Ponca State Park

Ponca State Park

Ponca State Park encompasses nearly 2,400 acres of heavily forested rolling hills and Missouri River bottomland, including Ponca State Park’s North Addition which is adjacent to the Elk Point Bend Wildlife Management Area. 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.

Designated under the Scenic River Act in 1978, this section of river gives visitors a glimpse of how the untamed river looked before modern man changed it forever.

The park is two miles from the town of Ponca. Both the park and the town are named for the proud American Indian tribe that once inhabited the area. It was Ponca Chief Standing Bear who fought and won the court battle to have the Indian declared a “person” under American law. His achievement won him a place in history as well as the Nebraska Hall of Fame.

Lewis and Clark passed through the area during their epic journey up the Missouri. The National Park Service has designated Ponca State Park as part of the Lewis and Clark Historical Trail. Established in 1934, the first 200 acres were donated by local citizens, sponsored by the Ponca American Legion Post.

NGPC – Reserve AmericaNGPC – Reserve America


Ponca State Park has 15 four-bedroom mini-lodges, each beautifully furnished with 4 queen beds, wireless internet, cable TV and a fireplace. Kitchens are fully-equipped with a gas grill, stove, refrigerator, coffee maker, dishwasher, microwave, toaster, dishes, utensils and towels. Mini-lodges are open year-round.

There are 2 straw-bale construction “green” cabins, each beautifully furnished with 2 queen beds, wireless internet and cable TV. These two-bedroom cabins are open year-round.

There are 12 two-bedroom and 2 one-bedroom rustic log cabin style cabins with air-conditioning available mid-April through mid-November. Each bedroom features a double bed and linen. Local channel access TVs are in each cabin. We recommend four guests per cabin.

Sleeping pads and Pack-N-Plays are available for an additional charge of $10.00 per night (limited number).

Cabin Rates

Rustic cabins— $85 tax & fees not included

Mini-Lodges—$270 tax & fees not included

“Green” Cabins—$145 tax & fees not included

There is a 30% discount offered during the off-season. Call the park or check on-line for specific dates and rates.


Ponca State Park has 92 electrical sites, three campgrounds with 30- and 50-amp electrical service. Oak Bluff and Turkey Ridge campgrounds include showers, paved sites, picnic tables, fire pits, water (not as hookups) and playgrounds. The Riverfront campground has gravel sites and pit toilets. A dump station is available in the park. Both primitive and electrical campsites are available year- round with accessible water hydrants. However, the shower houses are unavailable from mid-October through mid-April

Camping Rates

From mid-April through mid-October, primitive campsites cost $13 and electrical campsites cost $20.
From mid-October through mid-April when shower houses and the dump station are unavailable, primitive campsites cost $8 and electrical campsites cost $15


Cabin reservations are accepted for two or more nights up to a year in advance of arrival date, and can be made on-line, by phone or in person during regular park office hours. A 2-night minimum stay is required during peak season.

Campsites in the Oak Bluff campground may be reserved. Sites in the Riverfront and Turkey Ridge campgrounds are available only on a first-come, first-served basis. Reservations may be made up to a year in advance of arrival date, and can be made on-line, by phone or in person. A 3-night minimum stay is required during summer holidays.

To make reservations on-line, go to www.OutdoorNebraska.org. Phone reservations can be made through the Nebraska State Park reservation call center at (402)471-1414. Guests may contact Ponca State Park, 88090 Spur 26 E, Ponca, NE 68770, (402)755-2284.

There is a $7 (plus tax) nonrefundable reservation fee for each site or unit reserved regardless of the number of nights staying.


Swimming Pool – A pool with lifeguards on duty is open seven days a week from mid-June through Mid-August when school starts. From mid-August to Labor Day, the pool is open on weekends only.

Admission is $8 for adults and $5 for children 3-12. Children 2 and under are free. Frequent or long-term visitors may wish to purchase annual pool passes at the Park Office.

Trail Rides – Supervised horseback rides are led three times a day, Monday – Friday and five times a day Saturday and Sunday from Memorial Day through mid-August when school starts. From mid-August to Labor Day, the trail rides are weekends only. Children must be 6 years of age to ride and no one may ride double. Tickets are $18 per rider and are available at the park office. You may call the park to reserve 1 day ahead.

Backwater Kayaking – Guided kayaking through our backwaters. for ages 12 and up. Call 402-755-2284 for information.

Boat Ramp – Boat ramp and docks are available to access the Missouri River.

Eric Wiebe Shooting Complex – General public programming during scheduled shooting hours. Archery component open on a walk-in basis year-round.

Outdoor Education – On-site naturalists and volunteers present daily programs during summer months. A weekly activity schedule is posted at the Resource and Education Center and on-line at facebook.com/PoncaSP. During the winter season, programs are dependent upon staff availability.

Hike/Bike Trails – Over 20 miles of dirt paths that wind throughout the park are available for the avid biker and hiker. A paved hike/bike trail connects the park to the city of Ponca.

Fishing Pond – A small fishing pond with a handicap accessible boardwalk is located across from the Resource & Education Center. The pond is stocked with catfish, trout, large-mouth bass and bluegill. Check regulations at the park office.

Highland Oaks Golf Course – A nine-hole public course is located at the southwest corner of the park. Call (402) 755-4222 for fees and tee times.

North Addition – Ponca State Park has recently added nearly 1,000 acres of bottomland forest, prairie and wetlands. This area offers excellent opportunities for bird-watching, hiking, fishing and mushroom hunting. See the Park Office for more information.

Winter Activities – A sledding hill is available and a groomed cross-country ski trail system.

Other Services – Gift shop, permits, bait, ice and concessions are available at the Park Office. Groceries, gas and restaurants are located in the city of Ponca. Medical and dental services are also available in Ponca.

Park Entry Permit

A current Nebraska Park Entry vehicle Permit is required year round. Permits are available at the Entry Booth or Park Office. Annual permits are $35 for Nebraska licensed vehicles and $45 for out-of-state licensed vehicles, daily permits are $6 for Nebraska licensed vehicles and $8 for out-of-state vehicles.

Permits may also be purchased on-line at www.OutdoorNebraska.org. or call Ponca State Park 402-755-2284

Office Hours

From Memorial Day through Mid August, the Park Office is open from 8am to 8pm Saturday through Thursday and from 8am to 10pm on Fridays. Off-season hours are 8am to 5pm daily.

For more information about Nebraska park areas, ask at the Park Office or write the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, PO Box 30370, Lincoln, NE 68503-0370, call 1-800-826-PARK (7275) to leave a message and receive a 52-page color brochure on Nebraska State Parks or look on-line at www.OutdoorNebraska.org.

Resources & Education Center

Conference/meeting rooms and a full-service kitchen are available year- round. These rooms may be rented separately or combined to make a single large room. Individually, they are Oxbow, Willow, Sandbar and River Bluff Rooms.

Up to 260 people can be seated together by combining all of the rooms. Occupancy may vary depending on seating arrangements. Contact the Park Office for a tour of the rooms, costs and reservations