Toadstool Geologic Park is noted for its unusual geological formations, some in the shape of toadstools, and scientifically valuable fossil deposits. Our interpretive kiosk explains and illustrates the local geology and provides information and history about the local grasslands. During your hike look for signs of fossils that give scientists insight into the behavior of animals as they passed through this area as far back as 30 million years ago. In order for others to enjoy viewing these fossil resources collection is prohibited.
The trailhead at the campground provides access to three hiking trails to choose from with varying degrees of difficulty. A one mile loop highlights many examples of eroded clay/sandstone formations. While on the trail, follow our interpretive brochure to learn the fascinating geology of the area.
The Bison Trail leaves the interpretive loop at the half way point and continues up the canyon to Hudson-Meng Education and Research Center. Toadstool Campground to Hudson Meng is 3 miles one way.
A five mile loop begins at the campground and proceeds on the graveled section of the interpretive trail for a short distance before heading north through the badlands and grasslands on the Great Plains Trail. After 1.5 miles the Great Plains Trail intersects with the 918 Road. Follow the signs to return to the Bison Trail and Toadstool Campground. The loop can be done in reverse going the other direction on the interpretive trail as you leave the campground.
The Great Plains Trail developed by the Great Plains Trail Alliance is a cross country network of public land trails and roads beginning in Guadalupe National Park and ending at the Canadian Border. The Bison Trail, 918 Road and part of the 5 mile loop are part of this network. Great Plains Trail information can be found at www.greatplainstrail.org
The campground consists of six sites with picnic tables and fire rings and upright grills and two accessible vault toilets. There is no water and the campground is open year round with limited services from mid- November to early May. In the off season pack in/pack out.
Special features : In 1984 the Forest Service constructed a sod house near the site of a sod house built in 1929. The new soddie provides a look into the past when the homesteaders on the grasslands used the only abundant material available. The original sod house was lived in briefly before being abandoned and signs of the original structure no longer exist.
Fossils and artifacts are protected under federal laws.
You must really want to go here as the access is via 12-13 miles of dirt road from either the north or the south. Our low-clearance van had no problem so unless it is muddy from the rain, I would think any car could handle the roads. There are six sites spaced a good distance apart; each has a covered picnic table (essential in the summer sun), bbq grate, fire pit, and garbage AND recycling bins. The only relief from the harsh sun (aside from the covered picnic tables) was a strong breeze. Summer is likely not the best time to camp here! There is no water available and the pit toilets were reasonably clean (but no hand sanitizer). There is a one-mile self-guided interpretive trail, which was very interesting and there are a couple of other hiking trails, which we did not explore. We met a couple who had honeymooned here 42 years ago! The only annoyance was the biting flies! You can't beat the price - $5 ($2.50 with senior pass) but it was posted that there is a proposed price increase to $15.
Toadstool park has a small number of nonreservable camping spots that are nicely spaced, with honor system payment on site. Toilets are available but no running water or power. Access to the park is via dirt roads that can be difficult after heavy rain. Beautiful place to explore, where we found very friendly other campers.
The park is located ~20 miles from Crawford, Ne. Many of those miles are gravel roads. The park is full of a lot of very neat rock formations. There is a ~1 mile long looped hiking trail inside the park that has markers so you can read about the land and how the rock was formed. There is an outhouse style bathroom available and half dozen camping spots with fire rings.