In 2016, I flew into Rapid City, South Dakota. I had the intention to check a few waterfalls off, including some waterfalls in Nebraska. I saw three waterfalls in Nebraska, Snake River Falls, Smith Falls, and Fort Falls. All three of them were surprisingly beautiful. One doesn’t necessarily associate waterfalls with Nebraska, but you should.
Fort Falls is found in Fort Niobara National Wildlife Refuge, which is open sunrise to sunset. Getting to the trail for the falls does require driving through the refuge, where you’re almost guaranteed to see some prairie dogs. They were abundant. Once at the parking area for the trail head, it was a short hike to the falls. At 45′, Fort Falls is an impressive waterfall that just appears. It was definitely fun to photograph, as you can try a few different angles with the falls. If you continue down the trail, you’ll end up at the Niobara River, and will have a great view of some cliffs along the river.
- From Valentine, Nebraska, head northeast on NE-12, the Outlaw Trail Scenic Byway.
- Turn right into the entrance to Fort Niobara National Wildlife Refuge (which might be labeled Nebraska 16D).
- After entering the park, I would follow the signs that clearly indicate where the waterfall is. There is a interconnected system of dirt roads throughout the refuge and they don’t have clear names. If you’re on the right path, you should end up at a looped parking area, and an information sign will indicate that you’re very close to the falls.
Accessibility: 8/10 (easy/moderate)
Length of Hike: 0.75 miles round-trip
Where in the World is Fort Falls?