The United States Congress designated the Fort Niobrara Wilderness (map
) in 1976 and it now has a total of 4,635 acres
All of this wilderness is located in Nebraska
and is managed by the Fish and Wildlife Service.
Herds of bison and elk find sanctuary in the rolling sand hills of Fort Niobrara National Wildlife Refuge. Little remains of the fort that once protected northern Nebraska settlers. The only surviving colonists, prairie dogs, have taken up residence in "dog towns" beneath the wildflower-scattered grasses. The Niobrara River flows swiftly through about nine miles of the refuge, creating a canyon riverine ecosystem of trees and bushes and attracting summer canoeists. From the south rim of the Niobrara River canyon and north to the refuge boundary, you'll find the Fort Niobrara Wilderness, a unique mix of prairie and wooded valleys. Bison winter here, then head south of the river for the summer. Day-hikers can have a great adventure in the wilderness year round. No maintained trails offer access north of the river. The Fort Falls Trail is maintained on the south side of the river. The refuge is open only during daylight hours, and camping is prohibited. Campfires are forbidden in the refuge.