The #1 Camping App
Camp with confidence with the highest-ranked camping app for both iOS and Android. Search more than 500,000 listings, reviews, and tips for campsites across the U.S.
Enter your phone number to get the app.
The family was here this past weekend and all I can say is BEAUTIFUL! The falls are majestic, the river is serene, the camp spots are big, quiet nights, stunning stars, just a real treat for the family! This is a new favorite for us and we will be back for sure!
We have camped here for years…it’s a small camp ground but it has low traffic so makes for a nice place to go to and relax and do some fishing.
Smith Falls State Park in NE is a good stop over while floating on the river. An awesome waterfall to hike to and some interesting roads to drive in on. Not good for RV’s unless you have 4 wheel drive and a high clearance type camper. This is the typical basic campground. There was a group present on a float trip and I learned that this is the highest waterfall in NE, which just goes to show how flat the state is :) Seeiously though it is worth a look.
Snake River Area Campground near Valentine, NE is on the Merritt Reservoir State Recreation Area.
Can you say sand! And fishing. The nice thing about this entire area is one: you don’t see much of the park employees, it’s pretty much all honor system based. Which means if you occupy an entire campground you can stay up as late or early as you want. You can also be as loud or quiet as you like too. Two: This is definitely a water based vacation. The reservoir offers plenty to do and the campground is shaded and did I mention sandy. Dark at night, like pitch black. Critters are around so secure your food. Picnic tables, pit toilets, fire pits and a trash receptacle.
There is the Niobrara River nearby which is the major attraction of the area for float trips. Valentine, NE has food and fuel plus events throughout the year.
At Merritt Reservoir State Recreation Area near Valentine, NE you have some choices to make. There are Merritt Main, Willow Cove , Lone Tree, Cottonwood , Pines, Cedar Bay , Beeds and Board Campgrounds to choose from. Each has sites near the Reservoir or further back in the scrub that have fire rings and picnic tables. Some have electric options, showers and boatramps. All have at least a pit toilet and dumpster. (And sand)
The state employees were a little scarce when I visited and the weather was not real inviting. I decided to not float on the Reservoir due to the low temperatures, but it would seem that the Nebraskans are a little hardier and used to the cold temperatures then me because there were a few out on the water fishing.
This area would be ideal for a large group get together and out in the middle of nowhere so any noise shouldn’t be an issue. I heard coyotes and it was pitch black at night, had the sky been clear the stars would have been amazing.
Valentine, NE is nearby for resupply and entertainment and there are some other recreation areas that offer hiking and of course floating on the Niobrara River.
Merritt Reservoir Main Area Campground in Merritt Reservoir State Recreation Area, NE is one of many camping options throughout the area.
This is the largest of the campgrounds in the State Recreation Area. There is a fish cleaning area nearby with camper dumpsite. A pit toilet and dumpster are available and each site has a fire ring and picnic table. In addition there is A LOT of sand;) If you are a fisherman this area is ideal for you! If your looking for hiking and land past times not so much.
About 30 minutes down the road is Valentine, NE for your food, fuel and supply needs. Otherwise this area is dark and quiet at night…..except for the wildlife of course.Bring your stargazing gear for additional entertainment and don’t forget lots of bug repellent:)
Wacky West Travel Park had very nice and helpful owners. Make sure you have the phone number because their office hours are limited so that they can keep up the park. It’s small and a little crowded but serves the purpose of a base camp or overnight location.
I attended a “Sisters on the Fly” event in Valentine, NE and this is were we all met and camped. The owners squeezed us all in and gave us a discount for our stay. One nice thing is you are in the middle of town right off the main drag so you can walk anywhere in town pretty easily.
The restroom and shower are keyed which you receive when you check in. Down side to that I forgot to drop my key in the mail slot when I left and had to go back to do so.
There is electric/water hook up at each site, not much in the way of shade , limitedfire rings and picnic tables. You could tell several of the sites were more towards permanent dwellings and some of the sites sat right on the entry road so you step out your camper door into the road. These sites were stacked so two of our group didn’t even try to unhook their campers.
If you’ve never experienced sand burrs Nebraska has them and they are horrible on dogs feet. The owner of the campground made extra efforts to keep the burrs out of the immediate camping area but my dogs still picked up several. There is a cattle yard directly behind the campground so I’m not sure how it smells when it’s hot, we were there in cold weather so it was not an issue.
Valentine has events going on and the Niobrara River is a main attraction, several of the group did a kayak float and explored the waterfalls along the river. We also walked to dinner within 1/4 mile at an excellent restaurant, Peppermill Steakhouse, worth a visit.
The three stars is due to the location, cramped accommodations and no recreation in the immediate area. However the owners were very accommodating and the facilities were well maintained. I would stay there again. Also I lost the pictures of the campground and Valentine but included the nearby recreation areas.
Valentine City Park in Valentine, NE is not a vacation destination per-say. That being said it is a highly useful place if you are passing through or in the area for an event/family get together,etc.
Down a side street off the main “drag” of Valentine, you drive through a neighborhood and down the hill to a nice, shaded typical city park. There is a creek that meanders through the middle of the park with several bridges, vehicle and foot, that connect a nice little trail and disc golf area and also a rentable venue(there was a wedding/reception going on when we visited). A playground, restroom and parking areas. The sites are basic, fire ring, maybe a picnic table and run along the creek. Once again this is a city park so there are more passerby’s then at regular campgrounds but for the most part it was quiet.
There is a “lake” across the road but it doesn’t really seem to be a recreation type place, or maybe it was just a slow week because other things were going on. (A Cowboy event and cattle roundup) So, functional and things to do but there are better recreation areas nearby if your are looking for a destination to camp and fish, explore.
I lost all my pictures of Valentine and the park but have included the nearby recreation areas. Valentine has the usual, fuel, truck stop(showers), food and entertainment. There were several excellent restaurants but some have limited hours.
Love camping at Merritt. Many different campsites to choose from. Walk up and extended stay. Great fishing and boating. The Scenic Sandhills surround the lake and on the biggest hill is always Ole Glory our up every year by a local business owner that frequents the lake. Hunting around Merritt is great too from deer to grouse. Merritt is a year round sportsman’s lake.