There are 5 National Parks in Nebraska.
There are no designated National Parks however the state does have two National Monuments, a National Historical park, two national rivers, and several National Historic Trails.
Twenty-three miles East of Scotts Bluff National Monument is Chimney Rock National Historic Site, a site jointly managed by History Nebraska and the National Park Service.
National Parks in Nebraska
Much of Nebraska's parks tell the story of the Westward expansion of the United States.
During the 19th century, tens of thousands of people passed through Nebraska on their way West including the Oregon Trail, the Mormon Trail, the Pony Express Trail, the California Trail, and the Lewis and Clark Expedition.
Several of these trails are not designated National Park sites but are affiliated park sites where the affiliated site receives administrative and/or financial support from the National Park Service
Top Things to do - Explore the Agate Visitor Center, Fossil Diorama and Displays, James H. Cook Collection, Walk the 1-mile Daemonelix trail and the 2.8-mile Fossil Hills Trail, Be a Junior Park Ranger
Lodging - There is no lodging within the park. However, there are several hotel/motel options in the surrounding communities.
Camping - There are no campgrounds within the Agate Fossil National Beds NM
Park Address - 301 River Road, Harrison 69346
Agate Fossil Beds NM is located in northwestern Nebraska approximately 47 miles north of Scottsbluff. The park offers the opportunity to view fossils of ancient mammals and American Indian artifacts.
This national monument was established to protect the deposit of fossils here in the mostly undeveloped Niobrara River Valley. It is hard to imagine that twenty million years ago this part of Nebraska was savanna grassland. The grasslands were home to a predatory bear-dog, small rhinoceros, small camel-like animals, and land-dwelling beavers.
Visitors can check out the National Park Service visitor center with life-sized model skeletons of many of the mammals whose fossils have been located here. Visitors can also check out a collection of Native American artifacts. There is a 2.7-mile interpretive Fossil Hills Trail that crosses the Niobrara River and University and Carnegie Hills.
Top Things to do - Explore Three Miles of Trails, Explore America's History through Quilts, EarthCaching at Homestead, Visit the Homestead Heritage Center and Museum, Visit the Freeman School, Visit the Palmer-Epard Cabi , The Education Center
Lodging - There are no lodging options within the park. The nearest lodging, dining, fueling, and medical services are located in Beatrice, Nebraska 4 miles east of the monument on West State Highway 4.
Camping - There are no campgrounds within the park
Park Address - 8523 West State Highway 4, Beatrice, NE 68310
On January 13, 2021, Homestead National Monument of America was redesignated as Homestead National Historical Park.
Homestead National Monument of America is located in southeastern Nebraska approximately 40 miles south of Lincoln. The park is open year-round and offers the opportunity to learn more about pioneer life.
The Homestead Act of 1862 was signed into law by President Abraham Lincoln. This act transferred vast areas of land from the public domain to private ownership. To claim land settlers had to choose a 16-acre plot of land, apply for and pay a fee to the land office and then build a house and begin farming on 10 acres of land.
Homestead National Monument of America was established in 1936 on land once claimed by Daniel Freeman on January 1, 1863. His descendants sold the land to the Department of Interior for the purpose of creating the national monument.
Visitors can explore the Homestead Heritage Center which is filled with interpretive programs and exhibits. The park also includes a 100-acre tract of restored tallgrass prairie and 40 acres of a mesic bur-oak forest.
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Top Things to do - Explore the Water Trails, visit Lewis & Clark Visitor Center at Gavins Point Dam, The Durham Museum, Fontenelle Forest, Sergeant Floyd River Museum & Welcome Center, Ponca Tribal Museum, DeSoto and Boyer Chute National Wildlife Refuges, Missouri River Basin Lewis and Clark Visitor Center, Bird Watching
Lodging - While there are no specific accommodations directly within the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail in Nebraska, visitors can find lodging options in nearby towns and cities. Crofton, Nebraska, near the Gavins Point Dam and Missouri River, offers local accommodations. Additional lodging choices can be found in Yankton, South Dakota, Vermillion, South Dakota, and Sioux City, Iowa, depending on the part of the trail you plan to explore. Omaha, Nebraska, serves as a larger city with various lodging options and can be a convenient base for those exploring the eastern Nebraska segment of the trail.
Camping - Camping options directly along the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail in Nebraska are limited due to its route mainly following roadways and waterways. However, visitors can find camping opportunities in nearby areas. These include campgrounds in the Missouri National Recreational River area along the Missouri River, state parks within driving distance, private campgrounds in nearby towns, and potential opportunities for dispersed and backcountry camping in nearby national forests or grasslands.
Park Address - Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail Headquarters and Visitor Center, 601 Riverfront Drive, Omaha, NE 68102
Clark NHT is approximately 4,900 miles long and crosses sixteen states following the Lewis and Clark Expedition. The Lewis and Clark expedition led by Meriwether Lewis and William Clark officially started in May 1804 and ended in September 1806.
President Thomas Jefferson was determined to send an expedition to explore western North America and find a feasible water route to the Pacific Ocean.
The Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail in Nebraska includes:
Indian Cave State Park
Brownville Riverside Park
Missouri River Basin Lewis & Clark Interpretative Trail and Visitor Center
Eugene T. Mahoney State Park
Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail Headquarters and Visitor Center - Omaha, Nebraska
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Missouri National Recreational River
Top Things to do - Canoeing and Kayaking, Fishing, Bird Watching, Wildlife Viewing, Scenic Drives, Hiking, Biking
Lodging - There are no motels or rental cabins within Missouri National Recreational River. Communities and partners surrounding the national park offer a wide choice of accommodations including motels, cabins, beds and breakfasts, and campgrounds.
