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Just Curious
Sammich from Loveland, CO/ Kearney,Ne on 05/03/2021 05:03 PM
Does anyone know of someone who has walked the entire trail yet? I am planning on walking from Norfolk to Valentine and back starting next week. Just curious.

JL on 05/03/2021 06:21 PM
Yes—if you google it some newspaper articles about it come up.

Bigtone from Coleridge on 05/06/2021 09:13 PM
Are you documenting your trip?

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Closest Amtrak station?
Angie from Vancouver WA on 05/01/2021 11:54 AM
Anyone know, what is closest Amtrak station?

Alex from Lincoln on 05/03/2021 08:35 AM
Lincoln, NE is about as close as you'd get to Norfolk, NE via Amtrak.

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Horse riding
Cris A Rodriguez from Nevada on 04/15/2021 05:43 PM
I am planning to ride from missouri to mt rushmore. Planning on using cowboy trail for part of trip. Any suggestions from folks who have ridden trail by horseback?

Marna from Belle Fourche on 04/15/2021 07:30 PM
Where are you starting from in MO?

Donna Rodriguez from Nevada, Mo on 05/01/2021 11:17 PM
Leaving from Nevada, Mo

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Getting on trail in Valentine
Nikki from Omaha, NE on 04/26/2021 11:29 AM
Planning our first trip to Valentine, planning on staying at the Econolodge and wanted to leave our car at the motel and jump on the trail somewhere nearby - hard to tell from Maps where would be the easiest place? Any recommendations?

Alex from Lincoln on 04/27/2021 08:17 AM
The trailhead in Valentine is right down the road from there. I would recommend starting there. Enjoy the trip!

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Cowboy trail in May:
Urban Trekker from Sparks Nv on 04/26/2021 06:02 PM
What are the average temps and wind direction mid May. Also are the shuttles between Valentine and Norfolk running.

Alex from Lincoln on 04/27/2021 08:15 AM
Mid 70's to mid 80's. But it can vary widely both directions day to day. Prevailing winds tend to hold up so West to East but it can certainly go both ways as well! Ha. Yes there is North Fork Outfitting in Norfolk. You will have to give Tony a call- (402) 316-0157

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Spring Valley Park in Newport
Martin Bassani from Louisville, CO on 04/19/2021 01:58 PM
Has anyone camped here? I could not find any information anywhere which shows it is OK.

Alex from Lincoln on 04/21/2021 08:58 AM
Have not camped there before. I have camped at the park in town next to the little shelter they have.

Cynthya B from Lewis, Kansas on 04/21/2021 09:43 AM
There is a small pool hall... The Eight Ball (I think) . Snacks and memorabilia. The camping may only be a small city park. Facilities??? There is nice camping in next town east, Stuart. It has been four years since we rode the trail.

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Horse riding
Cris A Rodriguez from Nevada on 04/15/2021 05:43 PM
I am planning to ride from missouri to mt rushmore. Planning on using cowboy trail for part of trip. Any suggestions from folks who have ridden trail by horseback?

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Horse riding
Cris A Rodriguez from Nevada on 04/15/2021 05:43 PM
I am planning to ride from missouri to mt rushmore. Planning on using cowboy trail for part of trip. Any suggestions from folks who have ridden trail by horseback?

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Overnight Parking in Valentine
dwengs on 04/12/2021 07:35 PM
Hey Everyone -
We are planning to do the Cowboy Trail, starting in Valentine. Is there anywhere to park our car while we are out on the trail? Thanks for any help with this.

Alex from Lincoln on 04/13/2021 09:10 AM
There is a parking lot by the trailhead in Valentine. Additionally I have left a vehicle at the city park on the north edge of town where I camped. There's a good sized hill to climb to get out of the park though.

dwengs on 04/14/2021 08:37 AM
Thank you, we would be leaving our car there for several nights, so not sure the trailhead would be a safe place. Any other suggestions? Thanks again.

