Columbus, NE Birding Trails and Maps

68 Reviews

Looking for the best Birding trails around Columbus?

Find the top rated birding trails in Columbus, whether you're looking for an easy short birding trail or a long birding trail, you'll find what you're looking for. Click on a birding trail below to find trail descriptions, trail maps, photos, and reviews.

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Activities
Length
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Type
17 Results
Activities
Length
Surfaces
Type

Dark Island Trail

8.4 mi
State: NE
Crushed Stone

Great American Rail-Trail

3743.9 mi
State: DC, IA, ID, IL, IN, MD, MT, NE, OH, PA, WA, WV, WY
Asphalt, Concrete, Crushed Stone

Oak Creek Trail

13 mi
State: NE
Crushed Stone

Pawnee Park Trail

2 mi
State: NE
Concrete

Cowboy Recreation and Nature Trail

202.9 mi
State: NE
Concrete, Crushed Stone

Wilderness Park Trail

1.5 mi
State: NE
Concrete

Two Lakes Trail

2.4 mi
State: NE
Concrete

Bob Lake Trail

1.3 mi
State: NE
Crushed Stone

Discoverer Trail

1.1 mi
State: NE
Concrete

East Military Trail

0.8 mi
State: NE
Concrete

FEVR Trail

1 mi
State: NE
Asphalt, Concrete

Jack Sutton Drive

0.5 mi
State: NE
Concrete

Monastery Trail

1.5 mi
State: NE
Concrete

Plum Creek Trail

2.7 mi
State: NE
Concrete

Ridge Road Trail

3 mi
State: NE
Concrete

Robert White Trail

1.5 mi
State: NE
Crushed Stone

Third Avenue Viaduct Trail

0.8 mi
State: NE
Concrete
Trail Image Trail Name States Length Surface Rating
Traversing just over 8 miles in central Nebraska, the Dark Island Trail runs from the small town of Central City to the even smaller village of Marquette. For those experiencing the trail by bike,...
NE 8.4 mi Crushed Stone
Note: This developing route is not yet fully contiguous – it is just over 50% complete. Please refer to the Trail Map for more information on the existing sections of trail, as well as the online...
DC, IA, ID, IL, IN, MD, MT, NE, OH, PA, WA, WV, WY 3743.9 mi Asphalt, Concrete, Crushed Stone
Nebraska's Oak Creek Trail, occupying a former Union Pacific Railroad corridor in the eastern part of the state, offers a truly rural experience. While the trail is only about an hour from both Omaha...
NE 13 mi Crushed Stone
Pawnee Park, is tucked into southwest Columbus. The park straddles both sides of Lincoln Highway (US 81/ US 30), and is bordered by Loup River. The trail runs the length of the park, starting on 6th...
NE 2 mi Concrete
Notice: The Cowboy Trail is closed in several spots along the trail including: Nicobara Bridge (Valentine), Cedar Creek (Johnstown), 44th Rd. to Main St. (Long Pine), Cache Creek (Clearwater), between...
NE 202.9 mi Concrete, Crushed Stone
The Wilderness Park Trail offers a convenient, paved route past the popular 42-acre Wilderness Park Soccer Complex with its ten regulation-size fields. The trail is 1.5 miles, but connects with the...
NE 1.5 mi Concrete
The scenic Two Lakes Trail runs for 2.4 miles between where 48th Avenue crosses the Loup Canal, and the start of the Bob Lake Trail, and Lakeview Road at 18th Avenue. The trail follows the northern...
NE 2.4 mi Concrete
The Bob Lake Trail runs for 1.3 miles between 48th Avenue and the start of the Robert White Trail where the trails converge near 65th Street. The trail follows the southwest shore of Lake Babcock,...
NE 1.3 mi Crushed Stone
The Discoverer Trail is part of the Columbus Area Recreational Area Trails network, in Columbus, Nebraska. Coming in at just under a mile, this trail tracks a U-shaped course. It starts on 41st Avenue...
NE 1.1 mi Concrete
This recreational trail travels along the south side of E. Military Road. The concrete path connects neighborhoods on the east side of Fremont to Johnson Park. The park is home to a fishing lake...
NE 0.8 mi Concrete
The FEVR Trail borrows its name from the Fremont Valley & Elkhorn excursion line, that ran trains on 17 miles between Fremont and Hooper. The FEVR line is intact but the trail shares right-of-way with...
NE 1 mi Asphalt, Concrete
The Jack Sutton Drive is a concrete path lying along Jack Sutton Drive. The trail extends between Luther Road and the Johnson Crossing Academic Center, and affords students of the adjacent...
NE 0.5 mi Concrete
The Monastery Trail is a mile and half along 18th Ave/ Monastery Road in Columbus, Nebraska. The trail is an important link in the the city's trail network, known as Columbus Area Recreational Trails...
NE 1.5 mi Concrete
Located on the eastern side of Seward, Nebraska, the Plum Creek Trail runs for nearly 3 miles through open fields and dense woodland. As its name suggests, the trail follows the course of Plum Creek...
NE 2.7 mi Concrete
As its name suggests, this recreation path lies along Ridge Road in west Fremont. The trail is 8-foot-wide concrete, with intermittent tree cover, and is a flat run, walk or ride. The Ridge Road Trail...
NE 3 mi Concrete
The Robert White Trail runs for 1.5 miles between the start of the Bob Lake Trail, where the trails converge near 65th Street, and 18th Avenue/Monastery Road. There is no shade. The trail follows the...
NE 1.5 mi Crushed Stone
The Third Avenue viaduct was an infrastructure project decades in the making. Before that, travelers had to cross the tangle of Union Pacific tracks at street level. The upgrade, which opened in...
NE 0.8 mi Concrete

