The Omaha Riverfront Trail is currently open in three sections along the Missouri River in Nebraska's largest city.
In the south, the trail begins at Missouri Avenue/US 275's approach to the South Omaha Veterans Memorial Bridge. The vehicular bridge, located south of downtown Omaha, includes the separated Veterans Memorial Trail
, which connects trail users to Council Bluffs' extensive trail system just across the river.
North of the bridge on the Nebraska side, the Omaha Riverfront Trail was constructed on a levee road. Gates across this portion of the trail are often closed to prevent access by vehicles, but trail use is permitted unless otherwise noted. The trail runs between the Missouri River and active BNSF Railway tracks, but the route is a peaceful place to ride, run, walk or skate. Currently, the best place to exit this section of the trail is at the intersection of Hickory Street and S. 2nd Street. If you're looking for a challenge, consider riding or running up the steep hill on Hickory Street; refer to the map for the exact location.
The middle section of the trail offers a completely different experience than the southern portion. Begin your journey at Heartland of America Park, located just north of ConAgra Foods' corporate headquarters. The park features a large lake with a walking path, several fountains and tour boat rides in the summer. Check out the stunning views of the Omaha skyline to the west of the lake.
From Heartland of America Park, the trail continues north under Interstate 480. The trail next approaches Lewis and Clark Landing, the site of the duo's landing in what is now Omaha in 1804. The park includes interpretive exhibits, memorials and picnic tables along the river, as well as a pedestrian bridge to CenturyLink Center Omaha, home to college sports and other popular events. Just north of Lewis and Clark Landing along the trail is the new regional headquarters for the National Park Service.
Serving as a stunning backdrop to most of the aforementioned locations on the trail, the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge
is an architectural landmark for the region. The bridge, which begins just north of the NPS regional headquarters building, takes trail users to the Iowa Riverfront Trail
on the other side of the Missouri River. Just north of the bridge in Omaha sits the headquarters building for Gallup, the famous polling company. The local icon paid for the colorful dancing lights atop the bridge's pylons, which are clearly visible from the company's building and much of Omaha and Council Bluffs.
The middle section of the Omaha Riverfront Trail ends at Gallup's headquarters just south of the oddly-drawn border with Carter Lake, Iowa. Plans call for filling in the gap between the middle and northern portions of the trail within the next year, but for now, rejoin the trail at the intersection of Abbott Drive and E. Locust Street. North of here, the Omaha Riverfront Trail is wedged between Eppley Airfield and Carter Lake. The trail shortly rejoins the Missouri River and runs north on its longest route into Washington County. The nearly 15-mile-long section of trail parallels John J. Pershing Drive and ends at scenic Boyer Chute National Wildlife Refuge. The refuge was established in 1996 by the federal government to recover fish and wildlife habitat along the Missouri River.
Omaha is making it a priority to connect the three portions of the Omaha Riverfront Trail, as well as to extend it southward. Until then, take advantage of a nice day and explore one section or enjoy all three!