Fort Niobrara Wilderness

Fish and Wildlife Service, Nebraska.

The Fort Niobrara Wilderness now contains a total of 4,635 acres and is managed by the Fish & Wildlife Service's Fort Niobrara National Wildlife Refuge. All of the Wilderness is in the state of Nebraska. In 1976 the Fort Niobrara Wilderness became part of the now over 110 million acre National Wilderness Preservation System.

Herds of bison and elk find sanctuary in the rolling sand hills of Fort Niobrara National Wildlife Refuge. Little remains of the fort that once protected northern Nebraska settlers. The only surviving colonists, prairie dogs, have taken up residence in "dog towns" beneath the wildflower-scattered grasses. The Niobrara River flows swiftly through about nine miles of the refuge, creating a canyon riverine ecosystem of trees and bushes and attracting summer canoeists. From the south rim of the Niobrara River canyon and north to the refuge boundary, you'll find the Fort Niobrara Wilderness, a unique mix of prairie and wooded valleys. Bison winter here, then head south of the river for the summer. Day-hikers can have a great adventure in the wilderness year round. No maintained trails offer access north of the river. The Fort Falls Trail is maintained on the south side of the river. The refuge is open only during daylight hours, and camping is prohibited.

Nearby Activities


The Fort Niobrara Wilderness is located on the Fort Niobrara National Wildlife Refuge, 4 miles east of Valentine, NE off Highway 12. Ther are four main access points for the wilderness: By horses or foot at an access point located at the Fort Niobrara Corrals, by foot only from the observation area and Fort Falls Trail, and from the Niobrara River. Access to the river is from the refuge canoe launch. There is a $1.00 per person charge to use the canoe launch.

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