Basic Information

Summer (June-August): highs - low 80s to low 100s; lows - 50s to 60s, with occasional thunderstorms and associated strong winds. Moderate dry winds are common in the summer. 8.3" is average summer rainfall. Spring (April/May) and Fall (September/October) have cooler temperatures: average highs 60-70s, average lows 30-40s with 7.3" average rain/snowfall.

Entrance Fees:

Niobrara NSR Entrance Fees - $0.00

There are no fees to enter the Niobrara NSR. However, because the NPS does not own the land along the river, individual sites and private landowners may charge a fee.

Smith Falls State Park day use fee - $6.00

Smith Falls State Park, within the boundaries of the Niobrara NSR, charges a day use fee (per carload). Those with a Nebraska State Park Pass are not charged the day use fee. Individuals with out-of-state license plates will be charged slightly more. Federal passes are not valid for this entry fee. NOTE: no fee is charged for those visiting the waterfall from the river.

Niobrara National Scenic River Visitor Center

Begin your journey down the Niobrara at the visitor center, where you may discover what makes this river so special through exhibits and a seven-minute video. Park rangers are on hand to answer questions, help you plan your trip, or give you a list of outfitters who will provide transportation and canoes, kayaks, or tubes.

Floating on the Niobrara National Scenic River

NPS Photo

Most land along the Niobrara River (including the streambed, banks, and islands) is privately owned. Please respect private landowner rights and utilize public restrooms and public river access points. Carry out all trash and properly recycle or dispose of it.

Private businesses provide canoe, kayak, and tube rental, shuttle services, camping and lodging. Click here for a list of service providers to contact for reservations.

The National Park Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, other federal, state, and county agencies, and private landowners work in partnership to manage the Niobrara National Scenic River.

The Niobrara National Scenic River Visitor Center is located at 214 West Highway 20 in Valentine, Nebraska. From Memorial Day through Labor Day, this office is open from 8:30 a.m. through 4:30 p.m., seven days a week. The rest of the year, it is open 8:30 a.m. through 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, and closed on holidays. You will find the official Niobrara NSR National Park Passport Stamp and a small store with items such as t-shirts, patches, and books available here.

80% of Niobrara NSR visitors come on Saturdays, resulting in a more social experience. 10% visit on Sundays, and the remaining 10% visit during the rest of the week. If you are seeking a more solitary experience, consider visiting Monday through Friday.

The Niobrara River is predominantly (>70%) ground-water fed, so river levels do not necessarily vary as a direct result of rainfall. Water levels fall as upstream demand for irrigation increases during the growing season. You may find information on current river conditions here.

You may find more information at Frequently Asked Questions.

Last updated: December 19, 2017

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

214 W US Highway 20
Valentine, NE 69201


(402) 376-1901

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