Lake McConaughy (Ogallala, NE)

JosepHooah

Rock Stacker
Joined
Aug 25, 2020
Messages
6
Location
Denver, CO
Greetings RS4x4,

In case you've never been, this lake is home of the Ogallala Aquifer. One of the world's largest aquifers, it underlies an area of approximately 174,000 sq mi (450,000 km2) in portions of eight states (WY, SD, NE, CO, KS, OK, NM, and TX). Over 80% of Nebraska land sits on top of this aquifer much like a water sponge providing irrigation for all the farms that produces food for me and you across middle America.

Me and a couple buddies will be camping out on Lake McConaughy this weekend Thursday-Saturday. I wanted to start a tread to cover what the is lake is all about for previous and future trips, I will be posting pictures after the trip. So far, I've found their website @ https://ilovelakemac.com and because it's a state park your suppose to obtain a entry permit for each vehicle @ http://outdoornebraska.gov

If you have previous experience on where to go? any off road trails near the lake? I will appreciate all the responses and feel free to direct message me or reach out if you happen to stop by this weekend. -Joe
 

Beach Boy

Cruise Moab Committee
Cruise Moab Committee
Joined
Jan 9, 2019
Messages
150
Location
Moab, Utah
Camped on the north shore in the past. Been at the RV parks and beach camping. Always fun water activities.
 

Yeti

Rising Sun Member
Joined
Oct 3, 2019
Messages
79
Location
Arvada, CO
I have camped on the north shore at one of the dispersed first come first serve areas. It was fun to drive into, there may have been some spirited driving after we unloaded the car ;). The sand the ruts deterred some people but it wasn't anything most stock vehicles and decent driver couldn't manage, we got an Acura TSX all the way to the beach. I think the area was between the Cedar view and Sand creek campgrounds. I was camping with a large group so we went on Thursday morning to make make sure we got a prime spot. I think it usually fills up during the summer months so if you don't have a reservation that is something to consider but I don't know how busy it is now. The water levels can vary a lot so sometimes there is a lot of beach and sometimes not. There is also a potential for severe weather out there so be prepared and keep things secure. I wasn't a fan of the bugs and humidity when I went in late June a few years back but it was nothing a lot of alcohol couldn't fix. I think supplies were expensive at the gas station and market but I could be misremembering. Bring shade and have fun!
 

Inukshuk

Rising Sun Member
Joined
Aug 24, 2005
Messages
5,065
Location
Denver, CO
Yup, be prepared for high wind and check weather alerts for thunderstorms. Other than that - enjoy!
 

subzali

Rising Sun Member
Joined
Aug 22, 2005
Messages
9,325
Location
Denver CO
The sand alone may give you a run for your money in some places, not sure if there are any trails around there but Chimney Rock isn't all that far and there are Oregon Trail wagon ruts still visible near Bridgeport. Made an impression on me as a teen.
 

MDH33

Hard Core 4+
Joined
Mar 8, 2006
Messages
6,783
Location
Trapped in a corn field
I stopped there on my way to a Rising Sun run a few years ago in the fall. Too cold to swim, but it sure was a blast driving around on the sand and having the whole place open for dispersed camping. I bet it gets busy and crowded in the summer.



 

subzali

Rising Sun Member
Joined
Aug 22, 2005
Messages
9,325
Location
Denver CO
I have a friend who was there in early August and he said it was like spring break in Miami, maybe 50,000 people. Now that schools started maybe it would be less. But still that’s a lot of bodies...
 

JosepHooah

Rock Stacker
Joined
Aug 25, 2020
Messages
6
Location
Denver, CO
I recommend visiting the visitor center first @ 1475 NE-61 Scenic, Ogallala, NE 69153

ilovelakemac dot com is the website. Day pass can be purchased online $8 @ outdoornebraska.ne.gov

We camped two nights right on the beach at ‘Martin Bay’ which is East of the lake. Beach Area #4 paved parking lot with latrines and showers. Beach Areas #1-6 had the most sand surface because water level is down. Beach Areas #15-18 has less sand and more tree trails if you wanted to 4x4. Did not venture to the west side of lake to Omaha Beach / Ceder view I assume it would have less sand and less people.

Get there Friday early to claim a camping spot on the beach. Saturday the crowd filled up with jet skis and boats. Weather was 80s so warm enough to swim. Make sure you air down your tires (I did 25 psi) I was on 4 low center diff locked and still got stuck in the sand. Had to use my recovery tracks and rescued 3 SUVs out of the sand. Bring shade and hydrate because sand water reflects UV.

They have bulldozers around pulling cars out for a fee $100-200 I heard. Also if you go Friday afternoon there are Park Rangers in a unmarked Ford F-150 pulling right up on you and confiscate any alcohol bottles in view and my friend got a $100 alcohol consumption ticket from the state of Nebraska. So drink at your own risk because the rule is zero consumption.

When it’s time to leave, pick up all your trash and stop at ‘Casey’s’ gas station to fill your tires back up the air station is free! Be careful filling their $1.80 gas it’s cheap because it’s E85 personally I don’t like ethanol/alcohol in my gas tank. Have fun be safe!
 

JosepHooah

Rock Stacker
Joined
Aug 25, 2020
Messages
6
Location
Denver, CO
Park map and Pictures attached below
 

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