Snake River Falls, Nebraska

I have known about some of the waterfalls in Nebraska for a while, but haven’t had the chance to visit them. One of the reasons is that they’re relatively isolated. I travel a lot of fun by flying, and the nearest commercial airports to these waterfalls are over 140 miles away (North Platte or Pierre). And they’re served by smaller airlines, so it’s not as easy to arrive. When I decided to visit the Black Hills in South Dakota, I looked at the map and realized Rapid City’s airport wasn’t much further away. I extended my trip to be able to visit the Black Hills and some of Nebraska’s waterfalls.

Even then, it’s still a long drive. Valentine is the epicenter of these waterfalls. Once you arrive, it’s still a longer drive to the waterfalls. Snake River Falls is 20 miles or more southwest of Valentine. I was tired of driving already, but it was definitely worth it. Snake River Falls is considered to be the Nebraska waterfall with the most volume, and when I visited a few days ago in early May, this was very obvious. Recent rains and possible snow melt created a wildly impressive waterfall. In searching for info about this waterfall, I saw images of people fishing in the river. That would not have been possible on the day I visited. So while it’s not a particularly tall waterfall (the tallest in Nebraska is Smith Falls), it’s definitely a big waterfall.

Now that you know about it, you just need to find it. As I had read somewhere else, there is absolutely no sign along the main road (NE-97) that would indicate you’re approaching a waterfall. My best advice would be to type in Snake River Falls into Google Maps on your smartphone and have that direct you to the dirt road that leads to the falls. I’m not even sure there’s a name for the road? Realize that this waterfall is on private property of the Snake Falls Sportsmen’s Club. There is a $1 per person fee, which is worth it.

Directions:

  1. From Valentine, at the intersection of US-20 and NE-97, head south along NE-97 for 22.2 miles.
  2. Look for an unmarked dirt road to your right. Turn right, and follow this for 1 mile. If you have the right road, you should end up at the Snake Falls Sportmen’s Club. Park there and pay the $1 per person fee in the mailbox.
  3. Take the short hike to the falls. Be careful! The rock here is very soft and I couold imagine it being rather slippery. To get to the base of the falls, you have to head downhill. The path are relatively obvious, but I had to hold on to rocks at some points to ensure my safety.

Accessibility: 7/10 (easy/moderate, slippery rock downhill)
Height: ~15′
Hike: 0.3 miles round trip

DSC_0131

Snake River Falls in May 2016

Where in the World is Snake River Falls?

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