Located 1 ½ miles southwest of Pierce, scenic Willow Creek State Recreation Area draws its name from the meandering stream that feeds the Elkhorn River in Northeast Nebraska. The 1,633-acre area includes a 700-acre flood control reservoir with excellent fishing opportunities. The area also boasts picnicking, camping, boating and an 8-mile limestone hike/bike trail.
Anglers will find crappie, bluegill, bass, catfish, walleye, northern pike and wipers, among other species. Seven rock jetties provide angler access. Willow Creek Lake is fairly shallow, with the deepest point measuring about 35 feet.
The main body of the lake is open to all boating, as well as to water skiing. The wooded west end of the lake (about half the lake surface) is restricted to no-wake boating.
Willow Creek has one swimming beach. No lifeguards are on duty.
Willow Creek offers an eight-mile limestone hike/bike trail with a two-mile connector trail to Pierce. While horses are not permitted on the limestone trail, a 10-mile mowed horse trail is available, as well. Park roads also may be used by horseback riders.
Mature trees and plenty of scenery make Willow Creek a fine day-use spot. Picnickers will find dozens of tables and grills, as well as six shelters, two of which have electricity.
Parts of Willow Creek are open to hunting, in season, beginning the first Tuesday after Labor Day and closing April 1. Species available include pheasant, quail, mourning dove, rabbit, squirrel and a variety of waterfowl. Deer hunting is permitted but is restricted to archery only. Rifles, handguns and shotgun slugs may not be used on the area.
RV and tent camping
Willow Creek offers 101 electric pad sites in the main campground. 64 sites have 30-amp service, and 37 have 30/50 amp service. Willow Creek also has 11 primitive camping sites. The campground offers a water fill station, modern restrooms, showers and laundry. The dump station is located in Pierce at the courthouse.
Equestrian camping consists of 10 pads, which are each 100-feet long. Each pad is accompanied by a 50-foot pen and 50-amp electrical hookup. A primitive area with two barbless pens also is available. Horse sites may be reserved.