Johnson Lake State Recreation Area

1 East Park Drive 25A
Elwood, NE 68937


Excellent camping, fishing and water sports are hallmarks of this popular area, just 10 miles south of Lexington. This recreation area packs a lot of outdoor fun in 68 acres and provides three access points to the 2,068-acre lake.

It is the heart of a complex of lakes on the Tri-County Canal south of I-80 between Lexington and Cozad. It provides fine outdoor recreation opportunities, especially when joined with the nearby Gallagher Canyon SRA, Elwood Reservoir WMA, Plum Creek and Phillips Canyon.


Johnson Lake offers excellent angling for a variety of fish, including walleye, white bass and wipers. Recent angler access improvements provide great habitat for quality fishing. Two handicap-accessible fishing piers are available, one on the north side of the inlet and another on the south side. Two fishing cleaning stations are available, as well.

All types of boats are permitted at the lake. You’ll see fishing boats, sail boats, paddle boats and personal water craft.

A public swim beach provides a place for families to enjoy the water close to amenities and grills for family barbecues.

Johnson Lake has many great areas for friends and family to gather for a cookout or picnic. The area offers 144 picnic tables, 133 grills and five shelters.

Other activities
Johnson Lake has many community and lake events. An annual Independence Day boat parade followed by a fireworks show is always popular with park guests. The annual Juneboree craft fair draws both artisans and shoppers. Other events include eagle viewing, bird watching on the Larry Roper Trail, fishing tournaments and more.


RV camping
Johnson Lake SRA offers 113 pad sites with 20, 30 and 50-amp electrical hookups. Modern restrooms dump station and shower house are available. All campers must register. Reservations are accepted. Reservations are taken for 50% of the modern camping. Reservations are taken up to 1 year in advance of arrival day.

Primitive camping
Johnson Lake offers 64 non-pad sites without electricity.

Images provided by, Ticketmaster
Please use "Flag This Place" to alert us about content that is inappropriate or needs immediate attention. Nothing you submit will be shared with other site visitors.

Upcoming AARP Events

View All AARP Events »

Find information about getting a COVID-19 vaccine in your state. CDC information is available at; additional AARP information and resources are at En español, visite

AARP Member Card

Join or Renew Today


  • Immediate access to your member benefits
  • Discounts on travel and everyday savings
  • Subscription to the award-winning AARP The Magazine
  • An ally on the issues that matter most to you in Elwood
  • Free membership for your spouse or partner