Best Routes to NSP
FROM THE WEST OR EAST ON I-80: Get off I-80 via Exit 177 at North Platte, then go north on Nebraska Hwy 97 through Tryon and Mullen to the Reservoir (115 miles total distance). To go directly to Valentine, take the same Exit 177 at North Platte, and then take US 83 north through Stapelton and Thedford directly to Valentine (131 miles). The US 83 route has a higher speed limit and a somewhat better road surface, but the Hwy 97 route is somewhat more scenic, and will take you directly to Merritt Reservoir and the Snake Campground. Both routes take you through the heart of the picturesque Nebraska Sandhill country, so have your camera ready! One word of caution: there are very few towns along these two routes, so make sure your gas tank is full when you leave North Platte. Also, while some maps show other roads in the area, most are not good black top, and should be avoided (the Brownlee Road in particular – literally only one lane wide – is not suitable for large RVs).
ALTERNATE ROUTE FROM THE EAST ON I-80: Get off I-80 at Exit 312, and go north on US 281 into Grand Island to US Hw 2. Take US 2 west through Broken Bow, Thedford, and on to Mullen. At Mullen, turn north onto Nebraska Hwy 97, which takes you directly to Merritt Reservoir. You save about 27 miles by going this route, verses staying on I-80, but you go through a number of small towns and the speed limit is lower. This route does take you past the Nebraska National Forest west of Halsey, which is an interesting stop for nature buffs and families. If you wish to go directly to Valentine rather than Merritt Reservoir, get off of US Hwy 2 just east of Thedford and take US 83 north to Valentine.
FROM THE NORTHEAST OR NORTHWEST ON I-90: Take exit 192 at Murdo South Dakota, then go south on US 83 through White River, Mission, and on to Valentine (76 miles). From Valentine, take Nebraska Hwy 97 southwest to Merritt (total distance: 102 miles).
For detailed driving directions in and around Merritt Resort see our How To Get There page.