Bessey Recreation Complex and Campground

Area Status: Open
This area is Open

Bessey Ranger District - Campsite 24

For Reservations call 877-444-6777 or go to

Bessey Recreation Complex and campground is located in central Nebraska, adjacent to Middle Loup River, offering visitors opportunities to enjoy the scenery, relax, and recreate.

Natural Features:

The Nebraska National Forests and Grasslands are located in central and western Nebraska and South Dakota. This area is made up of two national forests, three national grasslands, a tree nursery and is host to a Job Corps facility.

An unusual combination of the native ponderosa pine forest and mixed grass prairies, combined with hand-planted forests, sand hills and grasslands, is unique to the National Forest System.

The campground within the Bessy Recreation Complex is located next to the Charles E. Bessey Nursery, the oldest tree nursery in the Forest Service.

Wildlife in the area abounds. Prairie chicken, sharp-tailed grouse, mule-deer, whitetailed deer, pronghorn antelope, prairie dogs, turkeys, coyotes, bobwhite quail, eagles, hawks and falcons all find habitat in surrounding ecosystems.


Waterfront activities are popular and plentiful at this facility. Adjacent to the campground, Middle Loup River is shallow and steady flowing, providing good conditions for tubing and canoeing. A seven acre pond stocked with largemouth bass, blue gill, trout and catfish offers great fishing for the whole family. There is also an accessible fishing pier.


Bessy Recreation Complex has camping sites able to accommodate tents, trailers, and RVs, including one group site and several tent-only sites.

The campground is equipped with picnic tables, campfire rings, flush toilets and drinking water. Electric hookups are available at the group site and several of the standard sites. A group picnic area is also available for use.

Restaurants, gas stations and a grocery store are available in Thedford, Nebraska, 16 miles to the west.

Nearby Attractions:

Drive or hike to the Scott Lookout Tower for a fantastic panoramic view of Nebraska's sand hills and prairies.

At a Glance

Current Conditions: Camping is available all year.  During winter, the only potable water is at the recreation building. Charcol grills are provided. Please don't bring in wood that may be infested by the Emerald Ash Borer. Campfires are frequently allowed. Fire rings, grates, and grills are provided. 
Reservations: Reservations can be made by visiting  Reservations must be made 4 days ahead of arrival and can be made up to 6 months in advance for the standard sites or 12 months in advance for the group site. There are first-come/first-served sites in addition to the sites where a reservation can be made.
Area Amenities: Interpretive Site,Accessible,Tent camping,Camping trailer,Picnic tables,Toilets,Drinking water,Parking
Fees Fees for standard campsites are $8 for nonelectric sites and $11 for sites with electricity. Fees for the picnic shelter are $25 per day. Fees for the group site are $75 per day.
Open Season: Year Round
Usage: Medium-Heavy
Closest Towns: Halsey, NE
Water: Drinking Water
Restroom: Vault Toilet
Information Center: Off-road vehicles can only be ridden to the trailhead and back within the campground Horse corrals available at primitive campsites The main restroom facilities and showers will be closed from mid-October through mid-May Double camping in sites prohibited

General Information


GPS Info. (Latitude, Longitude):
41.90061, -100.29914
41°54'2"N, 100°17'57"W

From Interstate 80, travel north from North Platte, Nebraska on U.S. Hwy 83 for 65 miles to Thedford, Nebraska. Continue East for 16 miles on Nebraska Hwy 2, then South .05 miles from Hwy 2 on State Spur 86B.


Accessible fishing access, flush toilets, group shelter and picnic area.

Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information



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Picnic tables At each site
Drinking water Available, no hookups
Interpretive Site Discovery Loop arboretum
Toilets Vault
Parking Available, two vehicles per campsite
Tent camping
Accessible Some sites are accessible
Camping trailer