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The Keystone Trail is a popular urban-to-rural corridor for commuters and recreationalists of all stripes: college students, business professionals, families and others who desire access to Omaha's many universities, parks and business districts. The paved pathway follows the Papillion Creek corridor for 15 miles through the western neighborhoods of the city.
Start your trip from the northern trailhead in Democracy Park and head south into town. For the majority of the trip, you are atop the flood control levees of Little Papillion Creek, occasionally crossing back and forth over the water on bridges along the way. The concrete-surfaced corridor runs wide and, especially in the more park-like northern section and in the agricultural expanses of the south, grasshoppers will leap along beside you.
While the trail only runs on an actual rail bed for 2.3 miles, the railroad's influence can't be missed. Just before Mile 1 is a high railroad bridge that the trail passes under through a sheltered awning. If train cars are stopped on the tracks, the effect is a powerful reminder of the area's industrial past. Before Mile 6 at Heritage Park, a wooden trestle rests across the riverbank to the east. Pilings can also be spotted along the trail, usually near creek-crossings.
At Karen Park, just south of I-80, you can hop on the South Omaha Trail, which heads east and connects to the Field Club Trail.
A portion of the Keystone Trail runs through an industrial park area; however, the automobile traffic isn't a problem for trail users. The only time the trail isn't a flat gentle ride is when it dips beneath the roads on underpasses. You can either access the road or avoid traffic altogether. Signs ask cyclists to be alert for on-coming trail traffic.
As you leave the commercial district, the trail enters several neighborhoods and parks where Little Papillion Creek flows into Big Papillion Creek. Here, the landscape opens up to reveal the vast, square tracts of farmland for which the Cornhusker State is known.
At Seymour Smith Park, the Keystone Trail meets the Big Papio Trail, which takes off along a different route. Near Mile 13, you can access the spur for the West Papio Trail to the west or continue south on the Bellevue Loop Trail, which is generally considered an extension of the Keystone Trail. Together, the Keystone and Bellevue trails provide 30 miles of uninterrupted riding.
To reach the trailhead at Democracy Park, take Interstate 80 to Interstate 680 North. Exit onto Fort Street and head east. Democracy Park is on the right at the corner of Templeton Drive and Fort Street.
To reach the southern trailhead at Haworth Park, travel south on Highway 75, then turn east on Highway 370. Take a left onto Payne Drive to reach Haworth Park.
I recommend going on a weekday because the trail is pretty crowded friday-sunday. Enjoyable ride away from traffic, but nothing special.
Being from North Carolina, I don't see concrete bike trails as nice as this. What a delightful experience to ride on quality concrete, a wide path and beautiful scenery. Some of the underpasses have a steep uphill, but other than that the ride is level and very smooth. I enjoyed the view of parks, golf courses and occasional dairy farms as I biked north from the Culvers restaurant where I parked. This is a great investment for the people of Omaha and I hope they appreciate what a great thing they have here.
The trail is smooth, unless it has rained a lot, some parts of the trail gets covered up with mud. Few inclines on this trail, so its a great trail for beginning riders. My favorite part is riding south into Bellevue and looping around Offutt AFB watching the Doomsday plane fly over. Lots of farm fields and beautiful natural Nebraska to enjoy along the way too!
Enjoyed this trail for the first time today and was amazed by the maintenance and upkeep. I'll be enjoying this ride several times a week to and from work. Proud to have this available here.
This is as good as it gets as far as an urban trail goes. This runs through some of the busiest areas on the west side of Omaha, primarily north/sout, but you never know it on the trail, which goes under the road traffic. Completely paved and well maintained, you'll move faster than the traffic on 72nd!
I'm new to Omaha, I'm very impress with the Keystone trail, I came from Knoxville TN where we don't have such a nice trail. But I have some suggestions how to improve the experience of riding this trail.
The Marks on the trail is marks in KM instead of milages. Those marks are kind of small and on the trail concrete and not consistence. Many marks are missing. I suggest to set new marks on small pole or brick with color on the side of the trail and every 1/10 of a mile. Also the name of many street on underpasses are missing as well. Many of us ride on time and distance and improving the marks system will add very much to our riding experience.
I ride this trail a lot with my road bike. It's a very smooth ride, with very few inclines. Any uneven spots are clearly marked with pain so you can avoid them. Every intersection has an underpass so you won't have to cross any roads. The parking lot I usually use is in Bellevue when the trail starts. It's a 'calming' trail for me, mostly surrounded by nature but passing some busy spots like Nebraska Furniture Mart, a golf course, some ball fields, etc. All in all my favorite trail by far.
"The Keystone Trail is a very well maintained paved trail in the heart of Omaha. It weaves through residential and commercial areas. The trail goes underneath major roads which makes it a very safe trail. My only complaints is that the trail could be slightly wider and it would be nice to have more facilities right on the trail. But, a very enjoyable ride. For dining, the Marketplace downtown by the river has some very nice restaurants."
"The Keystone Trail is a great city trail!!! It runs from just east of 90th and Fort Streets (Democracy Park) to Highway 75, where it joins the Bellevue Loop Trail. This trail goes around Offutt Airbase and the water treatment plant to Hayworth Park. The Keystone also connects with the Big Papio Trail at Seymour Smith Park. The Big Papio starts just west of 90th and Center, Towl Park, and goes southeast to Seymour Smith Park. The Big Papio will soon be extended nothwest to 120th and Blondo. With these three trails, you can ride 40, 50, 60 or even 70 miles without messing around with traffic. "
"Omaha has a outstanding jogging trail system, all paved and wide, no street crossings, you can run your legs off. The only drawback is the long cold winters of the city."
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