and is great for groups. Powderhorn is the least used lake access and you can never go wrong with the quiet area of willow. The night sky is the best reason to go here. It’s one of the darkest places in the US.
Right on the middle loup river, and in the middle of nowhere this place can get busy.
Great hiking through the Sandhills. The scott lookout tower can give you views across the Sandhills for miles upon miles on a clear day. Want stars at night? You can see them all.
Roads to drive on and explore that take you to the south of the first to the Dismal river
the campsotes are all shady lots of open spaces in the csmpground too for picnics and games
don’t forget to check out the tree nursery Pretty cool to see all the trees growing as seedlings
We visited in May of 2017, and we stayed at Cedar Bay campground site AA. The area offers great views and close to unity to regional sites auch as Snake Falls, Niobrara, Valentine and more. The site sits right on the edge of the southern edge of the reservoir and is close to two boat ramps. There are. Number of beaches which offer good wading and places to cool off. Kayak access is everywhere and there is a lot of shade at each site. Our site was pretty close to showers and had electricity. Some things to look out for are cliffs which are about 10-20 ft high that lead to a drop towards the reservoir. If you are a paddler, the boats coming and going to both ramps give off some wakes which are not a big deal if the wind is not blowing. This is a great site in the Nebraska Sandhills which offers clear water and good fishing.
This is what my husband and I call a "fish camp" - meaning most of the campers are here to fish the reservoir. There were no trees in our campground, not very scenic. The toilets were flush, ok, but the showers were pay showers and did not look very good, we opted to wait until next campground!
Stay was May 3rd, 2015