Valentine National Wildlife Refuge
Valentine National Wildlife Refuge protects 72,000 acres of the Nebraska Sandhills. Grass-covered sand dunes rise over marsh-filled valleys. The refuge allows limited hunting. Some lakes are open to anglers seeking largemouth bass, northern pike, yellow perch and bluegill. Observing wildlife in this nearly pristine landscape is the most popular pursuit here. Observation blinds allow for close-ups of greater prairie chickens and sharp-tailed grouse during their spring mating dances. Snakes and lizards are seen darting across sand roads, while turtles mosey along. Waterfowl and shorebirds are easily viewed from the car, and mule deer will likely pose if you point your camera out the window. The hike to the fire tower near Hackberry Lake takes 30 to 45 minutes and provides a stunning overlook. The refuge headquarters is 30 miles south of Valentine on Highway 83. Follow signs east on Pony Lake Road for one mile.