Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Know Nebraska: Buffalo Bill Ranch State Recreation Area

The Buffalo Bill Ranch State Recreation Area is truly one of the hidden gems in North Platte. When we mentioned to people who live in the community that we spent the first night of our vacation there, a look of confusion crosses their face. Many have no idea it is there. Unless they are river rats, putting in their tanks, kayaks, canoes and tubes at the Ranch and taking out at either Cody Park or the Airport, many have never driven through the State Recreation Area.
The State Recreation Area is a popular spot for fishing.
The SRA has 23 trailer/RV sites with 30 and 50 amp hookups, and 6  tent sites. RV sites with electricity are $14 per night, the primitive tent sites are $7. The northern end of the campground is adjacent the North Platte River.

There is a completely unmarked (and overgrown) nature trail that heads east along the river for about half a mile, ending in a very well made blind that would be suitable for watching nature and birds. If the trail were better marked, I can envision heading out well before dawn and watching the river creatures awake in the morning.
Nature trail along the North Platte River.
A birding blind is waiting at the end of the Nature Trail - perfect for viewing the creatures making their home along the river.
For the first little bit, the trail coincides with that used by the horseback riding concessionaire at the Ranch. When the two branch, the nature trail continues to the left, following the river bank. There are benches placed periodically along the trail, though they are so overgrown, I doubt anyone uses them. Otherwise, there are no trail markers or other signage whatsoever.
The "amenities" along the trail could use with a little TLC.
Though the campground is less than two miles from Bailey Yard, we didn't notice any train noise. It is also conveniently located near the State Historical Park, the Lincoln County Historical Museum and the Golden Spike Tower. Also on the north side of town is Cody Park, with its Railroad Display.

New this year at the Buffalo Bill SRA is Dusty Trails offering horseback riding through the area and also river outfitting! He'll supply you with tubes, tanks, canoes or kayaks - whatever you fancy - and then meet you a couple of hours later at Cody Park, take you out and return you to you campsite! It's a great way to add adventure to your stay.

All in all, the Buffalo Bill Ranch State Recreation Area is a delightful, conveniently located and affordable campground near North Platte.

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