Niobrara River Nebraska

Recreational and touring boaters
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bash
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Posts: 10
Joined: Sat May 25, 2013 10:39 am
Name: brian

Niobrara River Nebraska

Post by bash » Thu Sep 14, 2017 8:03 pm

Anyone have experiences here-any thoughts welcome, especially wonder about this time of year there.We will be there the 2nd week of October.Thanks

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Al Donaldson
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Location: Cedar Falls, IA

Re: Niobrara River Nebraska

Post by Al Donaldson » Wed Sep 20, 2017 8:33 pm

B:
The Nio is a stream that almost always has enough water: in fact, a really big thunderstorm that dumps 5" of water on the watershed will raise the river about 5" -- it is at the (relative) top of the Oglalla Aquifer (and in the Nebraska Sandhill region), so rainfall just seeps right into the aquifer and has relatively little effect on the river.

The river, being in Nebraska, is almost all privately owned, the main exception being between Cornell Bridge (a bit downriver from Valentine) ALMOST to Norden Bridge (actually, this take out is owned by the Nature Conservancy, but a call to them will get permission for you to take out there.) The rapid just above Norden Bridge is not runnable by sensible folks. From Cornell to Norden is about 31 miles, with accesses about 7 miles apart on average

Below Norden, the river may actually be paddled for another 40 miles, but is awfully braided (read REALLY shallow and sandy (i.e. you get to drag your boat a LOT)) and pretty uninteresting.
River gage: https://nwis.waterdata.usgs.gov/ne/nwis ... 2017-09-20

Good info on the river: https://www.nps.gov/niob/planyourvisit/ ... tubing.htm

Valentine is the only real town nearby and has groceries, eateries, gas stations and motels. The other "towns" marked on maps are pretty tiny.

The stream is spectacular and has good paddling most any time that the water is not frozen. The only two really inappropriate drops for open touring boaters are 1) at Rocky Ford (pretty interesting class III) and Norden Falls (serious Class IV or V.) The other drops are scoutable and portages are available.)

While you are in the area, if you like tiny streams, fast water and incredibly difficult shuttles, you should try the Dismal River: it is a hoot!

Check the National Weather Service for normal temps in the Valentine area for an idea of the needed paddling and/or camping gear.

If you need more info, email me...

HTH

al
Al Donaldson
1920 Belle Ave.
Cedar Falls, IA 50613
alandonaldson@cfu.net
(319) 277-3194

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okieboater
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Name: David L. Reid
Location: Jenks, Oklahoma

Re: Niobrara River Nebraska

Post by okieboater » Thu Sep 21, 2017 7:43 am

Al,
Thank you for a very detailed easy to read review.

I am already looking forward to seeing you and your team in the great state of MO next spring.

dave
Okieboater AKA Dave Reid

We are not sure when childhood ends and adulthood begins.

We are sure that when retirement begins, childhood restarts

bash
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Posts: 10
Joined: Sat May 25, 2013 10:39 am
Name: brian

Re: Niobrara River Nebraska

Post by bash » Mon Sep 25, 2017 10:12 am

Al,
Thank you for your great information. We plan to set up camp at Smith Falls and do a series of day floats from Cornell Bridge to Rocky Ford to start then maybe one more section after we get a feel for the river..I'll update you when we return.
Thanks,Brian

bash
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Posts: 10
Joined: Sat May 25, 2013 10:39 am
Name: brian

Re: Niobrara River Nebraska

Post by bash » Sun Oct 15, 2017 2:44 pm

Trip completed.Excellent scenery and wildlife unlike in midwest.River was easy to navigate from Cornell to the Rockhouse above Norden bridge.We portaged Rocky falls and Egelhoffs chute. At 640 cfs it would have been a little difficult below this as the river fans out .From the locals it is quite crowded on weekends from Memorial weekend to labor day .It was chilly,breezy but worth seeing only 2 other boats in 4 days.We did shorter sections ea day with a repeat. The outfitters estimate 4 mi per hour on their trips.Camping is limited to mostly private grounds, many of which were closed this time of year.Smith Falls State park is open year round.

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