Trail

Waterfall Trail, Platte River State Park, Nebraska

Omaha or Lincoln, NE
Length: 5.10 mi.
Type: Loop

About This Trail

[Total: 0    Average: 0/5]

ACTIVITIES: Hiking, paddling, fishing, camping

LENGTH OF HIKE: 5.1 miles

OUT AND BACK OR LOOP: Loop

DIFFICULTY OF TERRAIN: Moderate

ELEVATION GAIN: 200 feet

PARKING FEE/PASS: Yes

TOILETS: Yes

CHANGING TABLE: No

NURSING BENCHES: Yes

DOGS ALLOWED: Yes

BIKES/HORSES/MOTORS ON TRAIL: Bikes and horses

CELL RECEPTION: Spotty

DRINKING WATER AVAILABLE: Summer only

POTENTIAL CHILD OR BABY HAZARDS: Trails are moderately difficult in some
places

GEAR SUGGESTIONS: Towels or wet wipes if walking in the waterfall, baby carrier, water, bug spray, not ideal for strollers

Just 20 minutes from Omaha or Lincoln, this hidden gem of a park is a mere 519 forested acres but packs it all in from archery and skeet shooting ranges, to paddleboats, a lookout tower, trails for the adventurous, and camping if you just don’t feel like going home at the end of the day.

While locals report the trails aren’t very well marked, you might want to consider lightweight pants and bug spray to battle nettles and mosquitoes if you plan to adventure deep. If you stay on the main trail to the mini waterfall, you should be able to find it easily enough; however, there are a lot of offshoots to be aware of that may lead you astray. Most of the trails are relatively easy and can be hiked by toddlers with the occasional steep spot. And since the park isn’t too large, you
should be able to keep fairly on course.

For wildlife, don’t expect too much beyond birds and bunnies. This park came about through a merge between a Girl Scout camp and two other properties to
become a state park. Remnants of the camp’s past are still here in the 21 vintage cabins that are now rented out to the general public. The park has numerous amenities beyond cabins, such as teepees to rent and paddleboats. For $8 per half hour, you should have ample time to paddle around and explore.

Is your kiddo a climber? There are not one but two lookout towers for kids to check out. Climb 85 feet in the air and get to the top of the Lincoln Journal Tour and take in the panoramic view of the Platte River. Don’t worry; they are completely child
safe and have metal fencing that requires serious Spiderman skills to scale.

In 2016, the state dedicated part of a $34 million recreation budget to this park, so expect to see new elements added to the area, including more mountain bike trails, a climbing wall, a zip line, and better access for canoes and kayaks. Also keep in mind if you get through this park and want to hike a bit more, just 7 miles down the road is Eugene T. Mahoney State Park and Schramm Park State Recreation Area for more toddler-friendly, easy hikes.

WHY IT’S A FAVORITE
“I loved this park! A lot of our ‘trails’ here are paved walkways through smaller parks—very urban trails. They’re great for strollers and beginners, but
getting out in dirt and nature is really what I love and want to share with my boys. My husband is a lifelong Boy Scout, and he loved it as well. It was beautiful scenery, easy enough for my 3-year-old to traverse, but still had enough tricky spots like large rocks and steep hills to keep it interesting.” — CHRISTINE STEWART

INSIDER’S TIP
Do your kiddos love trains? Well then, you are in luck because a train track runs alongside the riverbank and is still in use. “Being that close to a ‘real’ train was maybe the highlight of our littles’ adventure in the woods,” says Christina Stewart.

Share This Trail

Trail Features

Seasons Fall, Spring, Summer, and Winter
Surface type Mixed
Elevation gain 200 ft.
Stroller friendly Yes
ADA accessible No
Water fountains No
Bathrooms Yes
Cell reception Spotty
Pet friendly Yes
Nearby convenience store No
Camping Nearby Yes
Emergency support
within 5 miles
No

Trail highlights

Camping Nearby, Creek / River, Fishing, Lake, Picnic Area, Playground, Waterfall, and Wildlife Viewing

Fee & Parking Details

Fee : $6.00

Residents $30 for an annual permit, duplicate annual permits are available for $15 and daily permits for $6.

For vehicles not registered and licensed in Nebraska $45 for an annual permit, duplicate annuals permits are available for $22.50 and daily permits for $8.

Trail Contributor

[Total: 0    Average: 0/5]

Hike it Baby Trail Guide is managed by the Family Trail Guide team. If a trail has been “abandoned” by the initial owner, it gets adopted by the team. Also, if there are no trails in the area, the Family Trail Guide team researches trails that are family friendly in the area to insure that hikes cover all areas where Hike it Baby hikes.

Weather

Trail Map