Nebraska is home to hundreds of waterfalls

Pure Nebraska
Published: Aug. 19, 2022 at 10:10 AM CDT|Updated: Aug. 19, 2022 at 10:29 AM CDT
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VALENTINE, Neb. (KOLN) - Nebraskans may be surprised to learn you can view amazing waterfalls without leaving the state.

Niobrara National Scenic River Superintendent Susan Cook says there are about 200 waterfalls in her designated area.

“We have waterfalls because of the land formations,” Cook said. “The first two are Sandhills and Ashfall are porous, and the Rosebud is not porous so the water has to deviate and it creates seeps and waterfalls. They run at 50 degrees all year round. You can come here and see waterfalls all year long. What’s really cool, is in the winter, they freeze. As they are freezing the main part of the waterfall continues to flow, and the outer part is frozen. Because of that freeze and thaw, you have calving of the bank on the outsides of it, which creates waterfalls opposite of what you’d find in most places. Ours are convex, they come out in an oval, instead of going back in an oval. So, Smith Falls, if you see that, and compare it to pictures from years ago, you can see the calving that’s happened. Many people enjoy visiting Smith Falls, because it’s the highest in the state at 73 feet. Visitors can actually get down right to it and stand under the falls.”

“A lot of people like to go out to Snake Falls, because it has the most velocity of water,” Cook said. “It’s privately owned, but they have a visitation system, so pay attention to their signs. Folks also like to go to Fort Falls, and walk the trail around it. And, Berry Falls is right along the road, so if you are not able to get in the water and float, you can drive up to it and see it.”

Fort Falls is a nice waterfall to see, and it is located in the Fort Niobrara National Wildlife Refuge.

“The trail goes right beside it,” Cook said. “If you want to do the whole trail loop, it is only 9/10th of a mile, so it’s an easy one for people and it’s just fun to explore and see the environment around you.”