September 22, 2023

Dawson County Journal

Dawson County, Nebraska

Smith Falls reopens with new boardwalk

Visitors are again enjoying the sight of Smith Falls, Nebraska’s tallest waterfall.

The waterfall at Smith Falls State Park, and the newly constructed 500-foot boardwalk to it, reopened May 26 with only finishing touches remaining in the process.

The waterfall, which has long been popular for the thousands of people floating on the Niobrara River each summer, closed September 2022 for replacement of the aging wooden boardwalk.

The new boardwalk is constructed of composite decking on a steel frame with aluminum handrails, and is compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. New benches provide places for visitors to rest and a platform over the stream has been added midway up the walkway to allow for viewing of the falls from a scenic vantage. Visitors may still access the bottom of the 63-foot waterfall from steps at the boardwalk’s north end.

The project largely was funded by Capital Maintenance Funds, which were established by the Nebraska Legislature in 2016 to help preserve Nebraska’s public outdoor recreation facilities and parklands; state and federal funding sources; and Nebraska Game and Parks’ funds generated from user fees of the state park system.

Also reopened to the public is the adjacent 1.5-mile Jim MacAllister Nature Trail.

Smith Falls State Park, a 19-mile drive from Valentine, offers non-electric campsites, picnic tables, pay showers and a visitors center with concessions. The waterfall is accessible to pedestrians by the historic Verdigre Bridge that crosses the Niobrara River. A Nebraska State Park Entry Permit is required for vehicles that enter the park.

Source: Nebraska Regional News