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Ridges in Chadron State Park

Ridges in Chadron State Park. Photo: dvs from Vermont, USA, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Chadron State Park is a great place to escape into nature and experience the beauty of the Nebraska landscape.

Covering over 970 acres, the park is situated on the edge of the Nebraska National Forest, providing scenic views of the surrounding area. Visitors can explore several hiking trails that wind through the park’s woodlands, canyons, and prairies or enjoy fishing at either of its two small ponds.

In addition, picnicking, birding and photography are other popular activities.

This Nebraska state park also features a variety of camping options, ranging from primitive sites to modern cabins for those who want to stay for a couple of nights.


Park patrons can engage in a wide range of outdoor leisure and recreational pursuits during their time at Chadron State Park.

Presented below is a quick overview of some of the main activities you can partake in during your time there.

Fishing at Chadron State Park

Fishing at Chadron State Park is a great way to relax and enjoy the natural beauty of the park.

Overall, the park has two small ponds – the park pond and the lower pond – which are teeming with rainbow trout, largemouth bass, and bluegill.

Additionally, the park is located near several rivers and streams that provide great fishing opportunities, including the White River and the Pine Ridge Creek.

Visitors can fish from the shore or rent boats from nearby outfitters to fish from the water. Fishing permits are required and can be purchased at the park office or online.

Hiking at Chadron State Park

For those who want to explore the park on foot, there are several hiking trails that provide visitors with an opportunity to revel in its diverse landscape.

These trails range wind through the park’s canyons and prairies and each showcase a unique aspect of its topography.

The park’s most popular trail, the Pine Ridge Trail, is a 2.2-mile loop that provides scenic views of the surrounding landscape. This trail winds through the park’s woodlands and rocky outcroppings, affords opportunities for wildlife viewing and birdwatching.

The park also runs regular guided nature walks and interpretive programs led by knowledgeable staff members.

Picnicking at Chadron State Park

Picnicking is a favored activity at the park, with many visitors choosing to enjoy an al fresco meal in its stunning outdoor setting.

The park has two designated picnic areas, including the Pine Ridge Picnic Area and the Chadron Creek Picnic Area.

Both of which offer picnic tables, grills, and access to restroom facilities. In addition, the Pine Ridge Picnic Area also offers a playground and horseshoe pits.

Visitors can also enjoy a picnic at one of the park’s scenic overlooks or on the banks of Chadron Creek. The park’s picnic areas are available on a first-come, first-served basis and do not require a reservation.

Photography at Chadron State Park

If you are into photography, the park offers many opportunities to capture its natural beauty.

The park’s diverse landscape, including its canyons, bluffs, and forests, provides a stunning backdrop for photography.

Wildlife such as deer, bison, and birds are also commonly spotted throughout the park and can make for great subjects.

Photographers can explore the hiking trails or take a scenic drive to access some of the Chadron’s most picturesque spots. The park’s overlooks, including the Pine Ridge Overlook and the Buffalo Ridge Overlook, offer stunning views of the surrounding landscape, which make for great shots.

Additionally, the park’s creeks and waterfalls provide unique opportunities for photography.

Birding at Chadron State Park

The park’s diverse landscape of woodlands, prairies, and canyons, provides a habitat for a wide range of bird species. This makes it an excellent destination for birding enthusiasts.

Visitors can view them on the park’s hiking trails or participate in guided birding tours to observe and learn about the park’s avian residents.

The park also offers several birdwatching blinds, including the Ash Hollow Blind and the Chadron Creek Blind, that provide visitors with a secluded viewing spot to observe birds and other wildlife in their natural habitat.

Depending on the time of year you visit, some of the species you can see include bald eagles, peregrine falcons and wild turkeys.


Overall, Chadron State Park has a pet-friendly policy. But it is important for pet owners to be responsible and respectful of the park’s rules and other visitors.

Pets are welcome in designated areas of the park, including the campground and designated hiking trails. However, they are not allowed in the swimming areas, beach, or picnic areas.

Whilst in the designated areas, pets must be on a leash no longer than six feet and under the control of their owner at all times.

Visitors are also reminded to not leave their pets unattended in vehicles or tied up outside and owners are required to clean up after their pets and dispose of waste in designated trash receptacles.


Chadron State Park has several camping options for visitors, including primitive and modern campsites, as well as cabins and yurts.

All up, the park has two campgrounds – the Pine Ridge and the Chadron Creek – that offer a total of 72 campsites.

The Pine Ridge campground offers primitive camping with access to water and vault toilets, while the Chadron Creek camping facility has modern amenities such as electrical hookups, showers, and flush toilets.

In addition to these options, the park also has several cabins and yurts available for rent.

Reservations for camping and lodging can be made online or by calling the park office. You are highly recommended to do this as these accommodation options do fill up quickly.

Park Location

Chadron State Park
15951 Gold Rush Byway
Chadron, NE 69337
Phone: 308.432.6167

Park Website




Here is a short YouTube video showcasing several attractions at Chadron State Park: