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Find the top rated atv trails in Nebraska, 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.
This trail is a gem. It crosses the Platte River twice on beautiful bridges. There are shelters with seating along the trail. We even saw a couple of deer running beside us. The trail leaves from the Ft. Kearney Campground and the campground hosts lend campers bicycles for free.
As others have said, this nice trail needs some care. A fallen tree partially blocked one spot and branches lay everywhere. Also, the signs say "closed during firearms hunting season" but don't say when that might be, just a number to call.
Overall though, it's a good trail, not too rough and very peaceful and scenic.
I started in Beatrice and rode 10 miles south. The trail surface is packed well and well maintained. The first 2-3 miles were a nice mix of sun and shade, turning into mostly sun up to mile 10. There are a few road crossings, but most were unpaved country lanes, none were busy, and all had good visibility. There was a bench at about 2.75 miles, and a covered area with. Few tables and benches, restrooms, and a water fountain around 6.75 miles. While the scenery is nothing spectacular, it is nice and it's peaceful. Overall, a really pleasant ride
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.
We started the trail in Peru, NE. The trail hasn't been very well maintained and had branches, ruts, and washout all the way down to Brownville. I didn't mind, but my wife thought it was a harsh ride, so beware. We both rode mountain bikes. This is no trail for skinny tires. I enjoyed it as it had some nice scenery but the end was kinda of anti-climactic, so we just turned around and went back. We will probably do the route from Ne City to Peru and see if the trail is in better shape. Note, if you've ever done wabash trace, this is not maintained nearly as well. We met a couple on recumbents, and wondered how they would fair further down the trail. I've uploaded several pics from the visit.
We rode the trail from Brownville to Peru. There were bluffs, trees, the Missouri River and farm fields. It was an enjoyable ride. There were some washed out spots and rough parts but they were manageable. The Peru trailhead has modern bathrooms that were clean. An overall enjoyable ride. The next day we rode from Nebraska City about 6 miles and back. This part of the trail was in better shape but you do have to ride about 1/2 mile on a gravel road to get to the trail. The trailhead does not have a bathroom or water.
We use to ride this trail a lot, but gave up on it after several rides on it this spring and summer, each time thinking that it was going to be in better condition. I even wrote emails and messaged the Papio-NRD a couple times telling them it was unsafe and way too thick to ride. It's Bad from the start on Hiway50/Schramm Road all the way to Springfield and then past Springfield in places. What was once our favorite is now our least favorite.
My wife and I rode this trail recently while in the area. The trail is in desperate need of maintenance and cleanup. Tree branch debris can be found throughout the Trail. This debris wasn't from a recent storm but had obviously been building up over a long period of time. It was apparent the Trail sees few riders as in some areas the grass had completely overgrown the path. We spent a few hours riding the entire trail without encountering a single rider. Would not recommend till conditions improve.
very disappointed in the care of this trail. its like riding in mud. they should take advice from the wabash trace trail caretakers. Not only is it to deep in 95% of the trail the rock they use is to large.
I gave up on riding back and chose to ride back on the roads. and I never like to ride with cars.
I rode this trail today for the first time this year, between Springfield-Louisville. The south part of the trail, south of Buffalo Road, is covered with limestone which was applied way too thick. This has turned a once good trail into a very unenjoyable ride unless you can plow your way through it. It needs to be bladed. Very sad condition.
Depending upon the portion of this you ride it can be beginner to medium. Pacific to Blondo is fairly flat, but there is the high traffic area of Dodge to cross. Blondo to Fort has some hills which will be better for intermediate riders. Around Standing Bear is mostly flat ride, but windy roads with lots of trees around reduce the visibility and make it more complicated for beginners
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