Recent Trail Reviews

Cowboy Recreation and Nature Trail

Nice Trail Corridor, Too Much Loose Aggregate

July, 2023 by trob4cy

Nice towns along the way. Good history. Various places to camp/stay. The trail is wide, well groomed and is mostly free from weeds or any overgrowth. But tire tracks from maintenance equipment can create a rough washboard effect along the trail.

In the red aggregate areas there is so much loose red aggregate that sometimes it is very hard to pedal and navigate through. Then the crushed limestone portions are pretty good. Issue is the trail will alternate back and forth with some sections of the really loose red aggregate and some sections of nice crushed limestone.

Use caution in loose material at road crossings (especially in sandier soil areas in western portions of the trail).

No trailheads. Source your own water and find own restrooms in towns along the way. No bulletin boards to post communications so check ahead online for trail closures and detours.

I did not have an issue with the puncturevine many speak of but be prepared for it in case you do.

Cowboy Recreation and Nature Trail

Cowboy Trail - Ainsworth to Bassett

June, 2023 by jaygkraemer

Today was my 3rd day on the trail. Have logged 140 miles on the trail over the last 3 days....all out and back. Today I rode from Ainsworth beyond Bassett. A pleasant surprise, 3 miles out of Ainsworth the trail surface changed from the red pea sized gravel to white/tan small stone gravel. Similar to what we have in WI…crushed limestone. This made the trail much much smoother! A MAJOR improvement. I did find in Long Pine that the bridge outside of town was out. Required me to take a detour out of town and ride on Hwy 20 for 1.5 miles (I felt safe as the shoulder is quite wide), got on a side road, where not far from Hwy 20 picked up the trail. That side road was very soft, so glad it was a short ride. The trail surface continued to be smooth to Bassett, where it then reverted back to the red stone. It made me wonder why the different type of stone is being used as the red stone surely is part of the reason for the rougher ride when the surface is comprised of this red stone. I rode 53 miles today. The temp was 88...still hot. Glad to be done! Overall, rode 141 miles on the trail. And no flats!!

Cowboy Recreation and Nature Trail

Biking the Cowboy Trail, NE

June, 2023 by jaygkraemer

My wife and I have rode 98 miles on the trail over the last two days (out and back rides), from Valentine to Ainsworth. The nicest thing I can say about the trail is it is clean. By that I mean it has no grass nor weeds growing on it. But that's about it. First, the surface is very washboardy. I surmise this is from the maintenance trucks leaving there tracks on the surface. We ride tadpoles/trikes, so very difficult to avoid these. Two wheelers will have a better time of it, but will still be a challenge. Would recommend they drag it periodically to rid it of this condition. This is a very boring trail....no scenery....just flat! There are also a lot of soft spots. You will sink into these and will need all your strength to get through them. Fatter tires are recommended for the trail, and if they are eBikes, lower your pressure to get a smoother ride, using your power to get through the trail. There are also holes in the trail. One might say they are gopher holes, but these are much bigger, as though prairie dogs live there. And stay clear of the sides as they are very soft and will suck you off the trail. We had been warned about those sharp barbs that can puncture your tires. Here they call them 'goat heads' . We did not encounter these and had no issues with flats. However, we were told this is not the time of year for them, and if you find them on the trail, they are left over from the fall. Late summer and fall is when these present the biggest problem. I also think mile markers would be helpful, but can get past that . Make sure you have plenty of water and few services in the small towns. Will I ride this trail again? Nope! UNLESS....they pave it. I think it would be an awesome trail to get on and just ride, if it was paved. I would come back (from WI) often if it was.

Accordion

Dark Island Trail

Dark Island Trail - Central City Nebraska -Memorial Day weekend 2023

May, 2023 by judykjensen

The first 4 miles of the trail going south from Central City is really nice. The long bridge over the Platte allows for excellent viewing of the river. The tree lined canopy traveling farther along was very pretty. Once riders cross HWY 14 and proceed on towards Marquette, the trail became increasing difficult to ride even with medium width bike tires. The trail surface of powdery fly ash was deep. It also appeared that new limestone/crushed rock gravel had recently been added to the trail but not graded, thus making it too difficult to continue riding. Perhaps fat tire bikes would be able to traverse this section but definitely not road or hybrid tire bikes. A very peaceful and pastoral trail to ride, but unfortunately the final 3 or so miles is too hard to really bike. Nice restroom facilities and picnic area at the trailhead in Central City.

