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cattle grazing at Bowring Ranch State Historical Park in Nebraska

Bowring Ranch State Historical Park is a historic ranch located in the Sandhills of Nebraska.

The ranch was established in 1888 by a wealthy businessman, and it served as a working cattle ranch for over 70 years.

Today, this Nebraska state park offers visitors a glimpse into the past, with preserved buildings and artifacts showcasing the life and work of early pioneers and ranchers in the region.

Visitors can tour the ranch house, the bunkhouse, the barn, and the blacksmith shop, and learn about the history and culture of the Sandhills region through interpretive exhibits and programs.

The park is also close to a handful of campgrounds for those who need a place to stay overnight. It also provides easy access to a range of outdoor recreational opportunities including fishing, hiking and picnicking.

Activities

Bowring Ranch State Historical Park in Nebraska offers visitors a unique opportunity to experience the history and culture of the Sandhills region.

With guided tours of the historic ranch, outdoor recreational activities, and educational programs and events on offer, visitors can immerse themselves in the past and present of this fascinating area.

Here is some more information about what you can do at the park.

Tours of the historic range at Bowring Ranch State Historical Park

Visitors to Bowring Ranch State Historical Park can take guided tours of the historic ranch to learn about the early pioneers and ranchers who settled in the Sandhills region.

These tours are led by knowledgeable guides who provide insight into the ranch’s history, culture, and architecture.

Park guests can explore the ranch house, the bunkhouse, the barn, and the blacksmith shop, and see firsthand the tools, equipment, and furnishings used by the early settlers.

The tours offer a unique opportunity to experience the past and gain a deeper understanding of the challenges and triumphs of life on the ranch.

Educational programs at Bowring Ranch State Historical Park

Bowring Ranch State Historical Park offers a variety of educational programs and events for visitors of all ages.

The park offers interpretive exhibits and displays that showcase the history and culture of the Sandhills region, as well as interactive programs that allow visitors to experience life on the ranch.

Additionally, it hosts special events throughout the year, such as living history demonstrations, cultural festivals, and nature programs.

These programs provide a fun and engaging way for visitors to learn about the past and present of the Sandhills region.

Fishing at Bowring Ranch State Historical Park

While the park itself does not offer fishing, you should still bring your rods and reels with you as there are several nearby opportunities for fishing enthusiasts.

The Middle Loup River, located just a few miles from the park, is a popular spot for fishing, with a variety of fish species including catfish, bass, and walleye residing in it.

Additionally, the nearby Calamus Reservoir State Recreation Area offers excellent fishing opportunities, with crappie, bluegill, and largemouth bass regularly biting.

Visitors can also fish at the nearby Sherman Reservoir State Recreation Area and Keller Park State Recreation Area.

Hiking at Bowring Ranch State Historical Park

Bowring Ranch State Historical Park offers several hiking opportunities for guests to explore the natural beauty of the Sandhills region.

The park’s hiking trails wind through grasslands and along the Middle Loup River, providing stunning views of the landscape and wildlife.

These trails are easy to moderate in difficulty and range from one to three miles in length. Visitors can spot wildlife such as deer, turkeys, and a variety of bird species along the way.

In addition, the park also hosts guided hikes and nature programs at various points throughout the year.

Picnicking at Bowring Ranch State Historical Park

Whilst at the park, there are several picturesque spots for a picnic. These allow park guests to enjoy an outdoor meal while taking in the scenic views of the comely Middle Loup River and the breathtaking Sandhills landscape.

Throughout the park there are picnic tables and grills for visitors to use. There are also several shelters available for reservation too.

The park also offers a playground and open spaces for recreational activities, making it a perfect destination for families and groups to spend some quality time together over food.

Birding at Bowring Ranch State Historical Park

If you are into birding you’ll be pleased to read that Bowring Ranch State Historical Park is a prime destination for bird watching.

Overall, the park is home to over 170 species of birds, many of which reside permanently within it.

Depending on the time of the year you visit, some of the species you can see may include sandhill cranes, great horned owls, and red-tailed hawks.

Pets

Pets are allowed at Bowring Ranch State Historical Park, but they must be kept on a leash and under control at all times. Owners are also responsible for cleaning up after their pets when they make a mess.

Unfortunately, dogs are not allowed in park buildings, including the ranch house, bunkhouse, and other historic structures.

If you would like to bring your pooch with you to the park it is worth contacting the main office for a full rundown of their pet policy.

Camping

While there is no camping available onsite, there are several campgrounds near Bowring Ranch State Historical Park that provide convenient lodging options for visitors.

One of the closest campgrounds is Calamus Reservoir State Recreation Area, located about 20 miles from the park.

This campground offers modern amenities such as electrical hookups, showers, and restrooms, as well as water-based recreational activities such as boating and fishing.

Other nearby campgrounds include Sherman Reservoir State Recreation Area and Keller Park State Recreation Area, both of which offer camping and outdoor recreational opportunities.

These campgrounds provide visitors with easy access to the park and the surrounding attractions, making them a popular choice for those looking to explore the Sandhills region.

Park Location

Bowring Ranch State Historical Park
90468 State Hwy 61
Merriman, NE 69218-0038
Phone: 308.684.3428

Park Website

Map

Video

Here is a short YouTube video showcasing several attractions at Bowring Ranch State Historical Park: