Status: Open year round.
Max reservation window: Tue Apr 21 2015
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:
- Admin Service, Copying/Faxing
- Archeological Sites
- Bath House
- Bird Watching
- Boat Ramp
- CAMPING, BACKCOUNTRY
- Campground Host
- Camping, Improved Site
- Camping, Primitive
- Comfort Station
- Dump Station
- Dump Station, Camper
- Emergency Services
- Fire Rings
- First Aid Supplies
- Fishing, PARK LAKE
- Fishing, River/Stream
- Group Camping
- Group/Community Facility
- HORSEBACK RIDING
- Hiking Difficult
- Hiking Moderate
- Hiking Trail
- Horse Rentals
- Information/Contact Station
- Interpretive Center
- Interpretive Display
- LIFEGUARDS (SEASONAL)
- Lodging Cabins
- Lodging, Group Facilities
- MEETING SPACE
- Mountain Biking
- Nature Center
- Nature Study
- Office/Ranger Station
- PROGRAMS, INSTRUCTIONAL
- PROGRAMS, NATURE
- Pay Telephone
- Picnic Area
- Picnic Pavilion
- Picnic Shelter
- Picnic Tables
- Retail, Store/Gift Shop
- Scenic Driving Routes
- Swimming - Pool
- Trails - Hiking/Walking, Easy
- Trails, Bicycle
- Trails, Difficult Hiking
- Trails, Horse
- Trails, Moderate Hiking
- Trails, Mountain Bike
- Water Access, River/Stream
- Water Drinking
- Wildflower Viewing
- Wildlife Viewing
|Greater Than 1 Mile|
- Fuel, Boats
- Fuel, Vehicles
- Grocery Store
- Retail, Drinks/Ice/Snack
- Retail, Seasonal Concessions
Alerts and Important InformationOffice 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.
Getting There:GPS Info. (Latitude, Longitude):
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.
88090 Spur 26 E
Ponca NE 68770
Phone Number:Project Office:(402)755-2284
The events listed here are not intended to be an all inclusive list. Please contact the park for further details.
- First Day Hike:
Ring in the New Year with the winter woods and resident wildlife along the park trails. Participants check in at the Resource and Education Center. Hot cider and cookies, too! FREE on Jan 01 2014
- Brids & Breakfast - Great Backyard Bird Count:
Grab your binoculars to observe our winter bird populations and monitor nesting sites in the area for the Annual GBBC. Saturday includes breakfast, educational programs & birding tours. from Feb 14 2014 to Feb 17 2014
- Marsh Madness:
Witness the spring migration of waterfowl along the Missouri River. An interpretive guide from the Loess Hills Audubon Society will escort you down to our North Addition wetland areas to view various bird species. Reservable waterfowl blinds with guided observation, educational programs, nest watching, youth activities & more. from Mar 15 2014 to Mar 16 2014
- Marsh Madness 2:
Witness the spring migration of waterfowl along the Missouri River. An interpretive guide from the Loess Hills Audubon Society will escort you down to our North Addition wetland areas to view various bird species. Reservable waterfowl blinds with guided observation, educational programs, nest watching, youth activities & more. from Mar 22 2014 to Mar 23 2014
- Marsh Madness 3: Witness the spring migration of waterfowl along the Missouri River. An interpretive guide from the Loess Hills Audubon Society will escort you down to our North Addition wetland areas to view various bird species. Reservable waterfowl blinds with guided observation, educational programs, nest watching, youth activities & more. from Mar 29 2014 to Mar 30 2014
- Outdoor Cooking Camp Weekend:
The 3rd Annual Outdoor Cooking Camp features hands-on instruction & demonstration on the aspects of outdoor cooking. Special programs for kids! Discounts & lodging packages are available to camp participants. Reservations requested. from Apr 11 2014 to Apr 13 2014
- Spring Extravaganza:
Enjoy Easter at the Park!! Bring your family out for a weekend of fun-filled activities that focus on the season of spring. Kids Easter egg hunt, eggspectacular programs and much more!! on Apr 19 2014
- Mother's Day Buffet:
