Do not ride the eastern half of the park 9am - 4pm from Memorial Day through October 31st. Horses use the trails at this time. Respect the restrictions.
Platte River State Park is one of the best trail systems in eastern Nebraska. It's a beautiful network of fast flowing singletrack cut into the bluffs above the Platte River. These trails wind themselves up and down the forested bluffs, across open fields at the crest, and rocket down gullies in between.
Need to Know
Park just left and down the hill from the park entrance or just right and up the hill by the observation tower. The map shows the route from the observation tower. It is preferred to start the ride from the lower parking lot that takes you by the little waterfall.
Platte River State Park is Nebraska's most diverse MTB Destination, sporting 20+ miles of trails in 3 main sections called West (in the park), Race Route East (legacy trails to east of the Wild Turkey lot, west of the new MTB specific parking lot on the east side of the park), and New East (trails on the furthest east portion of the park).
The route in place has you parking in the middle of the park and going west first, then riding back over to the east before you come back to the Wild Turkey Parking Lot. The west generally has steeper climbs and descents and more technical trails so most prefer to ride that earlier in their ride when the legs are fresh and focus is primed.
As you make your way west, there is a 2-way trail that bypasses the Waterfall area ( the waterfall area can be very thick from hiking congestion during weekends or holidays). Be mindful of riders and hikers going the opposite direction. Once you exit this trail, you'll be by a parking lot. Cross the lot and bear right/west to get around a grove of trees before you ride over a bridge and work your way up to the next trail. Follow the post signs and this trail will take you about 1 mile before you exit by an Amphitheater. Look for another post across the road and follow the signs that lead you out to the far west parking lot on a fast flowing modern MTB trail.
Once you are at the west parking lot, cross the lot to the south, cross the TeePee's, and follow the trail into the woods. This section will lead you to Libisano loop where you'll have fast downhills and a climb out that will have you questioning whether you are in Nebraska. Once you exit, avoid going straight into River Run (you'll miss half the trail and only catch the DH), hang a right and then in about 20 yards hang a left to find a fast flowing trail called Eastbound and Down. Take this for about a half mile before going left into the lollipop loop that is River Run. River Run is a modern flow style trail with a few jumps, a large step up, and high speeds. Have some fun after you put in the sweat equity to climb it, you've earned it! Once you reach the exit, continue on EastBound and Down until you drop down into the creek area. You'll take your first right on doubletrack after you meander by the creek for a hundred yards. This will take you about 40 feet up to a trail that will take you back to the Waterfall Bypass trail.
Take the Waterfall bypass east and keep going east. You'll cross the bridge and have a hundred or so yards before climbing up a doubletrack. This will lead you up on a ridge that has some fun descending into the Gully area, where you'll get practice for your second time around. This trail will lead you to a doubletrack crossing where you'll go straight to climb up and descend a fun loop called RPP. You can opt out of the downhill if you choose but the loop is best if you enjoy the fast downhill before you climb back up to the 001 trailhead.
001 marks the start of the race route east and will be a welcomed, fast flowing trail that leads you to Sykes Slingshot, Ruthie's point, and the new east trails. Ride the new east trails from south to north, enjoying some of the features before coming back to the meadow area. Head south.
After the meadow, quick drops coupled with fast ups with roots and random logs to contend with, not to mention the stray deer or two. Once the trail reaches the bottom, it climbs back up with an optional rocky mini-loop. The rocks are not too difficult to negotiate (says the guy that has walked them more than once), but add more variety to an already diverse trail.
At the top of the last climb, it's time for the Gully. Fun, fun, fun!! The Gully winds its way in splendid fashion down a gully (imagine that) throwing rollercoaster dips and dives, sandy washouts, rooty climbs, and rocky playgrounds. The rest of your ride is riding doubletrack and road back to the wild turkey lot. There is a rooty surprise and singletrack that you'll want to hit!
Shared By: Phil Niles