Pine Ridge Ranger District

Click here for information on OGLALA NATIONAL GRASSLAND

 

NEBRASKA NATIONAL FOREST

Camping

Overnight camping in developed sites is on a first-come, first-served basis. Campfires are allowed unless restrictions are posted.
Red Cloud Campground site features 13 sites with picnic tables and fire grates, and a vault toilet. Overnight camping -- $5 fee charged from mid-May to mid-November, no charge for day use, open year-round. How to Get There - Travel eight miles south of Chadron on U.S. Highway 385.

Backcountry or primitive camping (no facilities) is allowed anywhere on the National Forest. Practicing Leave No Trace principles ensures that the next person to visit will have the same sense of discovery as those who came before. The seven principles are: Plan ahead and prepare, Camp and travel on durable surfaces, Dispose of waste properly, Leave what you find, Minimize campfire impacts, Respect wildlife, Be considerate of other visitors.

Hiking and Biking

Approximately 80 miles of marked trails make up the Pine Ridge Trail system. The easy-to-follow trails accommodate hikers, horseback riders, and mountain bikers. This trail system consists of several trailheads: East Ash, West Ash, Coffee Mill, Soldier Creek, Spotted Tail, Strong Canyon, Roberts, and Outrider Trailheads. Trail and facility locations are available on the (2002) recreation map featuring the Pine Ridge Ranger District and Oglala National Grassland.

Horse Riding and Camping

Outrider Trailhead and Roberts Tract Trailhead & Campground are popular access points to the Nebraska National Forest. Outrider Trailhead has corrals and a fully accessible rider ramp. Roberts Tract Trailhead consists of horse corrals, a fully accessible rider ramp, modern vault toilet, hand water pump, camp sites, and picnic tables. The Nebraska National Forest requires all feed and forage transported or used on the national forest or national grasslands to be certified free of noxious weeds and weed seeds. For more information, call 308-432-0300.

Picnic Areas

There are some unique picnicing sites in the Pine Ridge Ranger District. There is no fee for day use.

Off Highway Vehicle Travel

The Pine Ridge Ranger District of the Nebraska National Forest is in the process of developing a travel management plan where motorized travel will be limited to designated routes. Until then, the Pine Ridge Ranger District of the Nebraska National Forest is open unless designated closed. To reduce soil erosion, use existing roads as much as possible. Be sure your OHV is equipped with spark arrestors and other safety features. Contact the ranger district office at 308-432-0300 for area closures or closure due to fire danger.

Special Places

Pine Ridge National Recreation Area - This 6,600-acre area is designed to provide a primitive/semi-primitive recreational opportunity in a natural environment and is managed for non-motorized recreation.
The primary access point is from Roberts Trailhead. It consists of horse corrals, a fully accessible rider ramp, modern vault toilet, hand water pump, and picnic tables. A $8 fee is charged for camping at Roberts Trailhead from mid-May to mid-November; no charge for day use, open year round. Hiking, horses, and mountain bikes are allowed. The 3 mile Loop Trail south from the trailhead connects to the Pine Ridge National Recreation Area, which traverses east-west through the Pine Ridge.
How to Get There - Roberts Trailhead campground is located eight miles west of Chadron on U.S. Highway 20 and seven miles south on Eleson Road, then 1 1/2 miles east on Bethel Road.

OGLALA NATIONAL GRASSLAND

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. The campground consists of 6 sites with picnic tables and fire grates, and fully accessible modern vault toilets. A $3 per vehicle day use fee or $5 per night camping fee is charged from mid-May through mid-November.
How to Get There: Travel four miles north of Crawford on State Highway 2 and 71, then 15 miles northwest on Toadstool Road.

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 .3 miles accessible) accesses the 3 mile Bison Trail to Hudson Meng Bison Bonebed. Pick up an interpretive brochure at the trailhead to learn about the area's fascinating geology. A reconstructed sod house provides a look into the past when homesteaders on the prairies used the only abundant building material available. A $3 per vehicle day use fee is charged from mid-May through mid-November.

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. Call the Pine Ridge Ranger District at 308-432-0300 for local providers. Be sure to bring plenty of water for both you and your horse.

Hunting: Big Game, Upland Game, Varmint Hunting

All areas are open for public hunting and fishing under state rules and regulations. Shooting a firearm within 150 yards of a developed recreation site or across a forest road is prohibited (36 CFR 261.10.d.1).  Big Game archery and firearm opportunities include white-tailed and mule deer, and antelope. See Nebraska Game and Parks for license information.

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."

Special Places

Soldier Creek Wilderness Area is 7,794 acres. Facilities at the trailhead and campground include a graveled parking area, hand water pump, modern accessible vault toilets, fire grates, and picnic tables. A well-developed trail system of 17 miles in and adjacent to the Soldier Creek Wilderness allows hikers and horseback riders a variety of loop trail choices. The Wilderness is closed to mountain bikes and motorized vehicles. A $8 fee is charged for camping at the Trailhead from mid-May to mid-November, no charge for day use.
How to Get There - The campground and trailhead are 2 1/2 miles west of Crawford on U.S. Highway 20 to Fort Robinson, then north on Soldier Creek Road for six miles





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