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Cowboy Trail

Easy
 4.5 (4)

The Cowboy Trail is one of the country’s longest rail-trails stretching 196 miles across Nebraska.


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Map Key

195.2

Miles

314.1

KM

Singletrack

2,738' 835 m

High

1,515' 462 m

Low

1,582' 482 m

Up

513' 156 m

Down

0%

Avg Grade (0°)

2%

Max Grade (1°)

Dogs Off-leash

E-Bikes Unknown

Family Friendly A nice path that is flat and wide.

Description

Stretching across a significant portion of America’s outback, the Cowboy Trail provides visitors with endless potential. The trail can be a relaxing getaway for a nature walk at dusk, a family weekend bike destination, a more grueling course for a long-distance run or an easily-accessible route to explore the Great American Plains.

Starting in Norfolk and stretching 321 miles west to Chadron, this is one of the longest Rails-to-Trails projects in the US. This mapped route covers the 196 miles of the trail between Norfolk and Valentine that uses a crushed limestone surface, which makes for a great tread for biking.

This path is also used for walking, running, and horseback riding, so please respect right-of-way signs.

When the railroad was first built, it was constructed at a grade of 2% or less, which was the regulated maximum for locomotives. For the same reason, there are no tight turns. Both of these trail characteristics lend themselves to an extremely enjoyable user experience, whether you're running, biking, or riding horseback.

Keep your eyes open along the trail for some old milepost markers, which were originally erected as telegraph poles. A number of these mark the distance to Fremont, which is the easternmost trailhead.

Contacts

Shared By:

Alex Duryea

Trail Ratings

  4.5 from 4 votes

#1

in Norfolk

#6004

Overall
  4.5 from 4 votes
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3 Star
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Trail Rankings

#1

in Norfolk

#9

in Nebraska

#6,004

Overall
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2,656 Since Jun 29, 2016
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Photos

Bikers ride along a wooded section of the Cowboy Trail. (Photo by Nebraska Game and Parks with permission by Kirk Nelson, Assistant Division Administrator.)
Jul 20, 2015 near Atkinson, NE
Warm fall day on CBT.
Feb 4, 2019 near Battle…, NE
Rolling over the red limestone of the Cowboy Trail.
Jun 9, 2016 near Valentine, NE
Wet bridge over the Niobrara River.
Feb 4, 2019 near Valentine, NE
Bridge over the Niobrara River at Valentine, Neb.
Jun 9, 2016 near Valentine, NE
Just before the bridge over the Niobrara.
Jun 9, 2016 near Valentine, NE

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Check-Ins

May 18, 2018
Larry Wenzl
Thoroughly enjoyed riding the Cowboy Trail! 196mi — 18h 00m