Scenic Smith Falls State Park is home to Nebraska’s highest waterfall, also called Smith Falls. The state park is a popular destination for campers, as well as canoers, kayakers, tubers and others who visit the area to experience the beautiful Niobrara River, a National Scenic River. Many outfitters use the park as a take-out spot, which make it a convenient camping site for those planning to paddle or float the river.
Smith Falls is named for Frederic Smith, who filed the first homestead patent on the land that encompasses the falls. The site became a state park in 1992. Not only is the land home to the beautiful falls, it is also an area of biological significance where several ice age species can still be found.
How to visit the falls: The only access to the falls is via the footbridge across the river from the north side of the park. Hiking to the falls is limited to established trails to prevent erosion and protect rare plants.
Canoeing, kayaking and floating
A 76-mile stretch of the river east of Valentine is a nationally designated scenic river. This stretch of the river boasts some of the best canoeing, tubing and kayaking you will find. For those who don’t have their own watercraft, several outfitters in Valentine rent equipment and provide shuttle service. Customized float trips from 2-6 hours can be arranged.
Smith Falls State Park offers a visitor center, as well as picnic sites, tent camping, restrooms, concession stand and pay showers. A picnic pavilion for group gatherings may be reserved.
Tent camping is available along the north side of the river. The campground has picnic tables, restrooms, pay showers and a reservable group shelter.
JOIN FOR JUST $16 A YEAR