It’s hard to beat the allure of the pristine lakes and beautiful rivers in Western Nebraska. Whether you prefer kayaking, canoeing or trying your hand at tanking, there are water sports opportunities for everyone.
Box Butte ReservoirHemingford Area
Box Butte Reservoir, a 1,600-acre lake and recreational area, is 10 miles north of town. It offers excellent fishing, boating, swimming, windsurfing and sailing, and is part of a state recreation area with picnic areas, hiking and primitive camping.
Bridgeport State Recreation AreaBridgeport Area
Just off Highways 26 and 92 on the west edge of town, Bridgeport State Recreation Area offers primitive camping, hiking, fishing, swimming and waterskiing. It is open year-round. A state park entry permit is required.
Lake Minatare & LighthouseScottsbluff Area
Lake Minatare is large, but not so big that it needs a lighthouse. It has one anyway and it offers an impressive 360-degree view. It was built by the Veterans Conservation Corps, a New Deal agency that provided jobs to unemployed veterans.
Middle Loup River
People looking for a family-friendly river trip can float or paddle down the Middle Loup River just north of Mullen. The Middle Loup is spring-fed and has relatively calm waters as it meanders through wide, sloping Sandhills canyons. Canoe and kayak rental is available for both rivers.
Walgren Lake State Recreation AreaHay Springs Area
A newspaper story in a 1922 issue of the Hay Springs News reported the sighting of a Loch Ness-style monster at Alkali Lake. Rumors circulated of ranchers losing cattle to the hungry beast, but no physical evidence of the creature’s questionable existence was ever discovered.