Hiking, Biking, and Horseback Riding
Few places in the world still offer the unspoiled beauty and peaceful splendor found along the trails that weave their way
through the state of Nebraska. Here, amidst the rolling hills, rugged buttes and wild grasslands, you’ll have a chance to take your own path.
Near Chadron and Crawford in the northwest corner of the state,
mountain bike routes wind through the Pine Ridge country.
They range from “take in the scenery” cruises to “do I dare” climbs and plunges.
In all, more than 70 miles of trails crisscross Fort Robinson and Chadron State Parks and Nebraska National Forest.
Bicycling magazine dubbed the area among the country’s best for mountain biking.
Pine Ridge hiking paths skirt rim rock ridges and deep canyons and meander through lush meadows.
Bighorn sheep perch on the outcroppings, and elk and other wildlife graze the grasslands in the 52,000-acre forest.
At the opposite corner of the state, 20 miles of trails draw mountain bikers and hikers to Indian Cave State Park.
The 3,000-acre playground sprawls across a forested Missouri River bluff. Intermediate to advanced riders enjoy the
challenging paths. Some plunge steeply and traverse streams, as they wind through rocky bluffs and dense forests.
Backpackers often camp in Adirondack-style shelters that dot park ridges.
Not far away, the 20-mile Steamboat Trace Trail
follows the Missouri River from Nebraska City
south to the historic village of Brownville. Along the way,
the route passes through riverside forests and along high cliffs that
reward you with commanding views of the river.
You can pedal completed sections of the 320-mile Cowboy
Trail linking Norfolk with Chadron to the northwest.
Among the most scenic open stretches, a five-mile section east of Valentine crosses over a
high railroad bridge above the Niobrara River. A 35-mile segment from Norfolk west to Neligh follows the
Elkhorn River through woods and farmland. The 20-mile section from Ewing northwest to O’Neill treks through meadows and river bottoms.
At Platte River State Park,
a six-mile loop hugs the river and passes over
hills and under a canopy of trees. You can overnight in a tepee village.
Beginning in Lincoln, the MOPAC East Trail winds 25 miles east through
the rolling farmland of Nebraska.
Along the way, you can stop to sip gourmet coffee at the Walton Trail Company
, a combination bike shop and café that occupies a 100-year-old former mercantile.