Willow Creek State Recreation Area near Pierce, Neb., is a year-round outdoor adventure.
A reader emailed us that Willow Creek features “miles of biking and horse-riding trails, water sports, a great swimming beach and (separate) campgrounds for both people and horses.”
You can water ski or use a personal watercraft on the 700-acre lake during the hot months. Come cold weather, jet across the ice pack on a snowmobile.
The recreation area also boasts an outdoor archery field course, boating and fishing areas, and hiking trails.
Fish for crappie, walleye, channel catfish, largemouth bass, bluegill and wipers from a boat or one of the seven handicap-accessible piers. For archery anglers, common carp are ample targets. Power boats, kayaks, canoes, sailboats and sail boards are welcome.
The 1,633 acres of land around the lake offer modern restrooms, showers, electrical camp pads, dump stations, primitive camping, picnicking with fire grates, potable water, two playgrounds and laundry facilities. Camping reservations are recommended, and a camp ranger is on-site.
An 8-mile hiking and horseback trail winds through the area. For walkers, a limestone trail leads from the swimming beach to the west edge of Pierce.
Willow Grove also welcomes hunters, in season, for pheasant, quail, mourning dove, rabbit, squirrel and a variety of waterfowl. Deer hunting is restricted to archery only.
If you're a less active tourist, explore bird watching, stargazing, and viewing of wildflowers and wildlife. Bird watchers will find numerous species, some rare.
Should you tire of all that, check out Nebraska's first winery.
“You can take in the Cuthills Vineyards just a mile from the campgrounds and across the road from several day campgrounds,” the reader noted.
Through December, the tasting room is open 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays.
Pierce also boasts the award-winning Gilman Park Arboretum, Pierce Historical Society Museum Complex in Gilman Park, a public swimming pool, community golf course and other amenities.
The 37th annual Pierce Threshing Bee will be Sept. 14 and 15.