Camping - Missouri National Recreational River offers limited camping opportunities within the park except for primitive camping available at Bow Creek, Goat Island, and Green Island Recreation Areas. All visitors planning to camp overnight in the park must obtain a free camping permit.
Park Address - Headquarters, 508 East 2nd Street, Yankton, SD 57078
The Missouri National Recreational River runs from northeastern Nebraska to southeastern South Dakota. The park includes 98 miles of the Missouri River along with 20 miles of the lower Niobrara River and 8 miles of Verdigre Creek. The park offers boating, fishing and bird watching.
The Corp of Discovery led by Lewis and Clark followed the Missouri River for its entire length.
Niobrara National Scenic River
Top Things to do - Bike the Cowboy Trail, Float the Niobrara River, Shoot Winter Photography at Fort Falls, Hike to Fort Falls, Hunting, Fishing, Join Junior Ranger Programs
Lodging -There are no facilities within Niobrara National Scenic River. There are many restaurants, grocery stores, hotels, and campgrounds along the Niobrara National Scenic River that are owned by local businesses or service providers.
Camping - The park does not manage any campgrounds
Park Address - 214 W US Highway 20, Valentine 69201
The Niobrara National Scenic River is located in Northern Nebraska approximately 300 miles northwest of Omaha. The park offers the opportunity to enjoy canoeing, kayaking, and other water activities.
In 1991, 76 miles of the Niobrara River were designated as a national scenic river. The river begins in Wyoming and winds more than 500 miles across northern Nebraska.
The park offers epic opportunities to get out on the water and enjoy time in a canoe, kayak, or raft. The most popular section is just east of the town of Valentine, Nebraska.
Top Things to do - Drive the Scotts Bluff Summit Road, Hiking Scotts Bluff National Monument, Scotts Bluff Ranger Programs, Viewing the William Henry Jackson Collection, Become a Scotts Bluff Junior Ranger, Scotts Bluff Cell Phone Audio Tour, Saddle Rock Trail Geology Hiking Tour, Bicycling at Scotts Bluff National Monument, Help Your Pet Become a B.A.R.K. Ranger
Lodging - Scotts Bluff National Monument can be found in Gering, Nebraska. Although there aren't any lodging facilities within the monument, visitors have a range of accommodation choices in Gering, the nearby Scottsbluff, and the surrounding area.
Camping - Scotts Bluff National Monument does not offer on-site lodging or camping facilities.
Park Address - 190276 Old Oregon Trail, Gering, NE 69341
Scotts Bluff NM is located in western Nebraska approximately 7 miles southwest of Scottsbluff. The park is open year-round offering hiking, driving the Summit Road, and a park visitor center.
During the 19th century, pioneers on the Oregon Trail followed the North Platte River when possible heading west. The geologic formation called Scotts Bluff became a popular landmark for pioneers.
It was so significant that it became the first US national monument in 1919. Visitors can reach the top of the bluff on the 1.6 miles Saddle Rock Trail or by the Summit Road. From the top, you can see the Oregon Trail.
List of National Parks in Nebraska
Nebraska National Parks include National Historic Trails, National Recreation Rivers, National Monuments, and More!
These parks receive over 300 thousand visitors a year. Have you visited these parks?
- Agate Fossil Beds National Monument
- Homestead National Historical Park
- Missouri National Recreational River (also South Dakota)
- Niobrara National Scenic River
- Scotts Bluff National Monument
- California National Historic Trail (California Trail) (CA, CO, ID, KS, MO, NE, NV, OR, UT, WY)
- Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail (ID, IL, IA, KS, MO, MT, NE, ND, OR, SD, WA)
- Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail (Mormon Trail) (IL, IA, NE, UT, WY)
- Oregon National Historic Trail (Oregon Trail) (ID, KS, MO, NE, OR, WA, WY)
- Pony Express National Historic Trail ( CA, CO, KS, MO, NE, NV, UT, WY)
One park you might expect to see listed is Chimney Rock National Historic Site. Chimney Rock was designated a National Historic Site on August 9, 1956, and today is maintained and operated by the Nebraska State Historical Society.
The National Parks in Nebraska receive over 300K visitors producing over $14 million in economic benefits.
Nebraska National Parks include 2 Wild and Scenic Rivers managed by the Park Service, 5 National Trails managed by the Park Service, and 1,094 National Register of Historic Places Listings.
The National Parks in Nebraska also includes 20 National Historic Landmarks, 5 National Natural Landmarks, and 114 places Recorded by the Heritage Documentation Program. There are over 1.3 million objects in the Nebraska National Park Museum Collection. Along with 148 Archeological Parks within the Nebraska National Parks.
If you have dreamed of working in the National Parks make sure and check out our article on How to Become a Park Ranger. Working in the parks is one of the most amazing jobs you can find. There is just something special about waking up and knowing you are going to work in a beautiful park.
Planning a National Park vacation? America the Beautiful/National Park Pass covers entrance fees for an entire year to all US National Park Sites and over 2,000 Federal Recreation Fee Sites.
The park pass covers everyone in the car for per vehicle sites and for up to 4 adults for per-person sites.
Buy on REI.com and REI will donate 10% of pass proceeds to the National Forest Foundation, National Park Foundation and the U.S. Endowment for Forestry & Communities.
Free Entrance Days -Mark your calendars with the five free entrance days the National Park Service offers annually.
For a fun adventure, check out Escape Campervans. These campervans have built-in beds, kitchen area with refrigerators, and more. You can have them fully set up with kitchen supplies, bedding, and other fun extras. They are painted with epic designs you can't miss!
National Parks in neighboring states
For an entire list of US National Parks head over to our list of US National Parks in Alphabetical Order. We also have a printable checklist of all 418 National Park properties in the United States available.