Devils Nest abandoned ski resort is in northeast Nebraska, Knox County, not far from the recreation areas on Lewis and Clark Lake.
Devils Nest was part of a large luxury resort planned for this part of Nebraska, and this unlikely ski area actually operated for a few years in the early 70s. A 25-story hotel was planned and there were supposed to be luxury homes as well, but, according to the Sioux City Journal:
In 1974, the Nebraska Secretary of State dissolved the Devils Nest Development Co. for nonpayment of corporate occupation taxes. Banks foreclosed on the property the following year, and the property was sold at auction to satisfy judgments in 1977.
The current owner of Devils Nest bought it in 2008.
Terry and I had been traveling most of the morning through beautiful country and we were eager to get into Devils Nest to shoot. When we arrived, we found one of the roads into the site and we were somewhat surprised to see it was un-gated and not posted.
Update: Since we left, the property owner has contacted us and informed us the property is private. We’d like to add it’s private, even though there are some routes into the site that are not marked as such.
We began to drive down into the resort, but the road deteriorated quickly and we parked at the top of the hill, resigned to hike in. We heard a distant rumble of thunder as we started walking, each of us carrying a backpack with sixty pounds of gear. The hike was about three quarters of a mile, first down the steep, winding road shown above, then a short uphill climb.
As we approached the bottom we got our first glimpse of the lift machinery… this would have been the bottom of the run.
The first lift chair I saw when we arrived.
Terry going up to get a better look.
Devils Nest Development still exists, but today the focus is on luxury home lots overlooking Lewis & Clark Lake. Devils Nest ski resort is just a curiosity.
We had been searching for blue sky and white clouds most of the day, and we thought we might get lucky since the sun was shining as we approached Devils Nest, but no such luck.
Unpaid taxes notwithstanding, it was really the location that did Devils Nest in. Without any mountains, Nebraska is simply too warm to have a ski resort here. The snow making machines were constantly running and couldn’t keep up most of the time.
Devils Nest development once had a yacht club and a golf course too.
The former ski lodge.
Ski in, ski out.
Terry came out of the lodge and commented that he thought Devils Nest would be a perfect setting for an episode of The Walking Dead.
I was concentrating on photos and not paying any attention to the weather when Terry said, “Did you hear that thunder?” It sounded like it was getting closer.
We were right about here, debating whether to make the hike to the top of the run, when a cool breeze blew in. It alarmed me right away because it had been hot and humid all day. I looked back at Terry and said, “We gotta get out of here.” It didn’t hit me until right at that moment that our car was a half mile away, up a very steep hill.
We began walking as quickly as possible, shooting a few photos on the way out.
We wore ourselves out hiking back up the access road, hoping to make it to the car before the rain came, but we failed by about two minutes. The car was just in sight when it started to pour. We got soaked, but cameras survived. See the video of our exploration of Devils Nest.
Read more about Devils Nest: The Nebraska Resort That Almost Was.
Photos by Troy Larson and Terry Hinnenkamp, copyright © 2014 Sonic Tremor Media LLC