Red Willow State Recreation Area

  • Archery Range
  • Boating
  • Camping
  • Fishing
  • Food Service
  • Hunting
  • Marina
  • Picnicking
  • Playground
  • Swimming

Some of the finest fishing and hunting in the state are found at Red Willow SRA, and the area has excellent facilities for camping and water-oriented recreation. Red Willow SRA offers 4,320 acres of land around a 1,628-acre lake. Camping, swimming, picnicking, and water recreation are very popular at Red Willow.



Species include common carp, channel catfish, crappie, flathead catfish, largemouth bass, northern pike, smallmouth bass, walleye, white bass and wiper. Fish-cleaning stations are located at Spring Creek area.

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.


All boats allowed. Ramps are located at Spring Creek, Willow View and Red Willow areas.


Pheasant, rabbit and deer hunters like Red Willow’s tall native grasses, brushy canyons, and shrub and tree plantings for wildlife. The area has good populations of pheasants and both whitetail and mule deer. Pheasant hunters will also put up an occasional covey of quail, and cottontails are plentiful in the draws and plum thickets.


A public swim beach is available for family recreation. Showers are located at Willow View Campground.

Hiking and biking

The area offers two miles of mowed hike/bike trails.


Day-use picnic facilities include 13 shelters, 130 picnic tables and 110 grills.

Archery range

A 20-target archery range is adjacent to the Willow View campground.



Red Willow SRA offers campers Electric Plus, Electric, Basic and Primitive campsites. There are 48 camping pads with 30 and 50-amp electrical hookups are available, with access to showers and a dump and fill station. Willow View Campground also offers a panoramic view of the lake.

Red Willow offers numerous Basic and Primitive camping for those that don’t need electricity or modern facilities.

All camping is 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.

Watch the park video tour



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.


Nearby attractions

Reservoirs and McCook

Other Southwest Reservoirs include Swanson, Enders, and Medicine Creek which all provide great opportunities for fishing, camping, boating, swimming and family recreation. McCook, Nebraska offers opportunities for modern lodging, dining and shopping.

Contact Information

Address: Red Willow SRA | 72718 Trail 2 | McCook, NE 69001
Phone: (308) 345-5899

Email: Send email