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Following a former rail corridor and running parallel to West Broadway, the First Avenue Trail provides a new opportunity for active transportation and recreation in Council Bluffs. Connecting neighborhoods, local businesses, schools, public parks, and community facilities, the trail is part of a larger revitalization project that includes trails, transit, and redevelopment.
The wide, paved pathway has a 10 to 12-foot-wide asphalt middle section with 2-foot-wide concrete shoulders on either side. This allows trail users to navigate easily and safely. Trail activities include walking, running, biking, rollerblading, skateboarding, and other micro-mobility options.
With its attractive landscaping and various amenities, the First Avenue Trail is more like a linear park than a trail. Along the 3.2-mile trail, you can enjoy multiple public green spaces, shaded seating, bicycle parking. Trail plazas located every few blocks, which are designed to evoke the former railroad architecture.
There is bike share at the 25th Street trail plaza, conveniently situated between Council Bluffs' other two bike share locations. As the trail passes Thomas Jefferson High School, it features additional landscaping, black welded-wire fencing with gates, ADA-compliant ramps leading to the school, and long seating walls for both students and anyone using the trail.
The First Avenue Trail connects downtown Council Bluffs to downtown Omaha and serves as an essential link in the region's trail system. At its eastern endpoint, the trail connects with the Indian Creek Trail. At the trail's western endpoint, it connects with the Iowa Riverfront Trail and the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge, which leads to downtown Omaha and was the first dedicated pedestrian bridge to connect two states. The multiuse trail will also be included as part of the Great American Rail Trail, a signature project of Rails-to-Trails Conservancy.
In November 2022, First Ave received a Laurels Award for Access and Mobility from Omaha by Design. A grand opening is planned for Spring 2023.
Metro, Omaha and Council Bluffs' public transit system, provides easy access to the trail. Visit the Metro website to plan your trip.
At the trail's eastern end, parking is available at Broadway Park (1300 W Broadway, Council Bluffs). Access to the trail is across the street from the park's southeast corner.
At the Trail's western end, there is a parking lot at the foot of the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge in River's Edge Park (4200 Avenue B, Council Bluffs). Additional parking can be found on the Nebraska side of the river at the National Historic Trail Headquarters and Visitor Center (601 Riverfront Dr, Omaha). To access the trail, use the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge to cross the river into Council Bluffs.
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