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Twin Platte NRD BLOG

TEN outdoor places to visit IN the District while social Distancing

Locations are within a 10 - 60 min drive around North Platte.  Please keep in mind we encourage all safety precautions and guidelines set by the State for social distancing.  Please remain at home if you have been ill or are around someone who is ill.  Each park may have their own rules regarding when they are open.  State Parks are remaining open for day use only but could potnetially change. Please view each park's facebook page or website before visiting.  

1. Sandhill Crane Viewing 

Finding the Cranes can be a fun evening adventure as they are not always in the same field as the day before. To find them directly outside of North Platte, roll down your windows to listen for them. You may see large groups of birds flying around dusk. Drive about 10-30 minutes west on Highway 30.   Look north of the Highway in the fields, roll down your windows and enjoy the sights and sounds of thousands of cranes flying in front of the Nebraska sunset.  Every year the Sandhill Crane migration passes through Nebraska.  Hundreds of thousands of cranes feed in the fields during the day then head to the Platte River to sleep during the night. The cranes can be found in the cornfields during the day along highway 30 close to the river anywhere from Grand Island to Hershey. The Cranes are known for their ritual dances and for traveling in family groups.   Before traveling to view the Sandhill Cranes, please brush up on the crane viewing etiquette as these cranes are visible from the road, are a protected bird under the Nebraska Law and are usually found on private property.

 2. Jeffery Lake

Cliffs in Nebraska? Jeffrey Lake is a hidden treasure and the perfect place for a quick evening getaway. Drive about 30 minutes east on I-80 to the Brady Exit, then 5 minutes south of the Interstate. Have a picnic on the back of your truck parked above the dam and enjoy the fresh air.  Jeffrey Lake is remote and has just a few places to get down to the water.  Due to erosion, there are large, naturally made cliffs surrounding the water.


3. Hike Potter’s Pasture

Drive about 30 minutes east on I-80 to the Brady Exit, then 15-20 minutes southwest of the Interstate.  This land is privately owned but open to the public and is the perfect getaway. It is hilly with trees and trails. It is highly suggested to bring water, boots that can get muddy and be prepared for little to no cell service.  You will pass Jeffrey Lake, then continue straight over the hills. You will pass a gate on the left side of the gravel road with a pallet that says Potter’s Pasture and a blue bike on a post.  Follow the instructions on the sign, but you must open (then close the gate) and you may park wherever you see fit. 


4. Hike/Bike NCORPE Public Access Grasslands

Many people have heard of NCORPE but are not aware there is public access for recreation. Head south on Highway 83 and turn on Lonestar road south of North Platte and go west 1.75 miles or go west 4 miles and south 2 miles on somerset road for another public access area.  There are 10.9 miles of hike-bike trails and 7.1 miles of horseback trails for public use. These trails are placed within Nebraska’s largest grassland reconstruction project. For additional information and regulations please visit

The amenities include, parking, hiking, biking trails, equestrian trails, picnicking/day use, and wildlife viewing


5. Walk/Bike North Platte Trails

The North Platte Trails system has worked hard to continue improving the trails system in North Platte.  The most popular trail is along Buffalo Bill, however, there are 10 miles of trails that meander through Centennial Park and alongside the canal and back up to the Extension office by State Farm Road. To view the trails around town, please click here or visit the Trails Network Facebook page for updates.

Trail Map

6. Whitakers Way

Enjoy a walk above the city of North Platte and witness a 360 view as you walk or bike on this gravel trail by the NPPD Reservoir that will take you under Highway 83, all the way to Lake Maloney. The trail is located south of town on East Dodge Hill Road.

7.  Sutherland Reservoir

Sutherland Reservoir is about a 30 min drive west of North Platte.  Enjoy an afternoon by the water or on the water.


8. Nature Walk Around the Ogallala Park

Visit the Nature Park in Ogallala. This nature park was created by a teacher and his class about 15-20 years ago. This park has labels on the plants and nice mulched trail for an early morning walk.


9. Lake McConaughy

Visit Nebraska's largest clearwater, sandy bottom lake only an hour west on Highway 30.  Due to COVID-19, there may be restrictions and is open to day use only, so please be cautious before visiting. 


10. Lake Maloney

Lake Maloney is only about a 10 minute drive south on Highway 83 from North Platte.  Enjoy a nice evening walk on the trails around the lake or visit the day use public beaches/boat ramps by the lake.