Nebraska Game and Parks Commission
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Ponca SP, NE

Status: Open year round.
Max reservation window: Sun Jul 03 2016



Situated astride the picturesque Missouri River bluffs in northeastern Nebraska, Ponca State Park is the eastern gateway to the 59-mile section of the Missouri National Recreational River, one of two unchannelized stretches of the river bordering Nebraska


Ponca State Park features one of the state's most comprehensive outdoor/environmental education programs. Onsite staff and volunteers help guide and educate visitors on the history, biology, ecology, astronomy, geology and archeology of the area. Many how-to programs on outdoor recreation are also given, including fishing, backpacking, wilderness survival, cooking and others. During late spring, summer and early fall, programs are given daily for both adults and children.

With more than 20 miles of trails, the park provides hikers and mountain bikers many opportunities to explore the park's backcountry. Several mountain bike races are held every year making the Park's trail system noted for its diverse and often challenging trails.

In the summer, swimmers can cool off at the Park's swimming pool where lifeguards are on duty(As a general rule, the swimming pool does not open until the second Saturday of June and is open on weekends only from the middle of August until Labor Day). Experienced wranglers guide organized horseback rides through the scenic woodland bluffs and river overlooks. The Highland Oaks Public Golf Course is located on the southern boundary of the park. The challenging 9-hole course offers spectacular park vistas and a luxurious clubhouse. A boat ramp and 2 miles of river access offers boaters and anglers many opportunities to experience the Missouri National Recreational River. A canoe/kayak launch is located 6 miles upriver on Ponca State Park's North Addition offering a more adventurous outdoor experience. The park also has Youth Fishing Programs twice a week and a Fishing Tackle Loaner Program. Hayrack tours are available during the spring, summer and fall. Reservations are taken for groups of 15 or more. Haunted hayrack rides are given for two Saturday nights during the Park's annual Hallowfest - in October. Call the park office for specific dates and for when reservations for the hayrides can be made as space is limited. The park has an annual Mother's Day and Father's Day Buffet along with periodic cookouts on holiday weekends and special events. Call the park office for details. Buffalo burgers, Lewis and Clark Stew and fish fries are given in the summer and fall. Call the park for more details.

The Missouri National Recreational River Resource and Education Center houses the park office and new opportunities in education and recreation are being developed. This 17,000 sq. ft. facility has a large interpretive display/exhibit area, a field laboratory and conference rooms. Meeting rooms will accommodate groups up to 250 or can be subdivided for smaller gatherings. A fully-equipped kitchen is available for rent.

Campground Notes: Ponca State Park provides excellent camping. Paved electrical camp sites in two modern campgrounds with 30/50 amp electrical hookups. There are showers, picnic tables, fire pits, dump station, and playground. Modern facilities operate from April - October, weather permitting. Primitive camping is available year-round.

Cabin Notes: Ponca State Park has 14 modern, two-bedroom, air-conditioned housekeeping cabins. Each has two double beds, bedding, bathroom with shower, kitchenette and large screened porch. Kitchenettes are furnished with a range, refrigerator, microwave, coffee maker, cooking utensils, dinette, dishes and tableware for six. Lodging is normally available from mid April through the mid-November, but dates are subject to change.

Services & Amenities:

Within Facility
  • Admin Service, Copying/Faxing
  • Archeological Sites
  • Archery
  • Bath House
  • Bicycling
  • Bird Watching
  • Boat Ramp
  • Cabins
  • Campground Host
  • Camping, Improved Site
  • Camping, Primitive
  • Catering
  • Comfort Station
  • Dining
  • Dump Station
  • Dump Station, Camper
  • Emergency Services
  • Fire Rings
  • First Aid Supplies
  • Fishing, PARK LAKE
  • Fishing, River/Stream
  • Golf
  • Grills
  • Group Camping
  • Group/Community Facility
  • Hiking
  • Hiking Difficult
  • Hiking Moderate
  • Hiking Trail
  • Horse Rentals
  • Hunting
  • Information/Contact Station
  • Interpretive Center
  • Interpretive Display
  • Jogging/Running
  • Kiosk
  • Lodging Cabins
  • Lodging, Group Facilities
  • Mountain Biking
  • Nature Center
  • Nature Study
  • Newspapers
  • Office/Ranger Station
  • Parking
  • Pay Telephone
  • Photography
  • Picnic Area
  • Picnic Pavilion
  • Picnic Shelter
  • Picnic Tables
  • Picnicing
  • Playground
  • Restrooms
  • Retail, Store/Gift Shop
  • Scenic Driving Routes
  • Showers
  • Sightseeing
  • Stargazing
  • Sunbathing
  • Swimming - Pool
  • Telephone
  • Trails - Hiking/Walking, Easy
  • Trails, Bicycle
  • Trails, Difficult Hiking
  • Trails, Horse
  • Trails, Moderate Hiking
  • Trails, Mountain Bike
  • Walking
  • Water Access, River/Stream
  • Water Drinking
  • Wildflower Viewing
  • Wildlife Viewing
Greater Than 1 Mile
  • Fuel, Boats
  • Fuel, Vehicles
  • Golfing
  • Grocery Store
  • Laundry
  • Motel
  • Restaurant
  • Retail, Drinks/Ice/Snack
  • Retail, Seasonal Concessions
  • Retail,Supplies
  • Town
Alerts and Important Information
Office Details

Ponca State Park Office Hours:

Memorial Weekend - Labor Day Hours are 8 a.m. - 8:00 p.m. Saturday - Thursday; 8 a.m. - 10 p.m. Friday; Labor Day - Mid November Hours are 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. daily; End of November - April 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday - Satuday, 1:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. Sunday.

Ponca State Park is along the Missouri River and Cabins 1-14 are available mid April through mid November. Ponca State Park 4 bedroom Mini Lodge cabins are available year round.Cabin Check-in is at 4 p.m. and check-out is at 11 a.m. Check-in prior to 4 o'clock is not allowed. If arriving after office hours, please make arrangements with park office for cabin check-in procedures.

When a reservation is made one year to the date in advance, no cancellation of that arrival date is allowed.

Swimming pool is open mid June through mid August. Please call park office for detail information regarding pool operating hours.

Camping (Tents & Campers) is prohibited in the cabin loop area of the park. Guests wishing to camp must use the designated camping area.

A Nebraska State Park Permit is required to enter this park area. A Park Entry Permit is $25 for an Annual Permit, $12.50 for a Duplicate Permit (used for that second vehicle in your family) or a Daily Permit which is $5 per day you are staying. You may purchase your Park Permit prior to your stay by shopping online at All vehicles entering are required to have a valid park entry permit.

Getting There:

GPS Info. (Latitude, Longitude):
42.60972, -96.71722
42°36'35"N, 96°43'2"W

2 miles North of Ponca, NE on Spur 26E. About 25 miles north/west of Sioux City, IA on the Missouri River.

From Omaha, we are about 2 hours. North on I-29 to just south of Sioux City. Take the Highway 20 West about 14 miles. Turn North (right) on Highway 12. It is 9 miles to Ponca from this point. Turn into the town of Ponca - there is a sign on each intersection and you will dead end into the park.

From Lincoln we are about 3 hours. Take Highway 77 North to South Sioux City. Go west on Highway 20 to Highway 12. It is 9 miles to Ponca. Turn into Ponca, there is a sign on each intersection and you will dead end into the park.

Contact Information:

Mailing Address:

Ponca SP
88090 Spur 26 E
Ponca  NE  68770

Phone Number:

Project Office: (402)755-2284
Photo: Ponca SP Photo: Ponca SP Photo: Ponca SP Photo: Ponca SP Photo: Ponca SP