Smith Falls, at 63 feet, is the highest waterfall in the state of Nebraska. Located 18 miles east of Valentine, the falls is part of Smith Falls State Park and is adjacent to the Niobrara National Scenic River. The state park was established by the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission in 1992. In 1996, the historic Verdigris bridge was moved to its present site spanning the Niobrara River to provide more convenient public access.The falls are on a short spring-fed stream that plunges into a small canyon on the south side of the Niobrara. As the canyon is narrow and sheltered from direct sunlight, it is much cooler than the surrounding landscape; this allows a unique set of flora to grow that is atypical for the Sand Hills of Nebraska. The canyon is home to paper birch and an endemic hybrid grove of quaking aspen and bigtooth aspen .During the Wisconsin glaciation that ended around 10,000 years ago, north-central Nebraska was much cooler than it is today. The ice age climate supported boreal forest trees like birches, spruces, and aspens, all of which currently predominate in Canada. As the glaciers retreated, so did the boreal forest, which is ill-suited for hot, dry summers. However, the cool canyons along the Niobrara sheltered some of these trees.Plan your Smith Falls State Park visit and explore what else you can see and do in Valentine using our Valentine family vacation planner.
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3 days in Valentine BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES November, outdoors, popular PREFERENCES: November, outdoors ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 5 days in Nebraska BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES August, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, historic sites, hidden gems PREFERENCES: August, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, historic sites ATTRACTION STYLE: Hidden gems PACE: Medium 30 days in United States BY A USER FROM SINGAPORE August, popular PREFERENCES: August ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium
A beautiful area! We've been there in both the Fall and Summer. So peaceful. We lucked out during our mid week visit with no crowds. Tubing the Niobrara is also a fun adventure in the summer.
My granddaughter , daughter and I took a photography adventure out west and this is one of the things we went to see. My granddaughter (9) LOVED it. She got in the water. LOL not realizing how cold it... more »
It was worth the short walk and the rangers were very helpful. Beautiful, peaceful area to visit. Would stop again.
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