Indian Cave State Park Offers Something for Everyone
Holidays and holiday weekends are a great time to relax, travel, and spend time with nature. Indian Cave State Park offers a variety of activities for everyone which allow them to grow closer to nature and history.
22 miles of hiking trail are available for birdwatchers and those with adventurous spirits. Trails range from 3/4 mile to 7 miles and wind up and down hills.15 miles of horse trail gives riders a beautiful, unique place to stretch their horses’ legs. For those who would like to see nature from the comfort of their air-conditioned vehicle, there is also a road to drive along. The trails takes visitors through scenic areas covered with trees and wildlife and past the gorgeous Missouri River.
The park received its name from the historic caves located on the eastern end of the park. The gorgeous sandstone walls are covered with Native American picture drawings depicting scenes of animals, people, and nature.
Many enjoy Indian Cave State Park’s camping areas. Despite the heat, the park’s campgrounds were about 15 percent full on the Fourth of July. The numbers were lower than past Independence Days because it fell on a Wednesday this year. There were reservations the weekend before for campers celebrating freedom, and an even greater number of reservations the weekend following the holiday. Indian Cave State Park provides showers, rest rooms, picnic tables, fire rings, water, a playground, and ten electrical hook-ups for tent campers. There are 134 30 or 50-amp electrical service for RV’s. Indian Cave State Park also includes nine Adirondack shelters and other campsites along walking trails. Group camping and horse camping are also available.
About half of the modern campsites, numbers 1-70 may be reserved, but the rest work on a first-come, first-serve basis. Reservations can be made by calling 402-471-1414 Monday through Friday or online at www.OutdoorNebraska.org. Reservations may also be made in person at the Park Office during its open hours, Sunday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. or Friday and Saturday 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Campers as well as visitors to the park may enjoy fishing and hunting in the park, and permits are available at the Park Office. Deer, Turkey, and Waterfowl hunting are allowed in the park. Swimming is not permitted anywhere in the park, however. Fireworks cannot be set off inside Indian Cave State Park this time of year. Since it’s so dry, few state parks allow fireworks for Fourth of July. However, on September 1, Indian Caves will have a fireworks display to celebrate Labor Day weekend.
Supervised horseback rides are available five times daily on Saturdays, Sundays, and holiday Mondays until the end of October. Tickets for the horseback rides, which take place at 10 a.m., 11 a.m., 1 p.m., 2 p.m., and 3 p.m., are available at the entrance booth for 16 dollars per person. Children must be at least 6 years-old to ride the horses.
From 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. every weekend until the end of October, living history demonstrations will take place near the restored buildings of St. Deroin. Broom making, candle dipping, soap making, and blacksmithing demonstrations will take place amongst the one-room school house, general store, and log cabin.
The Black-powder gun club rendezvous the first full weekend of each month and holiday weekends through October. Public is welcome to view or participate.
The print history left on Indian Cave State Park is clear for both historians and passersby. The physical monument of the Indian Caves tells the story of the Native Americans before pioneers moved into this area.
In 1830, 125,000 acres were set aside by homeless children of white men who married Native American women. One such child, Joseph Deroin, grew up to found the village of St. Deroin in 1853, which focused mainly on trade. By the 1920’s, St. Deroin was nearly a ghost town. In 1962 the first tract of land was obtained by the park.
Visitors who want to pay their respects may visit the two cemeteries which reside in the park, the Half-Breed Cemetery and the St. Deroin Cemetery.