State Historical Park
57426 710th Rd. | Fairbury, NE 68352-5550
Rock Creek Station was a stage and Pony Express station and a stop for those traveling the Oregon and California trails. Today, it is a state historical park encompassing 350 acres of prairie hilltops, timber-studded creek bottoms, and rugged ravines. Deep ruts carved by the many wagons that traveled through remain plainly visible at this picturesque park. Rich history and beautiful scenery draw visitors from near and far. The park grounds are open 8 a.m. to sunset year round.
Rock Creek Station was a stage and Pony Express station established in 1857 that become notorious one fateful day in 1861. On that July afternoon, James Butler “Wild Bill” Hickok killed David McCanles there and began his bloody career as a gunfighter.
Development of Rock Creek Station as a state historical park began in 1980. Archaeologists investigated and excavated sites of two ranches dating back to the 1858-1860 time period to determine building sites and to recover period artifacts. Some buildings have since been reconstructed.
In the mid-1800s, Rock Creek Station served as an important stop along the Oregon-California Trail for wagons and stagecoaches. The road ranches on the east and west side of Rock Creek provided supplies and services to travelers, and the ranches were connected by a toll bridge. In 1860-1861, the East Ranch served as a Pony Express station. Today, visitors to the park can explore reconstructed ranch cabins, a bunkhouse, barn, post office, and toll bridge. Visitors can walk through the ranches year-round, and the buildings are open seasonally.
Six miles of equestrian trails wind throughout Rock Creek Station State Historical Park and the adjoining Rock Creek Station State Recreation Area. An equestrian campground is available at Rock Creek Station State Recreation Area.
Rock Creek Station State Historical Park contains six miles of hiking and nature trails. The park’s reconstructed buildings and wagon ruts are visible from these trails. Maps guiding visitors on a self-guided walking tour of the park’s historic sites are available in the Visitor Center.
Living history demonstrations by area re-enactors are held periodically throughout the summer months.
The park has 38 picnic tables, 38 grills and three covered picnic shelters available.
Rock Creek Trail Days is held annually the first full weekend in June.
The National Pony Express Re-Ride is held annually in June. View 2023 event information.
For more park events and details, visit the Outdoor Calendar or contact the park office.
The Visitor Center interprets the history of Rock Creek Station and houses exhibits of artifacts that were excavated from the site.
A park entry permit is required and may be purchased at the park, statewide Game and Parks offices and permit vendors or in advance of your arrival online at GoOutdoorsNE.com.
Camping is available at adjoining Rock Creek Station State Recreation Area.
Picnic shelters, the Visitor Center theater and other facilities or grounds may rented for your activity or wedding.
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.
Our 76 gorgeous state park and recreations areas host a plethora of events throughout the year. From bird hikes to kayak races, Living History events to family outdoor days, our parks host something fun for every outdoor enthusiast.