State Recreation Area
West Scouts Rest Ranch Road and North Buffalo Bill Avenue | North Platte, NE 69101
Buffalo Bill State Recreation Area offers camping and hiking right next door to the Buffalo Bill State Historical Park, which makes it easy to tour the ranch house and barn that Col. William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody built for his home in North Platte during the heyday of his famous Wild West Show. Cody owned some 4,000 acres here, which were appropriately named Scout’s Rest Ranch. Guests are encouraged to spend time enjoying the trails and scenery at the recreation area, as well as touring the historic buildings and soaking up the history at the historical park.
Buffalo Bill State Historical Park is adjacent to the recreation area. The historical park recaptures the life and career of the famed Pony Express rider, Army scout and buffalo-hunter-turned-showman. Visitors can tour Buffalo Bill’s house and barn and see a wealth of historical artifacts from a rich and unique life.
North Platte-area archers now have a venue to practice their sport as a public archery range has opened at Buffalo Bill State Recreation Area.
Built by the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission and local volunteers, the range is free to use and open during daylight hours. A vehicle park entry permit is required.
The archery range is located west of the campground. It has seven square targets in wooden frames set at 10, 20, 25, 30, 40, 50 and 60 yards. It is available on a first-come, first-served basis and archers must bring their own equipment.
Buffalo Bill State Recreation Area has great fishing via access to the North Platte River. Largemouth bass, bluegill, channel catfish, common carp and Northern pike can be caught here.
For more information on fishing opportunities here and at parks across the state, visit the interactive public fishing areas map. This map provides detailed information on available species, regulations, public boat ramps, fish cleaning stations and ADA-accessible boat ramps and docks, among other features in reservoirs, lakes, streams and rivers statewide. Lake contour maps are available for some lakes, as well.
The park offers 5 miles of hiking trails.
The park’s placement along the scenic Platte River make is a peaceful, pretty spot for picnicking or grilling out. The park offers one picnic shelter with a grill and four tables. There are eight tent camping areas with grills and tables that can be used as day-use areas.
During the summer months, the park offers guests horseback trail rides and float trips down the North Platte River. Rentals of kayaks, canoes, tubes and tanks are available. In addition, the park offers guided horseback rides and a petting zoo. For more information on these activities, call the park at 308-530-0048.
The Golden Spike Tower in nearby North Platte offers the world’s best view of the world’s largest railyard.
Located in North Platte, the Lincoln County Historical Museum features historical buildings from throughout the county, a display about the famous North Platte Canteen and other exhibits on the history and culture of Western Nebraska.
Dining, fuel, groceries and lodging are available in nearby North Platte.
Buffalo Bill State Recreation Area offers Electric Plus, Electric and Basic camping. The recreation area offers 23 camping pads with electricity, and of these, 18 have 30-amp hookups and five sites have 50-amp hookups. The area also offers eight non-pad Basic campsites without electricity. Other campground amenities include primitive restrooms and drinking water hydrants available throughout the campground.
Camping is all first-come, first-served, and campers register their nightly camping fees in a raised, locked box called an Iron Ranger. Self-service envelopes are provided at each Iron Ranger station. Check or cash only. Iron Rangers are generally located near the park entrance or in the campground area. On-site camping informational signs are provided to help guide campers with the self-registration process.
A park entry permit is required to visit state parks and may be purchased at the park, statewide Game and Parks offices and permit vendors, or in advance of your arrival online. View those fees, as well as attraction and amenity pricing.
Reservations are accepted for cabins, lodge rooms, and group lodges up to one year in advance of the arrival date. Reservations for camping are accepted up to 180 days in advance of arrival date. The Reservation Call Center hours are Monday-Friday 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. (CT) and closed on holidays.