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Red Willow Reservoir State Recreation Area


Park Snapshot

Please note: Construction continues in repair to the dam and outlet structure area. Water levlels are still low on the reservoir. Campgrounds are open but lake access is limited.


At top conservation pool, the lake at Red Willow Reservoir covers 1,628 acres of the nearly 6,000 acres managed for public recreation and wildlife. The dam on Red Willow Creek is a zoned, earth-filled structure, 126 feet high and 3,159 feet long. Completed in 1962, it measures 30 feet thick at the top with a maximum base of 820 feet. Its waters provide primary or supplemental irrigation for 28,524 acres of land.


Some of the finest fishing and hunting in the state are found at Red Willow, and the are has excellent facilities for camping and water-oriented recreation.

Dedicated bass fishermen are well-acquainted with its brushy shores (35 miles of them), submerged trees, and underwater structures. Red Willow is a haven for both largemouth and smallmouth bass. Summer and winter crappie fishing is generally excellent in its tree-filled bays, and the state hook-and-line records for both white and black crappie came from Red Willow. White bass, northern pike, and walleye are favorites from spring through fall, and night fishing with lights is common along the face of the dam and in the narrow bays.

Camping and recreational facilities are new and modern.

Near the concession and Kiwanis Point, there are two boat ramps, mooring docks, a designated swimming beach, and modern restrooms. A third boat ramp is located south of the dam. The area concession is located on the Spring Creek access road and offers a restaurant, camping supplies, groceries, gas, bait, tackle, boat rentals, and has fishing, hunting and park entry permits available.

Pheasant, rabbit and deer hunters like Red Willow's tall native grasses, brushy canyons, and shrub and tree plantings for wildlife. The area has good populations of pheasants and both whitetails and mule deer. Pheasant hunters will also put up an occasional covey of quail, and cottontails are plentiful in the draws and plum thickets.

Overnight Accommodations

Camping Facilities:
45 camping pads with electrical hookups*
50 camping pads without electricity
110 non-pad sites without electricity
*20/30-amp. non-reservable campsites

Red Willow Reservoir, also known, as Hugh Butler Reservoir, has top of the line camping. Willow View Campground offers electrical camp sites with a panoramic view of the lake. The campground has a showerhouse, with modern restrooms. Each pad is equipped with a waist-high barbecue grill, and a sanitary trailer dump station is handy to the exit. Numerous other recreation sites are spotted strategically around the lake and offer tidy, but more primitive facilities. Areas like Bluegill, Bobwhite, Indian Point, and Pike's Point have camping, parking lots, some picnic shelters, water wells, grills, and vault toilets. Other picnic shelters and grills can be found in out-of-the-way locations for those who want a bit of privacy.

Facility Details

Camping: Yes

Water: Yes
Modern Restroom: Yes
Dump Station: Yes
Showers: Yes
Laundry: No

Lodging: No

Cabins: 0
Rooms: 0
Dorms: 0
Food Service: No

Trails: No

Hiking: 0 miles
Mtn. Bike: 0 miles
Horse: 0 miles
Trail Rides: No
Allow Horses: No

Picnicking: Yes

Picnic Tables: 130
Grills: 110
Shelters: 20
Shelters w/ elec.: 0

Boating: Yes

Types: All
Ramps: 4
Docks: 5
Fuel Avail.: Yes
Boat Rental: No
River Access: No

Fishing: Yes

Cleaning Stations: 1

Swimming: Yes

Pools: 0
Beaches: 1

Concessions: Yes

Light House Marina - closed after July 4th

Visitor Center: No

Office on Site: No

Red Willow Phone number is 308-737-6577

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Nebraska Game and Parks Commission - 2200 N. 33rd St. Lincoln, NE 68503 - 402-471-0641

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