Bow Creek Recreation Area

A panoramic view at the Bow Creek Recreation Area

NPS Photo


Road leading into Bow Creek Recreation Area and it's campground are Closed

The road leading into Bow Creek Recreation Area is closed and impassible due to a rain event that hit northeast Nebraska and southeast South Dakota in March 2019. The road and campground will remain closed until further notice.

Bow Creek Recreation Area provides many opportunities for the public to experience a part of the Missouri National Recreational River. The property includes a mix of wetlands, grasslands, riparian cottonwood forest, and mesic-bur oak forest. Rock and sediment exposures along the Missouri River reveal past geologic events. A mowed grass trail loops through the property that may reveal signs of wildlife including resident whitetail deer and turkey. Look for pollinator species in the restored prairie during the warm seasons.

Yellow coneflowers in bloom in the prairies of Bow Creek Recreation Area.
August is a good month to see coneflowers in bloom in the prairie.

NPS Photo

Park biologists are working to restore areas of recreation area that have succumbed to native and non-native plant species. Of particular interest, the national park converted 30 acres of farmland into native prairie, cut and treated all Russian olive trees, and has removed several thousand native, eastern red cedar trees from the floodplain and historic bluff land prairie.

The acquisition of Bow Creek Recreation Area began in 2004 when the National Park Service purchased the property north of Bow Creek and completed the transaction in 2008 with the acquisition of the southern portion. All lands were acquired from willing sellers.

View of the Missouri from the shores of Bow Creek Rec Area.
Opportunities for napping under the shade of a cottonwood tree are available at Bow Creek Recreation Area.

NPS Photo

How To Get There

Bow Creek Recreation Area is located along Bow Creek and the Missouri River in Cedar County about 2 miles northeast of Wynot, Nebraska. A series of gravel roads wind you to the location by car. Follow the brown Bow Creek Recreational Area directional signs to the gravel parking lot and trailhead. Visit Google Maps for orientation to the recreation area.

While visiting Bow Creek...

  • Private land surrounds the public access and the entire NPS property. Please watch for property and boundary signs.
  • Trash receptacles are not available on the property. The NPS encourages that you "Leave No Trace" so others can enjoy the Bow Creek Recreation Area experience as well.
  • Camping is allowed and free. Camp only in designated sites marked with brown camping signs and metal fire rings.
  • Watch campfires. Dead and down wood may be collected.
  • Motorized vehicles and horses are prohibited on the property.
  • Do not damage or remove the cultural or natural features.

Hunting Regulations

Bow Creek Recreation Area is open to public hunting and fishing. The following regulations were developed to ensure equal access for all visitors, provide a safe environment for recreation, and protect resources for present and future generations to enjoy. Please following our regulations.
  • Federal and State Hunting and Fishing Regulations apply.
  • Do not leave personal property unattended for more than 24 hours. This includes waterfowl blinds on the National Park Service accretion property.
  • Non-toxic shot is required for all shotgun hunting.
  • Trapping is prohibited.

Tree Stand Limitations

  • Permanent tree stands and climbing devices are prohibited.
  • Portable tree stands and climbing devices that do not use nails, wire, or bolts for attachment are allowed during Nebraska deer hunting season.
  • Screw-in steps only.
  • No more than one portable tree stand per licensed hunter.
  • Name, address, and phone number of the owner or user must be on the stand and be legible and visible from the ground.
  • Other blinds or elevated platforms not attached to a tree must also conform to the specified dates and labeling requirement.
Questions regarding visitor use or hunting at Bow Creek Recreation Area, please call the National Park Service headquarters at 605-665-0209.

Last updated: April 22, 2019

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

508 East 2nd Street
Yankton, SD 57078


(605) 665-0209

Contact Us