Indian Cave State Park
How about some hiking, history, and horseback riding along one of the great American Rivers? In the southwest corner of Nebraska, beside the mighty Missouri River, sits a state park worthy of a day trip or an entire weekend visit. Indian Cave State Park gets it's name from a cave along the river that was frequented by Native Americans for centuries. The early inhabitants carved petroglyphs along the cave wall. While dates and origins of the prehistoric carvings are unknown, they are easily recognizable and can be viewed from a wooden boardwalk that extends the length of the wall.
The cave is only the most prominent attraction. The park encompasses over 3,000 acres with a wide variety of activities. It is a favorite local picnicking and camping spot. The park also boasts over 22 miles of hiking and biking trails, along with a horse stable and 16 miles of equestrian trails. The riverfront is home to a wetlands area with wildlife viewing that includes deer, turkey, woodchuck, beaver, raccoon, barred owls and whipporwills. Moving up the bluffs, scenic overlooks provide an expansive view of the river.
Visitors can also take in the restored schoolhouse and general store in the former river town of St. Derion. Founded in 1854 to serve the Nemaha Half-Breed Reservation, the town was as a trading post and popular ferry location. Continual flooding led to the village being abandoned in 1920. From the town remains, a short hike along the bluff brings you to the overgrown Half-breed cemetery. From there additional trails explore the interior of this marvelous Midwestern park.
Editor's note: The areas of the park closest to the river are prone to flooding. During these times the cave and wetlands may be inaccessible.