Treat your Mother to a special day among family and friends with a wonderful meal and musical entertainment. Reservations requested. on May 11 2014
- Nebraska Game & Parks Commission FREE Fishing & Park Entry Day on May 17 2014
- Scheels 3-D Archery Tournament:
The public is invited to compete in a 3-D Shoot hosted by Nebraska Game & Parks Commission and sponsored by Scheels. Each round of shooting includes 25 targets. Includes prizes & giveaways! For more information, contact Scheels Archery Shop at (712) 252-1551. from Jun 07 2014 to Jun 08 2014
- Bugs & Bones Weekend:
Explore the archeology & insects of the region, featuring hands-on activities such as fossil digs, educational hikes, pond studies, special guests & more. FREE! from Jun 14 2014 to Jun 15 2014
- Father's Day Fish Fry:
Treat Dad to a homemade fish dinner with all the fixin's, including Dutch oven cobbler dessert from 11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m. Call ahead for menu. Reservations requested. on Jun 15 2014
- YMCA Dirty Bird Mud Run:
The 2nd annual Dirty Bird Mud Run is a challenging, mud-lovers event with fifteen challenging obstacles that will test even the toughest old bird and most hardcore hawk, but varied enough that even those just recently out of the nest will have a blast. Set along the banks of the Missouri River, the Run offers one of the most unique, beautiful and fun courses found anywhere in the country. All proceeds benefit youth sports, summer camp and other youth programs at the Norm Waitt Sr. YMCA. www.facebook.com/DirtyBirdMudRun on Jun 21 2014
- Dutch Oven Cobbler and Ice Cream Social:
Treat your family to homemade Dutch oven cobbler and hand-cranked ice-cream at the Missouri National Recreational River Resource & Education Center at 7 p.m. Family fun games to follow. on Jul 05 2014
- Lewis and Clark Heritage Day:
The Corps of Discovery camped along the Missouri River in this area over 200 years ago. Celebrate their history with Missouri River canoeing, heritage camp, historical speakers, period games, crafts and more. on Aug 23 2014
- 10th Annual Missouri River Outdoor Expo:
Celebrate our outdoor heritage with over 90 hands-on exhibits, demonstrations, vendors and all-day entertainment. This fun and educational weekend for the whole family includes wildlife viewing, shooting sports, fishing, hunting, rock climbing, camping, hiking, boat tours
and much more! Daily 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. For more information visit: www.missouririverexpo.com FREE! from Sep 20 2014 to Sep 21 2014
The 16th Annual Halloween celebration features haunted evening hayrack rides, a pumpkin rolling and carving contest, campsite decorating contest and much more! Hayrack reservations begin October 6th. on Oct 11 2014
- Hallowfest 2:
The 16th Annual Halloween celebration features haunted evening hayrack rides, a pumpkin rolling and carving contest, campsite decorating contest and much more! Hayrack reservations begin October 6th. on Oct 18 2014
Every Saturday, December through February, bring the family out to the park to make homemade nature ornaments, winter and holiday crafts as well as participating in some of our winter programming. Enjoy cross-country skiing and snowshoeing on our groomed trails (snow permitting).
(Dec 6, Dec 13, Dec 20, Dec 27, Jan 3, Jan 10, Jan 17, Jan 24, Jan 31 and Feb 7, Feb 14, Feb 21 and Feb 28). from Dec 06 2014 to Feb 28 2015
- Annual Christmas Bird Count:
This event coincides with the Audubon Society National Christmas Bird Count. Birdwatchers of all ages are invited to compare notes and sighting reports. Chili feed to follow. FREE! on Dec 14 2014
- 3K Snow Run and Quest for the Yule Log and National Fruit Cake Fling:
Rekindle family wintertime traditions with the seasonal celebration and quest for the Yule log, hidden within the park. Yule Log Quest and bonfire, nationally renowned fruit cake fling competition, crafts, food & refreshments, and lighted hayrack rides. Contact the Park Office
402-755-2284 for further details. on Dec 27 2014