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Steamboat Loop Trail

Steamboat Loop Trail

Steamboat Loop Trail

Page Type: Route

Location: Nebraska, United States, North America

Object Title: Steamboat Loop Trail

Route Type: Hiking

Time Required: Less than two hours

Route Quality: 
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Page By: panhandletrails

Created/Edited: Jul 31, 2009 / Jan 15, 2013

Object ID: 535472

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Wildflowers along the trail
Wildflowers along the trail
The Steamboat Loop Trail is a short, but fun trail through one of the more scenic areas of Chadron State Park. Part of the trail travels through Ponderosa pine forest, while the rest runs along a high ridge along the south rim of the canyon in the north part of the state park.

You will need a state park permit to bring any vehicle into the park.

Getting There

Steamboat Butte
Steamboat Butte
To get to Chadron State Park, travel south of Chadron on Highway 385 about 8 miles, to Chadron State Park. It would probably help if you stopped at the state park headquarters and asked for a park trail map (free), plus any other questions you might have about trails, camping, or other facilities.

From the state park headquarters, take the right turn in the road loop and follow the main roadway. There is a cabin area turnoff to the left, so ignore that, as well as the camping area turnoff to the right a short distance up the road. In about 1 1/2 miles, you will come to the Sawmill Shelter (on the state park maps).

Route Description

At the Sawmill Shelter, the trail loop goes up the side of a ridge. You can take the loop either way. The trail distance is about 1.8 miles, and will take you through some peaceful forest areas, as well as high on a canyon ridge with stunning vistas.

Essential Gear

Unless you go during the winter, when your selection of gear would be dictated by how much snow was on the ground and how cold it was, you will need only what you would normally take on a hike that takes a 1 hour.

Suggestions would include water, appropriate shoes or boots, hat, hiking pole, sunscreen, tick repellent in the spring and early summer, compass, map, rain gear if the forecast is questionable, and a camera.

Resource Links

For more information, check out Chadron State Park's website at:
Chadron State Park

You may reach the park headquarters at: (308) 432-6167

You can download a state park map from the Chadron Wellness website at:

Chadron Wellness


Steamboat ButteTrail along rim of north canyonWildflowers along the trail