Willow Creek State Recreation Area

  • Archery Range
  • Biking
  • Boating
  • Camping
  • Canoe/Kayak
  • Equestrian Trails
  • Fishing
  • Hiking
  • Hunting
  • Picnicking
  • Playground
  • Swimming

Located 1 ½ miles southwest of Pierce, scenic Willow Creek State Recreation Area draws its name from the meandering stream that feeds the Elkhorn River in Northeast Nebraska. The 1,633-acre area includes a 700-acre flood control reservoir with excellent fishing opportunities. The area also boasts picnicking, camping, boating and an 8-mile limestone hike/bike trail.



Anglers will find crappie, bluegill, bass, catfish, walleye, northern pike and wipers, among other species. Seven rock jetties provide angler access. 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 main body of the lake is open to all boating, as well as to water skiing. The wooded west end of the lake (about half the lake surface) is restricted to no-wake boating.


Willow Creek has one swimming beach. No lifeguards are on duty.


Willow Creek offers an eight-mile limestone hike/bike trail with a two-mile connector trail to Pierce. While horses are not permitted on the limestone trail, a 10-mile mowed horse trail is available, as well. Park roads also may be used by horseback riders.


Mature trees and plenty of scenery make Willow Creek a fine day-use spot. Picnickers will find dozens of tables and grills, as well as six shelters, two of which have electricity.


Parts of Willow Creek are open to hunting, in season, beginning the first Tuesday after Labor Day and closing April 1. Species available include pheasant, quail, mourning dove, rabbit, squirrel and a variety of waterfowl. Deer hunting is permitted but is restricted to archery only. Rifles, handguns and shotgun slugs may not be used on the area.



Willow Creek State Recreation Area offers Electric Plus, Electric, Basic, Equestrian Electric Plus and Equestrian Basic camping.

Willow Way Campground includes 165 campsites with electricity and numerous Basic campsites for those that do not need electricity. Additional amenities include picnic tables, fire ring/grills, drinking water, dump and fill station, modern restrooms, showers and laundry. The dump and fill station is located in the town of Pierce about 5 miles from the lake. Willow Creek SRA campers can find the dump and fill station next to the Pierce County Courthouse.

Reservations may be made for half of the campsites at Willow Creek SRA and the remainder are available first-come, first-served. Those camping first-come, first-served 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.

Equestrian camping

Equestrian camping consists of 10 Electric Plus campsites, which are each 100-feet long. Each pad is accompanied by a 50-foot pen and 50-amp electrical hookup. For those equestrian campers that do not need electricity there are Basic Equestrian sites with two barbless pens available. Horse sites may be reserved.



A park entry permit is required and may be purchased at the park or statewide Game and Parks offices and permit vendors or in advance of your arrival online.


Contact Information

Address: Willow Creek SRA | 54876 852 Rd. | Pierce, NE 68767

Mailing address: Willow Creek SRA | 54876 – 852nd Rd. | Pierce, NE 68767
Phone: (402) 329-4053

Email: Send email