Lewis and Clark State Recreation Area
Nebraska's second largest lake, Lewis & Clark straddles the northeast border with South Dakota, about 7 miles north of Crofton on Nebraska Highway 121. The lake is about 16 miles long and 3 miles wide, with a maximum depth of 45 feet. It draws its name from the Lewis & Clark Expedition, which camped nearby on their epic journey to explore the Louisiana Purchase. This state recreation area includes five areas on the south side of the lake: Weigand-Burbach, Miller Creek, Bloomfield, South Shore and Deep Water.
Niobrara State Park is located upstream near the confluence of the Missouri and Niobrara rivers. Bazile Creek Wildlife Management Area is near the river about midway between the upper lake and Niobrara park.
Lewis & Clark State Recreation area offers beautiful new modern housekeeping cabins situated on the shore of Lewis and Clark Lake, offering a beautiful scenic view of the lake and the bluffs. The cabins can be rented one year in advance. Cabins are two-bedroom air conditioned/heated units, with two queen beds and three single beds, with a maximum occupancy of eight. Cabins are equipped with linens, towels, stove, refrigerator, cofeepot, toaster, microwave oven and kitchen service for eight. Complete with a covered patio, picnic table, outdoor grill and campfire ring. All cabins are smoke free. Reservations may be made up to one year in advance.
Camping facilities are excellent at Lewis & Clark SRA, and this has been an extremely popular area with campers and boaters for a long time. RVers will find some choice new facilities, complete with 30/50-amp electrical hookups. Camping fees are charged at all areas, ranging from minimum costs for the primitive areas to full fees for the modern campgrounds. Showers are located at the Weigand-Burbach area.
Boating on the lake covers the gamut from pontoons to high-powered speedboats to personal watercraft (PFC). In that portion of the spillway and tailrace of Gavins Point designated as the Tailwaters Area, speed in excess of 5 mph is prohibited and speed of all vessels must be reduced so the wash and wake will cause no discomfort, hazard, injury or damage to persons, vessels or property.
The marina offers full amenities for boaters, including a pump-out station and 24-hour gasoline, using a VISA or MasterCard. Boat slips are available for seasonal rental.
Anglers at Lewis and Clark will find a variety of species, including walleye, sauger, largemouth and smallmouth bass, bluegill, crappie and catfish. Look for all these species around the jetties at the Weigand-Burbach area. Many of these jetties were installed to improve habitat and well as fishing opportunities.
Hunting is allowed on the area beginning the Tuesday after Labor Day, except that the Weigand-Burbach area is closed to all hunting. There is some good sport for white-tailed deer, mourning dove, waterfowl and wild turkey. Of course, the lake offers good opportunity for waterfowl hunting. Action can be good on cottontail and squirrels.
Lewis & Clark is a prime area for bird watchers, especially for bald eagles. For birders in the area, a checklist of birds is available. Although prepared for Niobrara State Park, the same species could potentially be sighted around the lake. Alert visitors can also spot wild turkeys, deer, coyotes, and a variety of other small mannnals.
Winter can be a fun time at Lewis & Clark. When the ice is sufficient, the lake is open to ice fishing, skating, and snowmobiling. Snowmobilers can also use area roads but must stay out of other areas. Cross-country skiing is becoming increasingly popular with park visitors.
Nearby Niobrara State Park offers cabins, camping, horseback trail rides, river raft trips, hiking and more. The Corps of Engineers operates Gavins Point Dam, the power generation plant, and Lewis & Clark Visitor Center. The National Fish Hatchery on the north side of the dam offers a closeup look at a variety of species and how they are raised. Crofton has an intriguing historic hotel and restaurant, Lakeview Golf Course, as well as an array of services including gas, groceries and bait.
Weigand Area Campground is the Park Headquarters. There are camping pads with electricity, tent camping sites, a coin operated shower house and playground.
Burbach Area Campground is next to the Weigand campground and it provides campers with nice summer shade. This areas has camping pads with electricity, non-electrical gravel pad sites, 5 coin operated showers, a playground, picnic shelter, swimming beach, and RV dump station.
All campers must register. Reservations are accepted. Reservations are taken for 50% of the modern camping at Weigand and Burbach campgrounds. Reservations are taken up to 1 year in advance of arrival day.
Burbach Area has 10 fully furnished cabins reservable one year in advance. The cabins can be rented one year in advance. Two-bedroom air conditioned/heated cabins are furnished with blankets, towels, stove, refrigerators, microwaves, silverware and cooking utensils. Each cabin has a front porch with a view of the lake with a picnic table and grill. All of these cabins are located on the beautiful shores of Lewis and Clark Lake.