Outdoor Reports Buy A Permit Nebraska Game and Parks Make A Reservation
About Us
Articles & Blogs
Social Media and Mobile Apps


Elkhorn River

Calamus River | Cedar River | Dismal River | Elkhorn River | General | Described | Characteristics | Access Points | Scenery | Services Available | River Map | Niobrara River | North Loup River | Platte River | Republican River | Upper Missouri River | Canoe Trails Guide

General Information

The Elkhorn River originates in the lush hay meadow land in the north-central counties of Holt and Rock and Calamus River ends near Gretna at the confluence with the Platte River. Flows vary considerably along its entire length depending on snow melt, rainfall and irrigation demand.

Normally, the greatest flow occurs from March through early June. However, there is often enough water for canoeing in September and October. Spring rains can produce destructive flooding. Flood damage is higher along the Elkhorn than any other river basin in Nebraska.

Section Described

Norfolk to Elkhorn Crossing Recreation Area - 99 miles.


The Elkhorn is smooth flowing and wide and usually has a narrower, deeper channel which is desirable for canoeing. The Elkhorn is a meandering river and the channel's position can vary from year to year. You will encounter mud bars, submerged logs and occasionally will see car bodies and concrete used for bank protection. The water levels are lower after mid-June through September due to high temperatures, low rainfall, crop irrigation and summer winds.

Due to low water levels during summer, canoeing times could increase by one-half or even more.

Access Points

At Norfolk, you can enter the river in the southeast corner of Ta-Ha-Zouka Park (south of Norfolk on the east of U.S. 81). Norfolk to Stanton is 16 river miles (6-7 hours) There is river access near the fairgrounds in Stanton but conditions are less than desirable. Stanton to Red Fox WMA near the Pilger bridge is 9 river miles (3-4 hours). The area is located on the east side of Nebraska 15, on the north side of the river. Parking and primitive camping are available. Pilger to Wisner River Park is 8 miles (3-4 hours). The park affords good access to the river, camping and restroom facilities. Wisner to West Point, Nebraska 32 bridge is 16 river miles (6-7 hours).

The river may be accessed on the southwest corner of the bridge. Camping and restroom facilities are available on the east side of the river at West Point Riverside Park. West Point to U.S. 275 bridge is 9 river miles (3-4 hours). Access to the river may be gained on the southeast corner of the bridge which is approximately 500 yards north of the Powderhorn WMA where parking is available. Dead Timber SRA and camping is only 3 miles from the parking lot (Go north on 275 and then east on black top road). U.S. 275 bridge to the Scribner is 6 river miles (2-3 hours). River access is on the southwest side of bridge. Scribner to Hooper is 8 river miles (3-4 hours).

Access may be gained on the southeast side of the bridge but is less than desirable because of proximity to the public roadway. Hooper to Winslow Hwy 81 bridge is 7 river miles (3-4 hours). Access and egress at the Winslow Hwy 81 bridge is possible but more difficult. Winslow Hwy 81 bridge to Nickerson is approximately 6 river miles (2.5-3 hours). River access is possible on the northeast side of Hwy 91 bridge. Again access may be difficult. Nickerson to Arlington is 10 river miles (4-5 hours). Access the river on the northeast side of the bridge. Arlington to Elkhorn Crossing Recreation Area, west side, is 11 river miles (4 - 5 hours). The area offers camping, boat ramp, picnicking and restrooms.

If desired, you can canoe from Elkhorn Crossing to Schramm SRA 32 miles, north side of the Platte River, or canoe to Louisville SRA, 5 miles farther on the south side, where there are both modern and primitive camping facilities.

Exercise extreme caution when ever using river access along a public roadway.


Along the river corridor you will canoe through hilly land forms having moderate to steep slopes and rounded ridge crests composed of glacial till mantled with loess. Along the river there are open woodlands and dense forested areas interspersed with farmland in the cleared lowlands. Cottonwood and willow trees dominate the woodlands and to a lesser degree elms, box elder, green ash and hackberry are found. Shrubs include black currant, false indigo, red osier, rough-leaved dogwoods and others. Wildlife thrives in this setting and includes deer, squirrels, raccoon, opossum, fox, coyote, shorebirds, eagles, hawks and furbearers; and turtles, carp and catfish in the river.

Services Available

You may contact the following public offices for more specific information regarding services within each of the communities or the region:

  • Norfolk: (402) 644-8717
  • Stanton: (402) 439-2119
  • Pilger: (402) 396-3563
  • Wisner: (402) 529-6616
  • Beemer: (402) 528-3253
  • West Point: (402) 372-2466
  • Dead Timber SRA: (402) 664-3597
    (overnight camping and support facilities)
  • Scribner: (402) 664-3231
  • Hooper: (402) 654-3649
  • Winslow: (402) 654-3538
  • Nickerson: (402) 727-7307

Hospitals in Norfolk:
  • Lutheran Community Hospital (402) 371-4880
  • Our Lady of Lourdes (402) 371-3402
Hospital in Fremont Area:
  • Medical Center (402) 721-1610.
Dialing 911 will reach emergency personnel in the area.

end footer

About Us | Commissioners | Projects/Bids | Jobs | Privacy | E-News Subscribe

Nebraska Game and Parks Commission - 2200 N. 33rd St. Lincoln, NE 68503 - 402-471-0641

Twitter Icon Clickable YouTube Clickable Icon Instagram Clickable Icon