Oglala National Grasslands


Pine Ridge Ranger District - Oglala National Grassland

Located in the most northwestern corner of Nebraska, north of Crawford, you'll find the expansive landscape of the Oglala National Grasslands. This unique area consists of native mixed-grass prairie, with forested streambeds and steep, worn, formations created by water and wind erosion on layers of siltstone, and clay. 

Find your way to the Hudson-Meng Bone Bed site where you can take a tour and learn about the history of this area, walk through the unique features of the Toadstool Geologic Park, or just spend some quiet time in the wide open spaces of the 94,000 acres of mixed grass prairies.

The Oglala Grassland is the best place in Nebraska to view pronghorns and a popular place to view prairie dog colonies along the site’s northern border. 

Antelope travel across a prairie A wetland area at Oglala National Grassland Autumn colors light up the creek beds Yellow coneflowers in bloom A prairie dog sits on hind legs

At a Glance

Restrictions:
  • Certified noxious weed-free hay/feed is required on national forest lands.
  • A permit is required for the collection of vertebrate paleontological specimens, including their trace fossils (tracks) on any federal lands. 
Operated By: Forest Service
Information Center: Pine Ridge Ranger District 
16524 Hwy 385
Chadron, NE 69337
308-432-6855
308-432-0304 TDD

Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information

Activities

Campground Camping

Backcountry or primitive camping is allowed anywhere on the National Forest and National Grasslands in Nebraska. Campfires are allowed unless restricted due to high fire danger.

Toadstool Park is noted for unusual geologic formations and scientifically valuable fossil deposits; an interpretive kiosk at the campground explains and illustrates the area geology. 

Areas for Campground Camping at Oglala National Grasslands

Day Hiking

Toadstool Park is noted for unusual geologic formations and scientifically valuable fossil deposits; an interpretive kiosk at the campground explains and illustrates the area geology. A one-mile loop trail from the picnic area highlights many examples of eroded clay/sandstone formations. The 1-mile self-guided interpretive loop trail (first 0.3 miles accessible) accesses the 3 mile Bison Trail to Hudson Meng Bison Bonebed.

Areas for Day Hiking at Oglala National Grasslands

Horse Riding

While there are no developed horse facilities on the National Grassland, the wide-open spaces are especially well suited for horseback travel. Please leave the numerous gates as you find them to assure that livestock grazing systems work as they are designed. Certified weed-free feed for recreational stock is required on the National Grassland. 

Viewing Wildlife

The Oglala Grassland is the best place in Nebraska to view pronghorns and a popular place to view prairie dog colonies along the site’s northern border. You are likely to see red-tailed hawks, Swainson’s hawks, ferruginous hawks, and golden eagles. Swift foxes can be found here too, but they are rare and not very active during the day. The area is also a good site for coyotes and badgers. Grassland birds also reside here such as upland sandpipers, chestnut-collard longspurs, lark buntings, and Brewer’s blackbirds.

Interpretive Areas

Toadstool Park is noted for unusual geologic formations and scientifically valuable fossil deposits; an interpretive kiosk at the campground explains and illustrates the area geology. 

A visit to Hudson-Meng Bison Kill Research & Visitor Center is a visit to a modern archeological excavation in progress.

Areas for Interpretive Areas at Oglala National Grasslands

Visitor Centers

A visit to Hudson-Meng Bison Kill Research & Visitor Center help you to understand why this Bonebed is such an important discovery.

Areas for Visitor Centers at Oglala National Grasslands

Picnicking

Areas for Picnicking at Oglala National Grasslands

Rockhounding

The Oglala National Grassland and surrounding area is a virtual paradise for those interested in rocks, minerals, gemstones and fossils. Those who collect these treasures are often called rockhounds. Rockhounding is allowed anywhere on the National Grasslands, with some restrictions. Collecting on private land requires permission from the owner.

A permit is required for the collection of vertebrate paleontological specimens, including their trace fossils (tracks) on any federal lands. These permits are issued only for scientific research and educational purposes. For further information, contact us at 308-432-0300.

Restrictions associated with rockhounding are as follows: collection of any objects for commercial purposes is prohibited; trading and bartering are considered commercial activities. USDA, Forest Service policy and guidance in 36 CFR 261.9 states "The following are prohibited: digging in, excavating, disturbing, injuring, destroying, or in any way damaging any prehistoric, historic or archeological objects."

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities

Location

 
  Latitude : 
42.917873

  Longitude : 
-103.599093