Nature March 30, 2021
A Nature Lovers Definitive Guide To Nebraska’s Natural Beauty – Parks, Beaches, Hikes And More!
Nebraska may be billed by the rest of the nation as “flyover country,” but don’t underestimate our nature scene! From stunning caves to unique rock formations, delightful parks to strenuous hiking trails, quiet lake beaches to beautiful river islands, mountain bluffs to lush gardens, spring wildflowers to fall foliage, hidden swimming holes to roaring waterfalls, Nebraska’s natural beauty will astound you. With a variety of locations managed by the National Park Service (including the Missouri River, the Niobrara River, the Agate Fossil Beds, and Scotts Bluff) and 78 additional state park lands and trails, Nebraska has what it takes to satisfy even the most
voracious nature lover.
The Best Little Known Park In Nebraska
A hidden gem in the Oglala National Grassland in the far Northwestern reaches of Nebraska, Toadstool Geologic Park features one of Nebraska's most stunning natural wonders. Meander through thousands of unique clay and sandstone rock formations ("toadstools") ranging in size from tiny to towering on the trail that loops through the park. Toadstool Geologic Park also offers camping sites and picnic areas. If visiting another planet isn't in your future plans, make do with a trip to this park right here in Nebraska,
which definitely gives off an otherworldly vibe!
The Most Beautiful River In Nebraska
The Niobrara River is arguably the most beautiful river in the state of Nebraska. A National Scenic River, this gorgeous stretch of water winds through the Sandhills near Valentine. Float it, swim or wade in it, or merely stroll its banks - there's no wrong way to enjoy
the stunning nature scene painted by this lush, lazy river!
The Most Pristine Beach In Nebraska
The Most Beautiful Island In Nebraska
Goat Island, a beautiful oasis in the Missouri River between Nebraska and South Dakota, is managed by the National Park Service as part of the Missouri National Recreational River. This wild island features beautiful forests of cottonwood and red cedar, a variety of wildlife, and even an old shipwreck, making it a fascinatingly unique spot for Nebraska nature lovers to explore.
Have you taken a boat out to Goat Island yet?
The Best Trail To Hike In Nebraska
Perhaps the most popular hike in the state is the trail that winds through the most-visited tourist attraction in Nebraska: Scotts Bluff National Monument. The three mile, out-and-back Saddle Rock Trail is an easy hike with an amazing payoff. With a rock tunnel, endless scenic views, and even a one-way shuttle during some parts of the year, it's no wonder this paved footpath is so popular!
Have you made time to explore this top-rated Nebraska hiking trail?
The Most Jaw Dropping Lake In Nebraska
Center Lake in Bridgeport, Nebraska has got to be one of the prettiest stretches of water in the state. Best of all for water lovers, Center Lake is just one of five sandpit lakes in the area - the center one, just as its name implies. Bridgeport State Recreation Area, home of these lakes, offers primitive camping, hiking, and boating. There's even a small beach area for swimming. If a day at the lake is in your future,
make it this one!
The Most Scenic Mountain In Nebraska
Not everyone is comfortable applying the term "mountain" to Nebraska's nature scene, but the steepest summit in the state sure does seem to qualify! Lover's Leap Butte, located in Fort Robinson State Park, is perched at 4,390 feet above sea level, and the trail to the top climbs 1,289 feet in a little over 3 miles. But as you can imagine, this strenuous trek is well worth the pay off!
Have you ever taken in the view from the top?
The Most Unique Garden In Nebraska
Did you know that there's a tropical jungle hiding right here in Nebraska? It's growing inside the massive greenhouse at Lauritzen Gardens, and this unique botanic garden takes the discussion of Nebraska's natural beauty to a whole new level. The next time you find yourself longing for a tropical vacation,
a trip to this balmy indoor paradise just might do the trick!
The Tallest Waterfall In Nebraska
It's nearly impossible to pick a favorite nature escape in Nebraska, as there are so many spectacular landscapes throughout the state. But in the running as one of the best has to be Nebraska's highest waterfall, Smith Falls. Located in Smith Falls State Park, this waterfall is a beloved natural wonder (and even a summer swimming hole) for locals and tourists alike, and a shining example of Nebraska's natural beauty.
Have you made the easy out-and-back hike to the state's tallest waterfall?