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Status: Open year round.   Season Dates


Bessey Recreation Complex and campground is located in central Nebraska, adjacent to Middle Loup River, offering visitors opportunities to enjoy the scenery, relax, and recreate.

Natural Features:

The Nebraska National Forests and Grasslands are located in central and western Nebraska and South Dakota. This area is made up of two national forests, three national grasslands, a tree nursery and is host to a Job Corps facility.

An unusual combination of the native ponderosa pine forest and mixed grass prairies, combined with hand-planted forests, sand hills and grasslands, is unique to the National Forest System.

The campground within the Bessy Recreation Complex is located next to the Charles E. Bessey Nursery, the oldest tree nursery in the Forest Service.

Wildlife in the area abounds. Prairie chicken, sharp-tailed grouse, mule-deer, whitetailed deer, pronghorn antelope, prairie dogs, turkeys, coyotes, bobwhite quail, eagles, hawks and falcons all find habitat in surrounding ecosystems.


Waterfront activities are popular and plentiful at this facility. Adjacent to the campground, Middle Loup River is shallow and steady flowing, providing good conditions for tubing and canoeing. A seven acre pond stocked with largemouth bass, blue gill, trout and catfish offers great fishing for the whole family. There is also an accessible fishing pier.


Bessy Recreation Complex has camping sites able to accommodate tents, trailers, and RVs, including one group site and several tent-only sites.

The campground is equipped with picnic tables, campfire rings, flush toilets and drinking water. Electric hookups are available at the group site and several of the standard sites. A group picnic area is also available for use.

Restaurants, gas stations and a grocery store are available in Thedford, Nebraska, 16 miles to the west.

Nearby Attractions:

Drive or hike to the Scott Lookout Tower for a fantastic panoramic view of Nebraska's sand hills and prairies.

Activities and Amenities

Within Facility
  • Accessible Flush Toilets
  • Accessible Group Shelters
  • Accessible Picnic Area
  • Birding
  • Campfire Rings
  • Drinking Water
  • Dump Station
  • Electric Hookups
  • Fishing
  • Fishing Pier
  • Flush Toilets
  • Grills
  • Group Camping
  • Group Cooking Facilities
  • Group Picnic Shelters
  • Hiking
  • Historic Sites
  • Horseshoe Pit
  • Off Road Vehicle Trails
  • Parking Area
  • Paved Roads
  • Pay Telephone
  • Picnic Area
  • Picnic Shelters
  • RV sites
  • Ranger Station
  • River Access
  • Security Lights
  • Self Pay Station
  • Showers
  • Softball Fields
  • Trailheads
  • Trash Collection
  • Tubing
  • Vault Toilets
  • Volleyball Courts
  • Water Spigot
  • Wildlife Viewing
Know Before You Go
  • Off-road vehicles can only be ridden to the trailhead and back within the campground
  • Horse corrals available at primitive campsites
  • The main restroom facilities and showers will be closed from mid-October through mid-May
  • Double camping in sites prohibited
  • Click here for more information about the Nebraska National Forests and Grasslands
  • Don't Move Firewood: Prevent the spread of tree-killing organisms by obtaining firewood at or near your destination and burning it on-site. For more information visit dontmovefirewood.org.

Getting There:

GPS Info. (Latitude, Longitude):
41.90061, -100.29914
41°54'2"N, 100°17'57"W

From Interstate 80, travel north from North Platte, Nebraska on U.S. Hwy 83 for 65 miles to Thedford, Nebraska. Continue East for 16 miles on Nebraska Hwy 2, then South .05 miles from Hwy 2 on State Spur 86B.

Contact Information:

Mailing Address:

HALSEY  NE  69142

Phone Number:

Project Office: (308)533-2257
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