Medicine Creek State Recreation Area
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Introduction

Medicine Creek State Recreation Area is one of Nebraska's best-hidden gems. Located in Cambridge, Nebraska, you'll experience a great close-to-nature atmosphere, while still in a well-kept campground. There are many amenities that make this park so desirable. Fishing, hunting, swimming, camping, and boating are among the most popular activities within the park!

If you're planning to camp in your RV, you can expect many electric hookup sites, but none have water or sewer hookups. Within each campground in the park, you'll find restrooms with shower houses and water. There is also a dump station located at the Shady Bay Campground entrance for any campers to use.

If you plan to camp in the winter, you can expect moderately cold winters and relatively hot summers. Summers in Medicine Creek State Recreation range from the 80s to 90s in temperature, making them perfect for all summer activities!

The dam at Medicine Creek Reservoir was constructed in 1948, and the lake is also known as Harry Strunk Lake, named after the founding editor of the McCook Daily Gazette, a local newspaper.

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Transportation in Medicine Creek State Recreation Area

Driving

Medicine Creek State Recreation Area is located in Cambridge, Nebraska just north of the Kansas Border. Accessing the park will require driving many small two-lane roads, but they are paved and easy to navigate. To get to the recreation area, US-34 is the most direct route.

Once you reach Medicine Creek State Recreation Area, you will find several winding roads that follow the shoreline of the lake. These roads are small, but they are still large enough to accommodate your RV, camper trailer, or boat trailer.

The recreation area is located on the South portion of the lake and continues about halfway up the lakeshore on each side. The campgrounds within the recreation area are spread out around the lake.

If you're looking for an alternative means to travel around the park, cycling is the best option. While you can walk, the park is very large and can take a while to walk from one side to the other. If you have the option of a smaller vehicle, this would also be a great way to navigate throughout the park!

Parking

Public Transport

Campgrounds and parking in Medicine Creek State Recreation Area

Campsites in Medicine Creek State Recreation Area

Reservations camping

First-come first-served

Trail 12 Campground

Trail 12 campground is very similar to the U Bay Campground. The main difference between the two is that Trail 12 campground offers many more campsites.

Trail 12 Campground is located on the Northeast portion of the lake and offers 18 campsites. These campsites do not have any hookups, but there are restrooms and potable water hydrants within the campground!

There are two group picnic areas within Trail 12 campground, making this an excellent place to camp with friends and family. If you're planning on boating, this campground is excellent for small boats such as kayaks, canoes, and paddle boards. Although there is no boat ramp, there is plenty of shoreline to put in paddle boats!

Shady Bay Campground

Shady Bay Campground is the largest campground within Medicine Bay State Recreation Area. If you're planning to camp in a place that offers the most RV amenities, this is an excellent campground for you.

Shady Bay Campground is located on the East portion of the lake and has a total of 76 campsites. Most of these campsites offer electric hookups, but don't have water or sewer hookups. This campground does, however, provide two shower houses, restrooms, and potable water hydrants! There is also a dump station located near to the entrance of the campground.

In addition to the many amenities within Shady Bay, this campground is home to one of the three boat ramps, a swimming area, a fishing dock, group picnic areas, and a playground!

U Bay Campground

U Bay Campground is one of the smallest campgrounds within the park, as it only offers eight campsites. These sites are primarily tent camping, and there are no hookups at all within this campsite.

If you're planning a camping trip in which you plan to take advantage of the boating opportunities, this is an excellent campground if you're not concerned with RV hookups. You'll find one of the three boat ramps within the U Bay Campground!

Although there are no hookups at this campground, there are restrooms with showers just a short walk from the campground, as well as a group picnic area and a potable water station!

Alternate camping

Seasonal activities in Medicine Creek State Recreation Area

In-Season

Picnicking

Picnicking is an excellent way to spend time with friends and family. In Medicine Creek State Recreation Area, you will find more than 130 picnic tables throughout the park, as well as more than 120 of them include a stand-alone grill.

If you're planning to bring a large group, there are also group picnic shelters available for camper's use in the U Bay Area, as well as the Trail 1 Area!

Boating

Boating is a very popular activity in Medicine Creek State Recreation Area, as all types of boats are allowed. With over 1,800 surface acres, this lake is perfect for jet skiing, sail boating, paddle boarding, and kayaking!

Within the recreation area, you'll find three separate boat ramps with adequate parking for your boat trailer. You will find a boat ramp in the U Bay Area, the Trail 1 Area, and the Shady Bay Area!

Swimming

When you're camping near a lake as large as Medicine Creek Reservoir, there's no better way to spend a summer day than cooling off with a good swim.

Located in the Shady Bay Camping Area, you'll find a designated swimming beach. While the lake is over 1,800 acres, this is the only area where swimming is allowed.

So pack your sunscreen and get ready for the perfect lake day!

Off-Season

Fishing

If you're looking for a great fishing spot, Medicine Creek State Recreation Area is an excellent place to try! With over 1,800 surface acres, the lake offers many fishing opportunities for both boat and shoreline fishing.

There are many coves and small islands on the lake, making perfect places for your next big catch. Crappie, walleye, bass, and striper are some of the most common fish species that you'll find in the lake.

Nature Watching

Nature watching is very common amongst outdoor enthusiasts in Medicine Creek State Recreation Area. The wildlife area within the park is within the Nebraska Quail and Pheasant range, making bird watching excellent in the park!

You will also see mule deer, whitetail deer, and turkey within the park! This recreation area is one of the finest public hunting lands in Nebraska, so you know when it's not hunting season there will be much wildlife to see!

Hiking

While there are no designated hiking trails within the recreation area, there are many hiking opportunities. Medicine Creek Reservoir boasts 29 miles of shoreline, making for the perfect hike around the lake.

There are over 5,500 acres of wildlife area that is available to hike. If you're planning on hiking during a hunting season, be sure to wear orange and be mindful of hunters throughout the area!

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