Steer Creek Campground

Area Status: Open
Bessey Ranger District - Steer Creek Campground

Tucked in the shade of ponderosa pines planted in the early 1900's, this 23-unit campground is located in the southeast corner of the Samuel R. McKelvie National Forest. A hand water pump, picnic tables, fire rings, and modern vault toilets make this an attractive base from which to explore the Sandhills.  The Blue Jay Trail, a one-mile nature loop, starts and ends at the campgound.  

For horseback riders, a corral with 8 stalls is available, with a manure bunk nearby.  We ask that horses not be in individual campsites unless being saddled. 

Samuel R. McKelvie National Forest, Niobrara River The Steer Creek valley at sunrise. A close-up of a box turtle. A mountain biker and a cow on the same trail wonder about each other.

At a Glance

Operational Hours: Open all year, 24 / 7
Reservations: None; the campground is first-come, first-served.
Area Amenities: Tent camping,Camping trailer,Picnic tables,Toilets
Fees: It costs $15.00 per night to camp.  Fee envelopes and a collection box are located near the entrance.  Please pay your fees within 30 minutes of selecting your site.
Usage: Light-Medium
Busiest Season: Rifle deer season, mid-November
Closest Towns: Nenzel, about 16 miles north, has a post office.  Valentine, approximately 40 miles north and east, is a full-service community.
Water: Yes
Restroom: Yes

General Information


From Highway 20 at Nenzel, go south on State Spur 16F for 18 miles.  The campground will be to the west (right).  

From Valentine, head south on Highway 97 for 26 miles, then turn right onto the Merritt Dam Road.  Continue on the Merritt Dam Road (County Road 5) for 15 miles.  At the T, turn left onto at State Spur 16F and go 2 miles to the campround.


All sites and the vault toilets are accessible.

Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information


Campground Camping

The campsites have picnic tables and fire rings.  Two vault toilets serve the campground.  One hand water pump provides potable water for people and livestock.  There is an 8-stall corral for riding stock.

No. of Sites 23
Fire Information Campfires are allowed in the fire rings provided. Please only burn local wood to prevent the spread of the emerald ash borer.
No. of Accessible sites 23
Sleeping Shelter No.
Difficulty Level: Easy to Intermediate

Day Hiking

Day Hiking
Difficulty Level: Easy to Intermediate

Horse Camping

No horses or ATVs in campground unless being saddled.

No. of Sites 23
Reservation Info None
Fire Information Campfires are allowed, fire rings, grates, and grills are provided. Please don't bring in wood that may be infested by the Emerald Ash Borer.
Loading Ramp No.
Watering Tank No.
Hitching Rails Yes.
No. of Accessible sites Accessible vault toilet.

Horse Riding

Wide open spaces with plenty of prairie. Rolling hills,



Camping trailer:
Picnic tables:
Tent camping:
Toilets: Two modern vault toilets

Quick Links

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities


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