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Bicycling in Nebraska -
The Cornhusker State
... on the The Cowboy Trail
What a trail!
When finished, this hiking, biking and equestrian trail
will stretch 321 miles across Nebraska from Norfolk to
Chadron. The trail
parallels Highway 275 from Norfolk to Valentine,
Highway 20 from Valentine to Chadron.
We had planned to begin at Norfolk, but that end of the
trail is a drop-off in a corn field. We were told that
a land dispute has kept them from finishing it to the
park. So we drove to the next town west,
Battle Creek. There you can park right beside the trail.
The trail is hard-packed sandstone and passes through beautiful
farm land. We enjoy it most when it leaves the view of the
highway, which it does most all the way from Battle Creek to
Norfolk. We enjoyed driving the 186 miles between Norfolk and
Valentine and looking for evidence of the trail. Several
sections were opened, others were being worked on, and it
was easy to spot where it will be in many of the places where no
work is being done. The bridges on the entire trail
(a total of 221) have been
refurbished for foot traffic, complete with wooden decking
and hand rails.
A five-mile section in Valentine features a Trailhead Park,
complete with a windmill and small pond, which is located on the
corner of First and Main streets. The surface of the trail
through the city is paved.
The longest bridge on the Cowboy Trail is on the east end
of this section. It is
1/4 of a mile long and is 170 feet in the air. It is
impressive!! See picture below.
This is a great trail now, and will only improve. If you
go West, don't miss it.