In 1878 William Cody bought 4,000 acres near North Platte, Nebraska. He built ranch buildings, including a house and a barn. He raised cattle and purebred stallions. He lived here from 1886 to 1913 and called this place Scout’s Rest Ranch.
Buffalo Bill Ranch State Historical Park
The state of Nebraska bought the famous showman’s property in 1965 and preserved 16 acres of it, known today as the Buffalo Bill Ranch State Historical Park.
The park consists of several buildings that Cody built, including the house known to locals as “the Mansion on the Prairie.” Built in 1886, the mansion was the largest house in North Platte at the time. It cost $3,900 to build and has since been restored. The barn and several of the outbuildings have also been preserved and filled with items that represent ranch life.
The buildings are open for touring in the spring through fall. A Virtual Tour is available for those interested in seeing more of the park. More information about the historical park can be found at Buffalo Bill Ranch State Historical Park.
Buffalo Bill Ranch State Recreation Area
The original reason why we stopped at Scout’s Rest Ranch was for the camping. We were passing through Nebraska and were looking for a place to stay for a night. We thought this historical park would be a special treat.
The campground is located on the North Platte River and is a rather pretty location. There are 23 modern camping sites that include electric hookups. Additionally, eight campsites are available for rustic camping and do not include electricity. Because the campground is on prairie land, there really isn’t any privacy between sites. Although a decent size, the campsites are all open. We typically visit this campground in the fall and have not had any issue with overcrowding.
Vault toilets are available as well as water hydrants. On the west side of the campground, a bonus, in my opinion, is a large field that usually contains cows. An excellent reminder of the history of the land.
Along with camping, the Buffalo Bill Ranch State Recreation Area offers 5 miles of hiking, horseback trail rides, and float trips down the North Platte River. Kayak, canoe, and tube rentals are available. There is also a petting zoo and one of the highlights of our stay there, an incredibly friendly donkey.
For more information visit Buffalo Bill Ranch State Recreation Area.