Explore Nebraska's Niobrara River Valley
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Niobrara River Valley
Most treks to Valentine (population 2,800) center on canoe trips down the Niobrara National Scenic River. The spring-fed river runs knee-to hip-high at most in summer, so there's little to fear if you overturn. But if you need a rush, try the river's signature ritual: a walk into the icy 63-foot shower of Smith Falls, one of more than 180 waterfalls around Valentine (300 miles northwest of Omaha).
Visitors who venture off the river find spectacular landscapes in the forested river valley and surrounding Sandhills. Hikers wander the trails of Valentine National Wildlife Refuge, a haven for some 260 bird species. Trek to Fort Niobrara National Wildlife Refuge to see the Old West's shaggy mascot; about 350 bison live there.
Click ahead to learn about some of our favorite experiences in the Niobrara River Valley.