Great American Rail-Trail

Great Allegheny Trail southeast of Pittsburgh?

April, 2023 by eshawger

Surprised to see this amazing trail that has great bed and breakfasts along it is not noted as part of the Great American Rail Trail. It sure would help demonstrate more GART completion if it was.

Pawnee Park Trail

Great Park trail - Good connection toward downtown Columbus

March, 2023 by joelripke

The Pawnee Park trail is a good quality concrete trail in Pawnee Park. It connects through the park with many rest, relaxation, and recreation opportunities.

The east terminus of the trail is at 26th avenue, a short little walk, run, or bike into downtown Columbus!

Cowboy Recreation and Nature Trail

Don't bother

August, 2022 by davidshuey

I had an outfitter drop me off in Ewing so I could ride 50 miles back to Norfolk. (wind coming dirctly from the east in my face...my bad). I encountered two bridge washouts. One had a detour sign to leave the trail but no sign on how or when to get back on. The second east of Neligh had no sign and no warning causing a 2 mile double back. There was also a trail washout section again with no warning. The other issue that made this ride less than ideal was that they had laid down about 20 miles of new pea gravel but had not tampted or rolled it so it was like riding in sand. The local big industrial farmers use this trail as their own private tractor highway leaving ruts for most of the section I rode (despite knowing that they are not permitted). In frustration, I left the trail and rode RT 275's nice shoulders for the rest of the trip. Also, if you're looking for scenery, skip this trail.

Great American Rail-Trail

A nice ride. The hub is a good place to start.

August, 2022 by jodieo1

A nice ride. The hub is a good place to start.

Cowboy Recreation and Nature Trail

Cowboy Trail

August, 2022 by torstenelsholz

Rode the trail in 6+ days, nice trail, very maintained, gravel only. Watch out for "puncture vines" must have spare tubes or tires or change from tubeless to tubes. Pack up! Beautiful out there. Don't expect too many people riding. Water up with hydration, not too many choices for refilling. Super hot in June/July. I enjoyed the ride a lot. If you prepare the ride, you find every 30+ miles a good place to sleep.

Great American Rail-Trail

so good

July, 2022 by fear2321

We took electric scooters and did 16miles of this trail was so beautiful seen 6 deer 5 turkeys will glad go back and explore more

Cowboy Recreation and Nature Trail

Giddyup and get your Cowboy on!

May, 2022 by 7s5a692x35

May 22 – 24 2022 The entire Trail from East to West

Day 1 Norfolk to O’Neil 80 miles
Day 2 O’Neil to Bassett 50 miles
Day 3 Bassett to Valentine 65 miles

The Trail was in good condition with very, little vegetation in the middle of the trail for the duration for late Spring. There are plenty of soft spots (deep gravel) that wider tires (used 50cm) are highly recommended for the Trail.

If you are riding the entire Trail, there are multiple detours along the route. The issue is that some are not marked well until you get to where for example, a bridge is washed out and it says closed as you reach the river and you must backtrack. The detour puts you on a busy highway with plenty of traffic mostly with large trucks. Since the Cowboy follows the highway for a majority of the Cowboy, we learned that once the obstacle was bypassed, we would just join back onto the trail which in most cases was a football field in distance to return to the Trail.

Treat all transitions with caution that includes all roads, driveways and bridges that crosses the trail as each may have challenges to include drop-offs, soft and deep sand plus up to 6” to get back up on the trail.

You may want to take into consideration the winds for the timeframe of your ride because you are exposed as the limited trees along the trail do little to help block the wind. 2 out of 3 days it was a direct headwind of 10+ knots. Also, going from East to West is a steady 1 to 2% climb.

We chose the Spring time frame to avoid the possibility of the dreaded sand burrs but we did have several occurrences of the burrs being imbedding in our tires. Luckily, we were running a tubeless tire setup with a sealant we have been using for years and after removing a burr, it quickly plugged the leak and we continued on with our journey.

Throughout the length of the Cowboy, there was some sort off wildlife digging holes mostly on the sides of the trail but some were in the middle of the trail and quite large. It was difficult to see the severity of the hole until you were almost on it.

As you approach each town on the trail, there is a sign announcing the name off the city and distance to the next one. As you are departing that town, there is another one along the trail.

Near Bassett, keep your eyes in the pastures adjacent to the trail as you might see wildlife of not the indigenous type but more of the exotic kind – 2 camels and a zebra!

Oak Creek Trail

A worthwhile experience

April, 2022 by dianalim

Oak Creek Trail is still closed just north of Valparaiso which was not posted on the info kiosk in Valparaiso. Better to start at County Rd. 30 if heading northward. Beautiful trail. Largely wind protected with embankments and trees. The horse trail alongside occasionally crisscrosses the fine gravel trail which was in good shape for this early spring ride. Restrooms were not open. North of Loma we encountered >20 mph winds which were gusting to 36 mph which added a significant challenge. But it was a pretty ride and worth the effort.

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