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5 Winter Hikes Perfect For Adventuring Throughout Nebraska

Winter may not seem like the most ideal time to take a hike, but it’s worth considering! Once you’re up and moving around you’ll barely notice the cold, especially after you lay eyes on Nebraska’s astonishing winter landscape. From the sharp ridges of Scotts Bluff National Monument to the hills of Indian Cave State Park, these winter hikes help you get your adventure fix year-round.

Lake McConaughy in winter
Lake McConaughy in the winter Photo Credit: Lake McConaughy on Facebook

Lake McConaughy - Ogallala

Going to the lake during winter likely isn't an activity you’d expect us to lead with, but trust us when we say it'll be worth it. With stellar birdwatching and 76 miles of beautiful frozen shoreline to explore, Lake Mac is perfect for some low-key outdoor time without committing to a full-on hike.

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Chadron State Park
Chadron State Park

Chadron State Park - Chadron

On the other hand, Chadron State Park offers a more rugged experience for would-be adventurers willing to endure a little chill. There are six miles of hiking trails inside the park, and the adjacent Nebraska National Forest has over 100 miles of trails and old roads to explore as well.

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Scotts Bluff National Monument in Winter
Photo Credit: National Park Service/Eric Grunwald

Scotts Bluff National Monument - Gering

This is one of the more scenic hikes in Nebraska, and is open seven days a week, all year long. The Summit Trail and Saddle Rock trails offer beautiful overlooks for those willing to brave the cold, especially if you go around sunrise or sunset.

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Smith Falls in winter
Smith Falls State Park

Smith Falls State Park - Valentine

Nebraska’s tallest waterfall takes on another form of beauty when the water freezes on the face of the rocks. Nearby you’ll also find more adventure at Fort Niobrara National Wildlife Refuge and Merritt Reservoir State Recreation Area. Smith Falls is definitely something to check out if you’re looking for Instagram-worthy pictures, too!

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Indian Cave State Park Fall Colors
Indian Cave State Park in the Fall

Indian Cave State Park - Shubert

Indian Cave is generally known as a fall destination and with good reason – seeing the leaves changing color across the rolling hills is absolutely stunning. That being said, it’s also a great spot for a brisk winter expedition with 22 miles of hiking and biking trails. The bare trees allow you a better view of the wildlife in the area, so don’t be surprised if you come across deer, woodchucks, beavers and more.

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