Johnson Lake Hike and Bike Trail


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Johnson Lake Hike and Bike Trail Facts

States: Nebraska
Counties: Dawson, Gosper
Length: 10.3 miles
Trail end points: Johnson Lake Drive and Bullhead Expressway and State campground on Johnson Lake Drive north of Mallard Cove
Trail surfaces: Concrete
Trail category: Greenway/Non-RT
ID: 7427050
Trail activities: Bike, Inline Skating, Fishing, Wheelchair Accessible, Walking, Cross Country Skiing

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Johnson Lake Hike and Bike Trail Description

The Johnson Lake Hike and Bike Trail is a 10-mile loop around a popular recreational lake in central Nebraska located about 10 miles south of Lexington. The project is nearly complete with 8.3 miles of paved off-road trail currently available around the shoreline. Two miles of well-marked, shared roadway connect the trail segments.

The trail is complemented with 3 gazebos, 12 rest areas, 3 trailhead signs, and 8 parking areas. A new dedicated pedestrian/bicycle bridge over the outlet canal was opened in the spring of 2016. The trail passes through wooded areas, open grasslands, and farm fields, crosses the Johnson Lake Dam, and connects eating establishments located around the lake.

A variety of activities are available on and around the lake, including boating, sailing, water skiing, fishing, hunting, wildlife viewing, golfing and camping.

Parking and Trail Access

From I-80, exit 237 (Lexington): Follow Highway 283 (Plum Creek Parkway) south for 7 miles to Johnson Lake Drive. Johnson Lake Drive is a paved road that circles the lake and provides trail access points every few miles. Handicapped-access parking areas are located at the intersection of Johnson Lake Drive and Bullhead Expressway on the east side of the lake and at the intersection of Johnson Lake Drive and Drive 18A on the west side of the lake.

Johnson Lake Hike and Bike Trail Reviews

Delightful trail around Johnson Lake. Two short sections on roads. Virtually no traffic. Very enjoyable break on a cross country journey.

We rode this trail a couple days ago, and were pleasantly surprised at the improvements since our last visit. The trail makes a complete loop around Johnson Lake, with only a few "shared roadway" instances, including a short stretch across the actual dam. In one case, we can see on-going construction to give bikes a separate pathway in the near future, leaving only the dam and the inlet roadways to be shared with vehicle traffic.

Very scenic ride. Many opportunities to stop and rest.


I ride the trail three days per week in good weather! It is a safe loop, with dedicated trail options away from the more dangerous stretches of vehicle roadway. The ten mile loop can be easily ridden in one hour.

Along the way are nine really nice rest areas and two gazebos, adding to the scenic settings-- plus two campgrounds and four eateries.

On the way I see families with small children, dedicated bikers, folks walking dogs, trikes, roller blades, and even wheelchairs! Folks who drive to it will not be disappointed!

Chuck Olsen

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