Trails

Fort Niobrara Refuge offers two hiking trails, the Fort Falls Hiking Trail and the Wilderness Access Foot Trail. Both trails offer interesting views of wildlife and their various habitats.

Fort Niobrara Wilderness is open to exploration on foot during daylight hours. Camping is prohibited. Access the wilderness area wilderness area
Wilderness areas are places untamed by humans. The Wilderness Act of 1964 allows Congress to designate wilderness areas for protection to ensure that America's pristine wild lands will not disappear. Wilderness areas can be part of national wildlife refuges, national parks, national forests or…

Learn more about wilderness area
via the Wilderness Access Foot Trail near the corrals. Access to the river is from the Refuge canoe launch.

Accessible Canoe Launch Walkway

The accessible Canoe Walkway Trail is a sidewalk from an accessible parking spot to an accessible boat ramp.
Trail Length (mi)
0.04
Trail Difficulty
Difficulty Meter / introductory
Easy
Route Type
Out & back
Suitability
Kid friendly
Wheelchair friendly
View Trail

Wilderness Access Foot Trail

Trail Length (mi)
1.19
View Trail

Fort Falls Trail

The Fort Falls Nature Trail allows visitors to experience the habitats and wildlife along the Falls and the Niobrara River. Elk, especially bulls with growing antlers, can be found near or in Refuge ponds and streams during the hot days of summer. The loud rolling “pulip pulip” call of upland sandpipers signal that spring has come to the prairie. In April, prairie chicken males display on traditional breeding grounds on the Refuge; and habitat created by prairie dogs attract a variety of wildlife including burrowing owls which use the underground burrows for nesting. A great trail for all ages and abilities, the Fort Falls Trail is a 1.0 mile round loop with two trailheads.This trail features the 45-foot-tall Fort Falls Waterfall, along with scenic views of the Niobrara National Scenic River, and scenic overlooks of the six ecosystems that meet at the river's banks.The Fort Falls Upper Trailhead in the Fort Niobrara National Wildlife Refuge quickly leads hikers down to the canyon floor using metal walkways and stairs. You can examine every level of the tree canopy on your way, and walk over the stream that feeds the Fort Falls.There is a viewing platform for the Fort Falls where you can enjoy the shade and splash of the water against the canyon floor. Following the stream further, you'll come to the shore of the Niobrara National Scenic River, and the steep walls of the canyon can be seen at a distance along with different soil layers that contribute to the unique geology of the Niobrara River Valley.The trail continues up the river's bank with strategic benches for taking breaks along the way. The Lower Trailhead is located at the Bur Oak Picnic and Parking Area on the Fort Niobrara National Wildlife Refuge. The remaining distance of trail leads hikers further up along the canyon wall through deciduous and coniferous forest systems with information signs for learning along the way. Hikers can follow this leg of the trail back to the Fort Falls Upper Trailhead and Parking area.
Trail Length (mi)
0.84
Trail Difficulty
Difficulty Meter / intermediate
Moderate
Route Type
Loop
Trail Activities
Wildlife watching
Suitability
Kid friendly
View Trail