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Equestrian campground addition to open at Fort Robinson

Aerial view of the expanded Mare Barn Campground
The new sites and horse pens at Fort Robinson State Park’s Mare Barn Campground stand ready for use. They are scheduled to open May 24. (Photo by Justin Haag, Nebraskaland/Nebraska Game and Parks Commission)

The $1.2 million expansion of the Mare Barn Campground at Fort Robinson State Park is scheduled to open this week, bolstering the northwestern Nebraska attraction’s reputation as the state’s premier destination for those traveling with horses.

Donita Morava, a superintendent at the park, said the 24 new sites and new horse pens at the west end of the park’s main complex will open May 24 if no snags occur as contractors finalize electrical work.

The new sites, which doubled the campground’s previous capacity, provide hook-ups for 50-amp electricity, water and sewer. They are all paved and long enough to accommodate a truck and trailer. Three of the new sites are designed to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

“We still need to add some trees and get the grass to grow, but the sites are ready for people to camp on them,” she said.

Half of the campground’s sites are available for reservation, while the other half are first-come, first-served. To reserve the sites, people may visit the “Make a Reservation” link at

The 30 new pens near the campground are expected to be popular with visitors who want a place to put horses during their stay. The 20-by-24-foot open-air pens complement the historical Mare Barn Complex, which was renovated in 2020.

Morava said the pens have long been requested by visitors, as some horses aren’t used to being indoors, especially in hot weather. This gives visitors an option.

The Mare Barn offers stalls in 20,000 square feet of space over a 300-yard-long footprint in the shape of a C. It originally housed the broodmares when Fort Robinson served as a remount depot for the U.S. Army from 1919 to 1945.

Four of the original 24 sites offer full hook-ups, with the rest providing electrical service. A new shower house was installed at the campground in 2022.

Morava said Fort Robinson’s rich history in horses — both as a state park and its former role as a cavalry base — make it an ideal attraction to cater to the rising popularity of equestrian activities nationwide.

“It’s going to become increasingly popular as time goes on,” she said. “People love to bring their horses to experience the open spaces of the Pine Ridge.” The Mare Barn Campground is one of three campgrounds at the park. There are 98 sites with varying levels of amenities at the Soldier Creek Campground and 157 full hook-up sites at the Red Cloud Campground. Both are on the other side of the main park complex, east of U.S. Highway 20.

About Justin Haag

Justin Haag serves as a public information officer for Game and Parks in northwestern Nebraska. He lives in Chadron.

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