Lake Maloney State Recreation Area is situated on the shores of Lake Maloney, a reservoir lake that is over 1,600 acres by surface area, just under ten miles from the city of North Platt, Nebraska. Not only is this bountiful lake utilized to generate electricity at the nearby North Platte Hydro facility, but it is also a popular spot for many types of aquatic recreation. All sorts of boating enthusiasts, from those paddling kayaks or canoes, to those that enjoy water skiing or jet skiing, can be found enjoying the clear waters of the lake. The copious aquatic plants that thrive in this lake also provide shelter for a large number of fish species, including varieties of bass, crappie, sunfish, and catfish, making fishing from either the shore or from a boat rewarding and worthwhile. A number of different types of waterfowl congregate on this lake as well, particularly in the spring months, and when the lake’s water levels are low, a variety of shorebirds will also gather in this area. Campsites in this recreational area are first-come, first-served, and they tend to fill up fairly early during the peak seasons, so you may want to arrive early if you are visiting in the summer, especially between Memorial Day and Labor Day.
Lake Maloney State Recreation Area is just under ten miles south of the city of North Platt in the southwestern portion of Nebraska. U.S. Highway 83 is a wide, straight stretch of road with large shoulders that is easy to navigate even with a big rig or towing a trailer. The turn onto Lake Road, which leads to the park, does not have a great deal of signage, so you will want to be careful not to miss the corner. Lake Road is still straight, but it is also a great deal narrower and is not maintained as frequently as the highway. There are wide, flat dirt roads inside the park itself, and while the visibility is quite good, the roads themselves are very rough and require careful and slow driving to avoid your belongings bouncing around in your trailer or boat. Other than the campsites, there is not much in the way of designated parking areas. However, parking is allowed on any grassy or dirt surface that does not have a sign stating otherwise.
The campground at Lake Maloney State Recreation Area has 56 RV campsites with are available on a first-come, first-served basis. The RV pads are compacted gravel, and are generally level and well-maintained but some are shorter than others. If you are driving a larger rig, you may want to arrive early to ensure that you get a spot that is large enough. RV sites do not have water or sewer hookups, but they do provide 50 amp hookups and there is a sanitary dump station near the entrance to the park. Each site provides a fire ring with a grill and a picnic table. There are two pit toilets at the park, but no showers available. Pets are allowed at the campgrounds, but must be restrained by a six foot or shorter lead or contained in a crate. Generators are permitted during daytime hours but must be silenced during the park’s quiet hours between 10 PM and 6 AM.
Lake Maloney State Recreation Area is situated on the shores of Lake Maloney, a reservoir that covers over 1,600 acres. The abundant aquatic vegetation provides cover for large, healthy populations of several species of fish, including bass, crappie, trout, sunfish, and both flathead and channel catfish. The recreation area provides two boat docks, one at each end of the outlet area, a fish cleaning station near the southern boat dock, and a ADA-compliant fishing pier near the inlet area. Fishing Lake Maloney is most popular in the warmer months, but when the ice is thick enough in the winter, ice fishing is also an option.
If you are a fan of waterskiing or jetskiing be sure to bring your watercraft along with you. All types of boats and watercraft are permitted on Lake Maloney during the hours between sunrise and sunset, and water sports are a popular pastime for both locals and visitors. Wake jumping is not allowed within 50 yards of another craft, and speeds exceeding 5 MPH are prohibited within 30 yards of fishing piers, harbors, and swimming beaches. Be cautious of other swimmers and boaters and remember to wear an approved life vest when partaking in watersports.
Those who enjoy lake swimming will want to bring along their swimsuits and water shoes in their trailer. There are two designated sandy swimming beaches in the recreation area, a great way to cool off in the heat of summer. The swimming beaches are unmanned, so it is recommended that you swim with a partner or group for safety purposes. Najas Marina, an aquatic plant better known as Spiney Moss, occasionally invades this lake and while it promotes oxygenation and is good for wildlife in the lake, it can be somewhat painful if you encounter it while swimming.
All types of boating are permitted on the lake from sunup to sundown, including boating that employs fishing boats, kayaks, jet skis, and canoes. Speeds exceeding 5 MPH are prohibited within 30 yards of fishing piers, harbors, and swimming beaches. Swimmers have the right of way over vessels, and non-motorized vessels have the right of way over vessels operating under mechanical power. Mind your wake, be cautious of other swimmers and boaters, and remember to wear an approved life vest.
Geocaching is a worldwide scavenger hunt. Participants use this information to search for caches left by other participants. When they find the small container that makes up the cache, they sign the log book or log sheet to indicate it has been found, as well as confirming it on their phone. Some caches contain small trinkets and trackable tokens as well. Cellular service is good in this recreation area and this activity is popular near Lake Maloney, with caches lining the shores of the lake.
If you enjoy birdwatching you will want to ensure that your birding kit is with you in your campervan when you come to visit Lake Maloney State Recreation Area. This lake is a popular site for American white pelicans and double-crested commorants to gather, particularly in the springtime, and several species of duck spend time on this lake as well. When water levels are low, many varieties of shorebird are attracted to the lake as well, including plovers, yellowlegs, and sandpipers.