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Find the top rated atv trails in Norfolk, whether you're looking for an easy short atv trail or a long atv trail, you'll find what you're looking for. Click on a atv trail below to find trail descriptions, trail maps, photos, and reviews.
I love the empty beauty of the Sandhills and you feel you're out in the middle of nowhere riding east from Valentine, on a stretch where the trail veers away from the road.
I rode my hybrid 16 miles out and then back (to the big cell tower where the trail rejoins the road). There's been some ATV travel on the trail, but generally the surface was good. I met a cyclist or two close to Valentine, but that was it.
On warm days, take plenty of water - there's little shade to be had.
I rode 25 miles out and 25 miles back from Valentine, to Wood Lake. The Niobrara trestle is spectacular and only a couple of miles outside Valentine. The grass was green and the sunflowers in bloom. The people at the motel where I stayed let me park my car. I went in late August after viewing the eclipse over in Wyoming. The weather was hot and humid and very windy (headwind going out). Coming back the wind was lighter, but still a headwind (!) I camped at Wood Lake (pop 60) in the town park (no fee, no one will bother you, rest rooms, picnic tables, shade trees, grass to pitch a tent, electric hookups, excellent drinking water, small playground for kids). The only person I met was the Post Mistress who was helpful and friendly. The cafe is closed, contrary to the trail guide. I was told there is a lady who serves coffee, out by the highway, but the town felt like a ghost town, except for a couple of friendly dogs who came over. I met no one else. Trail conditions were sandy in places and sometimes weedy with washboards where the farmers had used the trail as a road, despite "no motor vehicles" signs. Usually I could avoid the washboards by riding in the center or edge of trail. This is NOT a manicured trail, at least at the western end. I used semi-fat mountain bike tires (26x2.5" Surly Extraterrestrials) with Flat Attack sealer because of thorns and had no trouble with flats or in places where the sand was several inches deep. I rode a few miles on the parallel highway which has good shoulders and is smoothly paved with very light traffic. The places where the trail veers from the highway are the most interesting and scenic; the parts that parallel the highway are a bit boring. I met no other cyclists except within five miles of Valentine. Along the trail I saw two garter snakes, horses, a turtle, a frog, songbirds, ducks, and birds of prey. The Cowboy Trail lacks the social component that more popular trails have. It presents a solitary and perhaps more peaceful experience because there are so few users. One amenity it lacks that more popular trails have are the rest areas with shelters every so often that also serve as gathering places for trail users to meet and swap stories. In between towns there is really no place to get out of the weather and rest or eat a snack unless you sit on the ground. I only explored the western end so perhaps the middle and eastern end have more facilities. The Cowboy is a very long trail and would make a good alternative to highways if you were planning on biking across the whole country.
When you write a review its useful to know what kind of bike.700 would probably suck. While a 29 would make the ride easy.
My son and I drove up from Omaha to Norfolk and on to Long Pine for a biking, hiking, fishing weekend. Only rode the trail from Norfolk west for 5 miles, about halfway to Battle Creek. That part of the trail was very nice - 2 miles of concrete and 3 miles of pea gravel. Nice bridge over the Elkhorn River. However, further west the trail parallels Hwys. 275 & 20. We could see a lot of it from the road as we drove and the further west we drove, the worse it looked. There were sections where it was almost completely overgrown with weeds. Would not want to ride there at all. It's too bad, this could be a very nice trail, but central sections are very neglected if maintained at all. Hence, the 3 star rating.
This trail has great potential but is just flat out ignored, poorly maintained never open all the way through and very rarely traveled without a flat tire, bring a spare or patches.
After a not very pleasant ride on the west end of this trail last fall, tried the East end in May 2015. Much nicer trail. Started in Norfolk and went out 1 mile past Battle Creek before impending rain forced me to turn around and head back. No issues at all in the 11 miles from Norfolk to just past Battle Creek. Except for getting rained on, very nice ride!
We did a 40 mile ride in October 2014, starting in Valentine and, except for the first 5 miles, the trail was not in good condition. A 2 or 3 mile stretch of continuous washboard almost made us turn around. At about mile 18, we hit a stretch that was very overgrown with weeds and our tires become covered in stickers. That did make us turn around. (We did a few miles around town to give us a nice round 40 miles.)
I ride the trail regularly. There is a new mile that starts on south 1st Street--south of where it appears the town ends, so keep going until you see the parking lot and a bridge for the trail. It is cement thru Ta-Ha-Zouka Park--which is on S. Hwy. 81, and is where the trail used to start. The cement continues until west of behind-the-Goodyear plant. Then it is crushed rock. The bridge washed out by that flood has been repaired, elongated, and now has a nice shelter to pull off the trail and have a break. It overlooks the river. Yesterday a blue heron flew with me as I rode over the bridge, and then "disappeared" into the shore. I have ridden the 11 miles from 1st Street to Battle Creek and back. Have coffee with the locals at the gas station in Battle Creek, and the shopping at Red Bud Hardware is definitely worth the time! It has something for everybody to look at--tools, toys, pretties for the house, and great licorice from Australia. Have not been further out than Battle Creek, but Norfolk to Battle Creek is fine!
The trail system is very well maintained and highly recommended. I have no issues with a road bike fitted with 700-23 or 700-25 tires, even on the connecting hard packed gravel trails. The bollards are close together to deny vehicle traffic.
My family bicycled over 100 miles of the Cowboy trail starting in Valentine. Although the first 5 or so miles near the trestle bridge are good, east of Valentine we encountered abused sections of trail. Clearly local ranchers and farmers view the trail as another access road to their fields. There was severe washboarding for several miles. In general, the trail was poorly maintained for large sections and the still not repaired washouts in the Elkhorn River Valley were a further disappointment. Signs for trailheads and mile markers were nonexistent and services in towns poor. We planned our vacation around this trail to compliment tubing on the Niobrara, so we were very disappointed. From speaking to people in Valentine, it was clear that many thought the trail was a waste of money and that locals were divided on whether to give the land back to local ranchers or support the trail. Locals were surprised to see bikers using the trail. The scenery was beautiful; what a pity the trail was so poorly maintained.
Started from Norfolk. Trailhead(?) was supposed to be at the end of city street (Omaha?), but not marked. Went left and ended up in city park. Reversed course (2+ miles back) and shortly after leaving the pavement started sinking a 1/4 inch into trail. Moderate to difficultly in pedaling. By Battle Creek, it was getting worse. Between Battle Creek and Meadow _____, I was sinking up to an inch into the trail (extreme difficulty in pedaling. Trail sign said it was "closed until further notice 1 mile outside Meadow ______. Pedaled to highway and had my wife pick me up. Very disappointing.
This trail is basically unused due to its surface. One 6 mile stretch east of Valentine had washboard ~ 3-4 inches deep. Two other stretches farther east had had cattle and horses on it when wet, so was very chopped up. The entire trail was surfaced with small gravel which had not been rolled into the surface, so was variable in depth, catching front tires at times. We were using 700-28 and 700-36 tires. Because of the surface we rode most of the 180 miles on US 20, as did other riders we saw. I would never recommend this trail to anyone. Most of the trail was within 20 yards of US 20.