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Try these fall activities at Nebraska’s state parks

By Renae Blum

Fall is here, with limitless possibilities for outdoor fun. If you’re looking for ways to enjoy the autumn season, look no further than Nebraska’s state parks, which are perfect for recreation of all kinds. Here are just a few opportunities they hold this time of year.


Fall is one of the best times of year to go fishing, when some of the biggest, fattest fish can be caught. Visit a Nebraska state park near you to take advantage of these opportunities. Also, rainbow trout will be stocked statewide this fall and winter, including at several state park areas; visit OutdoorNebraska.gov/fishstockingreports to see the stocking schedule.

Kayaking and canoeing

Kayaking and canoeing in fall can be a uniquely peaceful, enjoyable experience. Fewer people will be out, giving you more space on the water, and the fall scenery makes for a gorgeous backdrop. Pick a Nebraska state park lake and enjoy the splashes of color along the shoreline.

Enjoy Halloween fun

Many state parks have Halloween-themed events in October, including campground decorating contests, haunted hayrack rides, pumpkin-carving contests and trick-or-treating. Check our event calendar at Calendar.OutdoorNebraska.gov for events happening near you.

Wildlife viewing, bird watching and hiking

Enjoy some hiking, birdwatching and wildlife viewing on a trail at a state park. As you take in the fall color, keep your eyes peeled – you may encounter deer, turkey and various species of birds. Find a trail to explore at Outdoornebraska.gov/hikingtrails.


Fall can be a great time for camping, with cooler temperatures, fewer bugs and fewer crowds. Plus, camping fees at Nebraska state parks are reduced once water facilities are winterized starting at about mid-October. To stay a little warmer at night, book a Tentrr site; these ready-to-go camping sites come with propane heaters. Learn more at OutdoorNebraska.org/tentrr.

Horseback riding

Fall is one of the best times of year to bring a horse to a state park and do some riding. Soak in the beauty of a state park on a trail, and camp overnight at an equestrian campground. Learn more at Outdoornebraska.gov/equestriantrails.

Picnicking and barbecuing

Enjoy friends and family and good food while taking in the scenery of a Nebraska state park. After your meal, enjoy the other activities a state park offers, from fishing and hiking to camping and wildlife watching.

Frisbee golf

Bring on the competition and get good exercise playing a round of Frisbee golf. Many parks offer this opportunity, including Branched Oak State Recreation Area, Indian Cave State Park and Chadron State Park; call ahead to check about the parks near you.

See fall color

Nebraska’s state parks are a fantastic place to take in the colors of fall. Indian Cave State Park and Ponca State Park are particularly known for their fall color, but you can view changing trees at just about every location.

For more information about Nebraska’s state parks and to buy a park entry permit, visit OutdoorNebraska.org.

About Jerry Kane

Jerry Kane is the news manager with the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. He can be contacted at jerry.kane@nebraska.gov or 402-471-5008.

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