Valentine National Wildlife Refuge

Fish and Wildlife Service, Nebraska.


The Valentine National Wildlife Refuge is located in the heart of the Sandhills in north-central Nebraska and was established by Congress in 1935 “as a breeding ground for migratory birds and other wildlife.” The Refuge is home to 270 species of birds, 59 species of mammals, and 22 species of reptiles and amphibians, and is a unique and ecologically important component of the National Wildlife Refuge System. The native grass prairie in the hills, meadows, wetlands, lakes and marshes in the valleys found here provide habitat for a diversity of wildlife. 

The Sandhills formed during the last 10,000 years when strong and steady winds shaped steam-deposited sands into the dunes and valleys we see today. Periods of low rainfall likely contributed to the forming of the Sandhills by limiting the number of plants which hold the sand in place. Today, a variety of grasses and other plants shield the dunes from the force of the wind and provide a degree of stability to the dunes. These grasses include prairie sand reed, sand love, blowout, Indian, and big and little bluestem. Rainfall quickly filters through the sand to the Ogallala Aquifer, one of the largest underground water sources in the world. The abundant water source feeds the lakes, marshes, streams, and springs so important to wildlife. In many places, the water is just below the surface, providing natural underground irrigation.

Nearby Activities


We are located 27 miles south of Valentine, NE off of Highway 83; and 41 miles north of Thedford, NE on Highway 83.

Navigating by GPS? Enter coordinates:
N 42* 29’ 12.224”
W 100* 31’ 12.28”

Click here for Google map directions to the Refuge from Valentine, NE. 


Additional Information