Indian Cave State Park

Full Of History, This Is One Of The Best State Parks In Nebraska

The Indian Cave State Park is situated right on the county line of Nemaha and Richardson counties in the south east corner of the state of Nebraska. It has an unrivalled position on the banks of the wide Missouri River.

The park gets its name from a huge sandstone rock shelter that is probably thousands of years old. The cave houses the only known Indian picture writings in the state of Nebraska. These petroglyphs show mainly wildlife scenes and shapes, unfortunately over the years some of these ancient drawings have been destoyed by more modern scratchings.

Little is known about the people who painted these pictures and when they were created. However, today visitors to the park can enjoy them and a set of wooden stairs has been constructed to allow people to get a close look.

The Rock Shelter At Indian Cave S.P.

The location where Indian Cave State Park now stands was once in an area known as the Nemaha Half-Breed Reservation. A treaty which was signed om July 15th 1830 set aside 125,000 acres of land for the offspring of white traders and trappers who had married Indian women. Those who qualified to live on this reservation could claim an allotment of 640 acres to set up homes and farms.

One man who did this was the son of a French Canadian called Joseph Deroin. He began operating a trading post from his log cabin. In time the site grew to become known as St. Deroin and was a settlement of around 230 people. However, due to various circumstances, by the 1920`s St. Deroin was virtually abandoned apart from a one room schoolhouse.

In 1978 the schoolhouse was restored to its original state and the old settlement of St. Deroin, the first ever town to be built in the county of Nemaha, was reconstructed. Now visitors can experience the American Heritage Program there, old time crafts such as soap making, candle dipping and broom making take place in the St. Deroin General Store.

Sunset On The Missouri River

Today the Indian Cave State Park is 3,052 acres of pristine land covered with hardwood forests that overlook the Missouri River. It is open all year round but is particularly popular in early May when the wildflowers are blooming and again in October when the hardwood trees take on their Fall colors. The park can also be busy in winter especially after snowfall when the many miles of trails make it a favorite destination for cross-country skiers.

There are twenty miles of trails of varying length through the park most of which are fairly strenuoius due to the nature of the terrain.

The Missouri River provides some great fishing and species to be caught include bass, bullhead, catfish and carp. Because the river can be dangerous there is absolutely no swimming.

Indian Cave State Park is run by the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. Here is their contact address -

Nebraska Game and Parks Commission
2200 N.33rd St.
Nebraska 68503-0370

Phone - (402) 471-0641
Website -

Here is the address and directions for Indian Cave State Park -

Indian Cave S.P.
RR 1 Box 30
Nebraska 68437-9801

Phone - (402) 883-2575

email -

Directions -
From Lincoln: East on Hwy 2 to Nebraska City, south on Hwy 75 to Auburn, east on Hwy 136 for 9 miles, south on Hwy 67 for 9 miles, east on 64E for 5 miles.
From Omaha: South on Hwy 75, east on Hwy 136 for 9 miles, south on Hwy 67 for 9 miles, east on Hwy 64E for 5 miles, Or you can get there on Interstate I-29 south, take exit 110 to Brownsville, west on Hwy 136, south on Hwy 67 for 9 miles, east on Hwy 64E for 5 miles.

Here is a county map of Nebraska, the position of Indian Cave S.P. is indicated with a star.

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