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Nebraska's Oak Creek Trail, occupying a former Union Pacific Railroad corridor in the eastern part of the state, offers a truly rural experience. While the trail is only about an hour from both Omaha and Lincoln (Nebraska's two largest cities), it connects two towns with populations of less than 600 with little development in between.
The rural environment of the Oak Creek Trail makes for beautiful scenery. Begin your journey at the trail's northern endpoint in Brainard. Outside of the town, the trail follows the top of a picturesque ridge. For the next several miles, natural prairie stretches as far as the eye can see.
Just north of the trail's midpoint, trail users enter the tiny community of Loma. Restrooms are located just off the trail near St. Luke's Czech Catholic Shrine—established by Czech immigrants in 1911—in the center of town.
The rest of the route continues through natural prairie, open farmland and oak woodlands until the trail reaches its endpoint at the trailhead in the town of Valparaiso. Support local businesses at the end of your ride or run, and stop in for a bite to eat at one of the town's restaurants.
Horse trailer parking can be found at Valparaiso's trailhead; an equestrian trail runs adjacent to the Oak Creek Trail for its entire route.
Parking for the Oak Creek Trail can be found at the trailhead in Valparaiso at the intersection of State Route 79 and W. 3rd Street. In Loma, park at the lot off County Road W in the center of town. At the trail's northern endpoint in Brainard, a small parking lot can be found at the intersection of County Road 30 and S. Lincoln Street.
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