Smith Falls State Park

Nebraska's Tallest Waterfalls

Of the Niobrara River Valley’s many waterfalls, the tallest is Smith Falls, 15 miles northeast of Valentine on Highway 12, then four miles south on a marked county road. The spring-fed falls drop 70 feet and flow out to bolster the Niobrara River.

The short hike to Smith Falls is half the fun. A historic iron truss bridge, open to pedestrians only, spans the Niobrara River. A trail leads across a grassy field into a secluded little canyon. Follow the boardwalk to the waterfall and experience its weight with a cool shower.

 Also on the south side of the river, the Jim McAllister Nature Trail is a self-guided hiking trail, more than a mile long, which leads through a portion of the Niobrara River Valley. Known as the “biological crossroads of the Great Plains,” this stretch of the Niobrara is a place where eastern and western species of plants and animals overlap – six distinct biological systems in all. Most noticeable is the bird life living here – some of it seen nowhere else in Nebraska. 

You don’t have to be a biologist to appreciate the beauty of the valley’s natural diversity. The park is open April 1 through Nov. 30. Camping is available. Office hours are 8 a.m.-8 p.m., Memorial Day through Labor Day. (402) 376-1306.

 

For more information about Valentine and area attractions, contact the Valentine Visitor Center at (800) 658-4024 or visit http://visitvalentine.org