Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Know Nebraska: Willow Creek State Recreation Area and Pierce Nebraska

After leaving Victoria Springs, we detoured through Ord, and made time for a visit with Caleb Pollard at Scratchtown Brewing Company - and bought a Growler to take with us!

Our next stop was our favorite campground on our whole trip. Willow Creek State Recreation Area near Pierce, Nebraska. It was a little off-putting at the very beginning, though. We arrived to find that the information hut at the entrance was closed, and no map of the campground available, or even posted on the signs. We drove through several camping areas before coming upon the campground host, who was very helpful. However, when we asked for a map, she told us "We don't have any - you have to download them before you come." Hmmm... great prior planning on the part of the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. You can click HERE for a copy of what we should have downloaded!
One of our favorite aspects of Willow Creek - 8 miles of improved hiking/biking trails!
Creating such a wonderful area as Willow Creek takes a lot of partnerships!
The campground is divided into three main areas, that include 100 camping pads, 64 with 30 amp electrical hookups, 19 with 50 amp electrical hookups. Amenities include "Picnic tables and shelters, fire grates, water, showers, modern restrooms, accessible fishing pier, archery field course, unsupervised swimming, two playgrounds and an 8-mile hiking/horseback trail around the lake. Seven rock jetties provide some fine fishing access."

One of the jetties that provide fishing access.
Pierce, Nebraska is a wonderful little community, and very worth using Willow Creek as your hub to spend some time exploring the area. Nearby is Cuthills Vineyards, and it's an easy drive to other attractions in the area such as the Neligh Mill and Ashfall Fossil Beds, among many others.


Unfortunately, the lake had tested positive for algae contamination, so was off-limits for us and Murphy. We hadn't really been counting on a swim, but I did feel sorry for the many kids who were having a last blast of summer camping trip.
All in all, we loved our time at Willow Creek. There are a lot of other campgrounds and public lands to explore in Nebraska, but we hope our travels take us back there some day soon. This area is a wonderful example of what is possible when people get together - including the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission - and really expand upon an area's assets.

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