Niobrara State Park, Niobrara, NE

Discussion in 'Nebraska' started by Gjburkey, Oct 10, 2016.

  1. Gjburkey

    Gjburkey Member

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    Sep 21, 2016
    We visited Niobrara State Park (hereafter referred to as NSP), located about 1 mile from Niobrara Nebraska on October 6-8, 2016. Niobrara State Park is located at the confluence of the Niobrara and Missouri rivers. This park should not be confused with the popular canoeing destination of Valentine, Nebraska, also on the Niobrara river.

    Our trip to NSP was in an "official" church youth group sponsor capacity, and as such we were kept pretty busy with watching over a lot of teenagers and had less opportunity to explore the park than we would have liked.

    The first impression of the park was how huge it is. I believe the park ranger told me it is over 1,100 acres. Of course since it's a state park you will need a park permit for entry, which you can purchase as you enter. There is a large RV campground near the entrance of the park, with a children's playground, sand volleyball, pay showers ($.50 for 3 minutes or something like that), and restrooms nearby. RV fees at the time of our visit were $20 per night.

    Since we were camping along with our youth group, who were tent camping, we did not stay in the RV park. We continued into the park. Here's a tip for you if you'd like to get away from the main RV park: there are four camper hookups located near the little lake, on the 3-mile one-way tent site loop. We landed on site "A" with our camper, and took tent sites 5 and 6 (located within reasonable walking distance of 300 yards or so) for the youth group. With a group our size, you always hope your youth kids will be respectful of other campers. One of the nicest things about this campground is that the tent sites are generally quite a distance apart, usually with their own out house, and sometimes with their own water. This made it very nice, as we didn't have to worry too much about bothering others, since there is so much distance (not to mentions trees and hills) between campsites.

    Our camper location was lovely, although there were nicer views of the Niobrara and Missouri from the tent sites. In fact, from our site you probably couldn't have seen the river at all. No matter, a bit of exercise will get you the best views you could hope to see in this campground.

    The campground itself is situated in the bluffs along the river. It is quite hilly. Most of the forested area is going to be cedar, with some deciduous trees here and there, and wild grapevines along the river. There are multiple hiking trails, some of which are quite steep from the bluff to the river. There is a walking trail along the Missouri river that is built on an old railroad bed. The railroad bridge across the Niobrara has been converted to a walking bridge with built in benches, and plenty of room to fish from it. It was chilly when we were there and so we didn't spend a lot of time over the water.

    The lake near the place we hooked up has fish in it, but our group only succeeded in catching a few small sunfish. The ranger told me they occasionally stock rainbow trout, but that's probably only when the water temperature is cool enough in late fall and early spring.

    There are cabins available, but I didn't more than see them as we drove by. They are situated on some of the nicest views of the Missouri river. There is a larger conference center/lodge at the very highest location along the bluff, and as it was not being used, our group parked there and watched the sunset from the patio/deck area on the back of it. I highly recommend doing this, as it is a beautiful setting.

    Near the cabins is a swimming pool and another sand volleyball court. We were late enough in the season the pool was closed.

    The staff at the park was warm and friendly, and they are at the office from 8-5 each day. You can purchase firewood and ice at the office, but of course you have to do it when they are open.

    We saw horses pastured in the park, and I believe that during the peak seasons they are available for trail rides, although I don't know the cost. This would be an excellent way to see the park if you are so inclined. There is an area marked "Equestrian camping" but I didn't drive through it.

    I have every intention of getting back to this park many times. We loved it.

    Plenty of space
    Friendly people
    Various wildlife
    Beautiful views

    The roads in the park could use resurfacing (Yeah, not a big deal except you'll put 4-5 miles on just driving through the park. Those bumps feel bigger when you're watching your PUP bounce in the mirror)
    The closest hospital is about 25-30 miles away
    If you like to eat out, you might find yourself driving a ways to do it.

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  2. noahnsteph

    noahnsteph New Member

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    Feb 21, 2005
    Our very first trip out with our first pop up many years ago was to NSP. The new modern campground had very little shade back then since it was so new and the trees were so small but it was a very nice park.

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