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4 Spectacular National Parks in Nebraska

aNebraska is not a famous tourist place for vacation but no doubt visiting this adorable place helps visitors to discover some great secrets of the country. This state offers different features which include sand hills, miles-long hiking trails, and especially the beautiful national parks in Nebraska.

However, there are no specific national parks in Nebraska similar to other famous national parks in the country. But beautiful park sites are there to explore nature, including rivers, monuments, historical parks, and others.

These national sites of Nebraska represent natural beauty and cultural treasures. Overall it provides an incredible experience to its visitors.

National Parks in Nebraska

1- Agate Fossil Beds National Monument


This spot is one of the most preserved paleontological areas of the world. Earlier in the 1900s, paleontologists found whole skeletons of the extinct species of mammals “Miocene mammals,” in these Nebraska hills.

Some facts about these species were discovered only through the fragments. This park is constructed on an area of 3058 acres, and it has been preserved since the year 1965. In 1997 this area was declared a national monument.

Highlights of this Agate Fossil Beds National Monument include the wetland of the Niobrara river, fossils, and a collection by James H. Cook. Most of the land of this area is plain and covered with grass.

Visitors will notice blue grama, thread grass, Prairie sand reed, wildflowers lupin, western wallflower, spiderwort, little bluestem, needle, and sunflowers at this spot.

Agate Fossil Beds National Monument is home to various animals, it includes coyotes, rabbits, bats, deer, snakes, and amphibians as well. However, it is not easy to find them every time. Besides animals, many migratory birds visit Agate Fossil Beds National Monument to breed. This is one of the best national parks in Nebraska.

1.1. Explore The Museum

You will find the authentic collection of artifacts of James H. Cook at this Agate Fossil Beds National Monument. These artifacts are kept on display for visitors. The rest of the exhibits are from the Fetterman Fight American Horse’s war club, Crazy Horse’s whetstone, and some artifacts that Lakota handed to James Cook.

1.2. Go For Hike And Explore This National Park

Visitors can enjoy hiking and exploring the trails inside the park. The Daemonelix Trail, which is 1 mile long, exhibits old dunes and fossilized grassland soils (paleosols). Another trail is Fossil Hills Trail which is 2.8 miles long. Here you will explore the first fossils that were discovered on the historic dig sites.

2- Scotts Bluff National Monument

National Parks In Nebraska
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This monument is on the western side of Nebraska. This point was a landmark for travelers who traveled on California, Oregon, & Pony Express Trails. This Scotts Bluff National Monument was established back in 1919. It has over 3000 acres of towering bluffs, mixed-grass prairie, rugged badlands, and historic trails on the banks of River North Platte.

This national monument was named after a Rocky Mountain Fur Company clerk, Hiram Scott. This place has a rich background of paleontological history, geological and human history.

Scotts Bluff National Monument is one of those sites in Nebraska where wildlife is kept secure in a natural atmosphere. This site is a shelter for multiple species of fishes, birds, mammals, reptiles, and amphibians.

Animals like coyotes, mule deer, rattlesnakes, and prairie dogs are generally found here. Plant species that are generally found in Scotts Bluff National Monument include Plains Prickly Pear, Soapweed Yucca, Ponderosa Pine, and Rocky Mountain Juniper.

2.1. Hiking

Around 4 miles long hiking trails offer a great hiking experience for the visitors. You can enjoy the fresh air and the natural environment at this spot. The favorite hiking trail of locals is Saddle Rock Trail. It is around 1.6 miles long. This one is a favorite of locals as it connects the peak of Scotts bluff to the visitor’s center.

2.2. Participate In Ranger Programs

Visitors can enjoy the ranger program, During summer. Through these programs, you can learn about this National Monument by attending a ranger-led program.

The rangers of the park are there to guide visitors with the details of the trail emigrants, plants, the western fur trade, animals, and the geology of this amazing place.

2.3. Check out The Collection of William Henry Jackson

Visitors can admire the collection of William Henry Jackson. He was a famous photographer and painter, whose captures of the Yellowstone area resulted in the discovery of the world’s first national park in 1872, Yellowstone national park. Some selections are displayed for visitors in the visitor center of Scotts Bluff National Monument.

