5 Beautiful Scenic Hikes in Nebraska

5 Beautiful Scenic Hikes in Nebraska

Zack Frank/Shutterstock.com

Nebraska is home to a beautiful blend of rolling countryside hills mixed with bluffs and rivers winding through the state. With the numerous state parks, it isn’t too difficult to find a hiking trail to get out and explore all of these natural sites. To help you narrow down your options, we’ve put together five of truly beautiful scenic hikes to enjoy in Nebraska.

1. Smith Falls State Park

Smith Falls is the highest waterfall in the state of Nebraska and you can reach it by hiking the Smith Falls trail. This scenic route takes you across a historic truss bridge spanning the Niobrara River until you reach the falls. Nearby, you can also hop on the Jim McAllister Nature Trail, a one-mile trail that weaves through the stunning Niobrara River Valley. Six distinct biological systems are combined in this area, which makes for some incredible wildlife watching.

2. Toadstool Geological Park

The Toadstool Geological Park is made up of enormous sandstone creations and still bears the tracks of animals and remnants from a river that flowed through the site nearly 30 million years ago. Hiking the one-mile or three-mile trails through this incredible site feels like you’re walking on the rocky white surface of the moon while you discover unusual yet stunning geological formations.

3. Indian Cave State Park

Indian Cave State Park is located on over 3,000 acres of land and is Nebraska’s second-largest state park. For hikers that wish to leave all modern amenities behind, this is your place. This untouched park offers 22 miles of hiking trails with plenty of amazing spots to stop and see birds, animals, and spectacular views of the forest. The best time to visit is in the autumn for spectacular views of the forest’s fall foliage.

4. Eugene T. Mahoney State Park

Eugene T. Mahoney State Park in Ashland sits along the Platte River and attracts more than one million visitors every year. The 690-acre park offers year-round, family-friendly hiking trails with fantastic views of the river. There is also a two-mile trail that takes you to an observation tower for even more great views. 

5. Platte River State Park

Located just outside of Lincoln, Platte River State Park offers hikers scenic routes through the tranquil Stone Creek Falls. The park also features two observation towers with stunning views of the Platte River. Keep in mind, these trails are for hikers who like a bit of a challenge! A significant portion of the trails is uphill.