Between two large cities, Lincoln and Omaha, you will find Platte River State Park, and a Trail Loop that is a 6.7 mile heavily used located near South Bend, Nebraska that features a river and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until October. Dogs and horses are also able to use this trail. The elevation gain is 797 feet and the trail is of a loop type design.
The trail is kid friendly and ideal for camping, hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking, nature trips, walking, running, bird watching and is dog friendly. It also offers great forest views and river views throughout the year.
Other popular attractions are the park’s waterfall, spray park and biking trails and two observation towers that allow those who climb to the top a spectacular view of the Platte River Basin.
The Cowboy Trail is a rail trail in northern Nebraska. It is a multi-use recreational trail suitable for bicycling, walking and horseback riding. It occupies an abandoned Chicago and North Western Railway corridor. When complete, the trail will run from Chadron to Norfolk, a length of 321 miles, making it the longest rails-to-trails conversion in the United States. It is Nebraska’s first state recreational trail. The trail runs across the Outback area of Nebraska.
Trailheads are located in Valentine and Norfolk. Completed sections of the trail are crushed limestone. There are 221 bridges on the trail; all bridges have been converted for recreational use. The bridge across the Niobrara River east of Valentine is a quarter-mile long (400 m) and 148 feet (45 m) high; the bridge across Long Pine Creek at Long Pine is 595 feet (181 m) long and 145 feet (44 m) high.
The trail parallels US 20 and US 275 for almost its entire length. A variety of landscapes are found along the trail: the Pine Ridge, the Sandhills, and the valleys of the Niobrara River, Long Pine Creek and the Elkhorn River.