Kearney Hike and Bike Trail


14 Reviews

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Kearney Hike and Bike Trail Facts

States: Nebraska
Counties: Buffalo, Kearney
Length: 22.97 miles
Trail end points: Cottonmill Park and Fort Kearny Hike-Bike Trail
Trail surfaces: Concrete
Trail category: Greenway/Non-RT
ID: 6016471

Kearney Hike and Bike Trail Description

The Kearney Hike and Bike Trail spans 13 paved miles through western and southern Kearney, Nebraska. The trail links neighborhoods and businesses with parks and historical sites throughout the city. Along the way, you’ll find scenic urban views and numerous amenities.

The westernmost section of the trail is known as “The Links” for the two golf courses that it passes on its journey between Cottonmill Lake and W. Railroad Street. At Cottonmill Park, you’ll find picnic shelters, swimming and fishing opportunities, and a playground. In winter, cross-country skiing, sledding, ice skating, and ice fishing are also popular activities here. From the park, the trail travels nearly 3 miles along the Nebraska Public Power District canal and through the University of Nebraska’s Kearney campus.

Midway—between golf courses—a 4-mile, C-shaped spur of the trail known as “Eagle Loop” largely parallels 30th Avenue and provides travelers with access to Ted Baldwin Park (north end of the trail) and West Linconway Park (south end).

Shortly after traversing the university campus, the trail dives under an active railroad and heads south toward Kenwood Elementary School. This short, 1-mile section is known locally as the “Tailrace Trail.” Cross W. 11th Street at the crosswalk to pick up the next trail section.

This segment is known as “Betty’s Trail” after Betty Connell, who allowed this portion of trail to cross her land. It begins at Yanney Park, where you can access additional trails, picnic areas, an observation tower, amphitheater, wetlands and gardens, a playground, and a splash park. The trail continues nearly 2 miles east to 2nd Avenue along a tree-lined canal.

A paved spur of the trail runs from the intersection of 2nd Avenue & 56th St to the Platte River's north channel. Primarily paralleling M Avenue, a brief gap in the trail spur is solved by using sidewalks. Crossing the north channel of the Platte River via a pedestrian bridge, the spur connects with the main trail. 

At 2nd Avenue, you can seamlessly connect to the next section of the trail known as “Pioneer’s Path.” This section heads eastward through wetland areas for 3 miles to the Great Platte River Road Archway Monument.

From the Archway, the trail meanders alongside I-80 for nearly 3 miles before turning and passing under the interstate. Heading south, the trail first crosses the north channel and then the main channel of the Platte River via pedestrian bridges. After passing through a lightly wooded area, the trail ends by the Fort Kearny State Recreation Area (SRA) where it connects with the Fort Kearny Hike-Bike Trail. This section of the trail—from the underpass to the recreation area—is known as the "Three Bridges Hike-Bike Trail."

Parking and Trail Access

Parking is available at the following locations (from west to east):

  • Cottonmill Park (2795 Cottonmill Avenue); restrooms as well
  • Ted Baldwin Park (19th Avenue at 49th Street)
  • West Lincolnway Park (30th Avenue north of La Crosse Drive)
  • Yanney Heritage Park (2020 W. 11th Street); restrooms as well
  • Great Platte River Road Archway Monument (3060 East 1st Street; access is via 1st Street)
  • Imperial Rd (follow it to the very end; a small lot is next to the I-80 pedestrian underpass)

Kearney Hike and Bike Trail Reviews

Great Trail Through a Great Town

This was the second stop in our 2023 "Tour de Great Plains & Colorado" bike trip. The trail was in excellent condition, mostly flat and the town of Kearny is the best of America, you really couldn't find better place to stop and ride. It really does seem like the place where you can leave the front door unlocked.

This trail is very well maintained and is relatively level. We thoroughly enjoyed it.

This trail is very well maintained and is relatively level. We thoroughly enjoyed it.

Cottonmill Double track Trails: Old fathers Trail

A great, flowing, double track trail that allows great views of Platte Valley.

Easy Ride

We visit family in Kearney at least twice each year and discovered the bike trail on We are not serious bikers but simply enjoy riding and sight seeing while we get some exercise. So, this trip we packed our folding bikes and rode the entire trail. Like I said, we are not super serious bikers just a retired couple getting exercise.

The trail is very well maintained with water fountains/bottle fill stations at the Arch and Yanney Park. The main trail is completely paved and mostly flat. We normally stay at the Microtel which is right along the trail and makes a good starting point. Highly recommend this trail and the parks in Kearney, they have done a wonderful job developing and maintaining them.


Walking the trail

Great walk...for being in an urban setting be prepared to see lots of wildlife. Many places to get on the trail and walk or ride a bike. Not many facilities from archway to Fort Kearney but great easy walk. Cranes are available for viewing during migration in spring. You will like the experience.

Cottonmill Hike Bike Trail

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.

Trail Length

OK, my previous estimate was off a bit. The actual length of the trail from Ft Kearny trail head to Cottonmill Park trail head is 26.98 mi round trip. Your mileage may vary, especially if you take the time to ride through either/both parks.

Also, the Kearney Hike/Bike Trail is much more than just these two end points. There are many branches off the main line that take you around and through the Kearney area, including Harvey Park, Baldwin Park and Yanney Park.


Trail is Complete !!!

The trail is complete from Ft Kearny to Cottonmill Park. Approximately 16 miles, one way.

Ride to the Archway!

Ride this trail today. It's in great shape.

As per the previous comment, you can't ride to Fort Kearny, but you can ride to the Platte River Road Archway which is worth a stop.

The trail section that curves along the canal is particularly nice.

Name is deceptive

You can't get to Fort Kearney on this trail!

Fun and easy

I like to bring my kids on this trail. Depending where you start you end at the movie theatre or the park! Win, win.

Wonderful Trail

What a wonderful trail this is. Have ridden it many times. Have enjoyed seeing runners, walkers, families and dedicated cyclists on this trail. The trail is very well maintained. Grasses are mowed on both sides. Fun going under highways and train tracks. Even when it is windy - you don't really notice.

Cotton - Fort Kearny Trail & Kearney Trails

Kearney is doing a fine job on Trails. Stop and get the “A guide to Kearney Trails“.
You can ride from Cottonmill Park N40.70252 W99.14269 , 8.78 mile along a Canal by Golf Courses, Spillway Park and UNK. South along the Canal, through a railroad underpass to Yanney Park Trailhead. Over the Canal & east through the woods to Hotel Row 2nd Ave underpass & 3.13 miles to the “Great Platte River Road Archway Monument” over I-80. N40.67036 W99.03970 , Plans to extend trail 4.5 miles to Fort Kearny.
Very smooth Concrete Surface. Go through UNKearney by Spillway Park and get a view of the Platt River Valley. Pedal in & around Yanney Park, climb the Gottschalk Tower for a 360 degree view. Go north 2 miles over the hill on wavy trail along 30th Ave and east to Lighthouse Point Lake. Enjoy the History of the area. Parking & restrooms at Cottonmill Park, Yanney Trailhead & Archway Monument. Noel Keller 3 Oct 09

Nice trail

Short but nice trail. Not much shade. Be careful if you get off the trail though because there are lots of stickers. Just on the short ride to the end of the trail and back 3 or the 4 bikes got thorns through the tires.

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