2.4. How To Reach Scotts Bluff National Monument

Visitors need to drive 45 miles on the north side of Highway 71, after taking an exit at Kimball. You can simply Follow the signs of the National Park Service. It is three miles west of Gering.

3. Missouri National Recreational River

36th National Park, Missouri National Recreational River, 8/4/2017

This river flows along the south Dakota border of Nebraska. In 1978, this river was stretched and designated between Ponca State Park and Gavins Point Dam. Another stretch was designated in 1991, between Niobrara and Fort Randall Dam, Nebraska.

It was 39 miles long. Both of these stretches make up the longest river in North America, the Missouri National Recreational River. This river is a home to different species, including birds, amphibians, mammals, fish, and reptiles.

This river supports a variety of ecosystems; it includes prairie, grassland, river forest, and much more. This area provides many recreational opportunities to its visitors.

3.1. Bird-Watching

This is the migration route of different species of birds like the American Bald Eagle. So you can enjoy bird watching at this spot. You will also notice some endangered species at this place which include the Least Tern, and the Piping Plover.

3.2. Boating

Boating is another activity that you can enjoy at this amazing spot. Boaters will get an opportunity to enjoy the mesmerizing view and other river activities.

This River offers public points for hunting, fishing, and boating, as well as access to the river of the park on the Nebraska side.

3.3. Kayaking and Canoeing

The most interesting way to see the beauty of this park is by canoe or kayak.

4- Niobrara National Scenic River

The National Parks Expedition Challenge: Niobrara National Scenic River

In north-central Nebraska, another beautiful Niobrara National Scenic River is located. It is around 300 miles away on the northwestern side of Omaha.

This river flows 76 miles on the eastern side of Valentine. In 1991, This became a part of the National Wild and Scenic River system. Niobrara National Scenic River is one of those selective rivers of the United States which is worth specific recognition and is secured by the federal government.

There are numerous ways to enjoy this adorable park area in Nebraska. You can spend some time outdoors with loved ones, learn in-depth about the excellent history of Niobrara, and attend recreational activities.

The amazing waterfalls, stunning cliffs, a variety of species of animals and plants, and the paleontological richness of this park are some other reasons to make a visit and gather some unforgettable memories at Niobrara National Scenic River.

Niobrara National Scenic River’s geological formations have fossils of different species of animals, it includes horses, beavers, mastodons, rhinoceros, fish, turtles, and alligators as well.

Coyotes, Beavers, white-tailed bull snakes, foxes,  mule deer, and turkeys are some species often noticed along this Niobrara river and inhabit this area.

This Niobrara river supports threatened and endangered species, which include bald eagles, the interior least tern, the piping plover, and whooping cranes.

4.1. Hiking

About 200 waterfalls are there along this river, the Fort falls is the most popular among them. It is 45 feet tall. This can be highlighted with a 1-mile long hike trail. There are other waterfalls as well but they are comparatively small.

4.2. Photography

You can perform your photography skills here. Particularly during winters, this spot becomes perfect to capture with your professional skills.

Along the Nebraska river, you will find marvelous landscapes, wildlife, canyons, natural phenomena, and waterfalls to capture some awesome clicks.

4.3. Float In The River

You can enjoy floating under the bridges, there are many waterfalls, different habitats, and much more beauty to explore.

Closing Thoughts

Another known park beside the above-mentioned is Homestead National Historical Park. This is considered one of the national parks in Nebraska. It is beautiful and has its own significance, just like other national parks in Nebraska.

Now you know most of the things about national parks in Nebraska. Amazing trails such as the Mormon trail, Clark national historic trail, Oregon national historic trail, California national historic trail, Oregon trail, and other national historic trails offer adventurous hiking experiences to their visitors.

These national parks in Nebraska offer endless recreational opportunities. If you love national parks then you must visit these places.

This visitor center has incredible geological and paleontological history and full skeletons of ancient mammals that are extinct Miocene mammals. Plan your next visit to these parks in Nebraska.

Suggested Reads

21 Beautiful South Dakota Monuments and Landmarks

What To Explore In Nebraska The Cornhuskers State
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