Best Winter Weekend Getaway at Chadron State Park

By Samantha Loomis

Best Winter Weekend Getaway at Chadron State Park

The word “vacation” often conjures images of sandy beaches with sun-tanned vacationers maxing and relaxing beneath the shade of a native palm tree—perhaps sipping on an umbrella-decked drink. While that may be the typical idea of a vacation, finding somewhere to escape to during the winter season can be just as satisfying. And you can enjoy the great outdoors, too. From hiking to cross-country skiing, here’s how to make the most of your winter weekend getaway at Chadron State Park. 

Agate Fossil Beds National Monument, Harrison, NE

Take the family out to explore a place deeply rooted in history. Agate Fossil Beds contains one of the world’s most significant Miocene Epoch mammal sites, according to the monument’s website. There are several different historical collections available to view, such as the James H. Cook collection, which contains items from the local Native American culture, and the Visitor Center Diorama, which houses reconstructed skeletons of Miocene age mammals.

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Pine Ridge National Recreation Area, Chadron, NE

Camping can be a blast in the winter—maybe even more so than in the summer. Camp at Red Cloud Campground year-round and witness the majesty of a winter in Nebraska. Cozy up to a campfire, wrapped in a flannel blanket with a mug of hot cocoa and bask in the silence of the Nebraska wilderness.

Museum of Fur Trade, Chadron, NE

History enthusiasts, come one, come all. The Museum of Fur Trade stands on the site of James Bordeaux’s trading post that, in 1837, was established for the American Fur Company, states the museum website. With more than 6,000 authentic artifacts it will be easy to lose the day by traveling back in time amongst history. Photography is allowed, even better.

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Fort Robinson State Park, Crawford, NE

With more than 22,000 acres Fort Robinson State Park is the place to experience Nebraskan nature. The park offers 60 miles of hiking trails and 20 miles of mountain bike trails. No bike? Rent one at the park’s Activity Center. If you brought your hiking gear, this is the place to make some use of it.

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Nebraska National Forest at Chadron, Chadron, NE

Whether small-game or big-game hunting is on the agenda, Nebraska National Forest is the place to travel to. The forest is comprised of two distinct areas, one that is located near Halsey in central Nebraska and one that is in the north eastern panhandle area. Pack the hunting gear and bag some game.

Nebraska National Forest at Halsey, Halsey, NE

After you visit the Chadron section of the Nebraska National Forest, you might as well try your luck ice fishing in the Halsey section. Drop a line at Bessey Fishing Pond, which is regularly stocked with different kinds of fish. Those include trout, bass, catfish, and panfish.

Neb-Kota Dinner Train, Chadron, NE

Neb-Kota train travels 12 miles, which takes about three hours. Ride aboard the dinner train and receive an elegant dinner and an ever-changing view of the landscape. Affordable and unique, the train ride is a must-have experience.

Pine Ridge Trail, Chadron, NE

With 100 miles of trail, Pine Country Trail puts the “cross-country” in cross-country skiing. A great way to burn off excess winter energy, skiing is a popular winter pastime. Go on a short trip or a long one, just remember to plan accordingly.

Carhenge, Alliance, NE

A replica of the famous Stonehenge, Carhenge is made up of the circle of cars, three standing trilithons within the circle, the heel stone, slaughter stone, and two station stones. All the cars are vintage American automobiles, painted grey to imitate real stones. While it may not be a historical site, it’s definitely a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

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The Eleanor Barbour Cook Museum of Geology, Chadron, NE

Do you like to look at shiny things? Well, don’t we all? Feast your eyes on the rocks, minerals and fossils at this Nebraskan museum. Exhibits include the Ohme collection of agates, jade and petrified wood. The museum is home to meteorites, vertebrate fossils, rock-forming minerals and more. 

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