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Trail Open
Jen on 04/06/2021 12:47 PM
I am getting back to running and need to map a 6.2 mile trek. I was going to head south out of Neligh on the Cowboy Trail, but recall awhile back there was a sign that the trail was closed just ahead of the golf course. Does anyone know this to still be the case, or could I run that way and back with no issues? Looking to go Neligh to Oakdale at best.

Thank you.

Alex from Lincoln on 04/13/2021 09:14 AM
The bridge over the elkhorn river is still out between Neligh and Oakdale.

See the online map for details.

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Ta-Ha-Zouka Park in Norfolk
Arthur L. "Sam" Foley from Glenwood, Iiwa on 04/10/2021 06:39 PM
A couple of friends of mine, and myself; are planning a trip/Odysee along the "Cowboy Trail" in early May of '21. - and was wondering about possible road construction along the trace? True this might seem last minute, but any help would be helpful? We are intent on starting in Norfork, and then head Wesy.
Until the next . . . .
Art Foley *KB)UWR)

Alex from Lincoln on 04/13/2021 09:13 AM
Not sure about road construction near the trail. You would have to look at NDOT's website to find out. There are some sections of trail that are still damaged from the flood and are marked on the online trail map.

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Gravel bike or mountain bike?
Justin from Elkhorn, NE on 03/29/2021 06:40 PM
Hi all! I just learned of the Cowboy Trail and am excited to check it out sometime soon. With regards to the surface, is it ridable with a gravel bike or is it rougher and more appropriate to ride a mountain bike?

Alex from Lincoln on 04/06/2021 08:55 AM
A gravel bike would be great. I recommend running a wider tire though and at a lower psi to make the ride more supple. The trail can have some rougher areas but it pretty smooth in most places.

Justin from Elkhorn, NE on 04/06/2021 02:39 PM
Thank you Alex! I can't wait to get out there and ride it!

Neil from Kearney/Plainview on 04/10/2021 07:46 AM
I road from Neligh to Norfolk July 2020. Most areas have well packed gravel that either bike would be fine. Their are a couple of spots with fresh gravel. In those places wider MTB tires would be beneficial.

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Panda Transportation in Valentine
De and Di on 03/28/2021 06:22 PM
Has anyone recently used Panda Transportation from Valentine to Norfolk?

Alex from Lincoln on 04/06/2021 09:00 AM
I haven't but the guy that did this writeup on is Cowboy Trail trip claims he did -

There is also North Fork Outfitting in Norfolk that does shuttle service for the trail.

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Mark Bauman from Millville, PA on 03/18/2021 10:00 AM
Looking to ride across Nebraska and include the full length of the Cowboy Trail. A couple questions:

1. Better to ride West to East? Or East to West? For context, this would likely be in June.

2. I know the CT doesn't go across the entire state, so is there a road(s) that's best to ride on after the trails ends on both the West and East sides?

Thanks in advance for any help.

Jess from Omaha on 03/25/2021 02:07 PM

I would ride the shoulder on HWY 20 going westbound from Valentine, I believe there are some small segments completed around Chadron you may want to jump back on to check out.

Going east from Norfolk you could take some small county roads to Stanton and then to Beemer (use google maps). Then after that the paved roads are pretty few and far between and pretty busy.

I would maybe have your phone charged up and do some gravel riding.. It also depends on what your terminus is on the east side.

Good Luck

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Cowboy Trail
Gina from Webster City on 03/14/2021 07:04 AM
Hello, Is the Cowboy Trail paved or gravel? And can you tell me in what town have a camp ground close to the trail.

Ray (webmaster) on 03/15/2021 07:45 PM
Gina a short part of the eastern end of the trail in Norfolk is paved, but the vast majority of the trail is very small gravel.

As you can see in this map:
... there are long sections of the trail that run parallel to a highway. Some riders switch to highway shoulder for part of their ride for faster/smoother travel. But of course that's only for people who are comfortable riding on a highway shoulder.

As for camping, here is a trip planner showing all the camping locations that we know of along the trail:|4|

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Favorite segment of Segment of Cowboy trail
DrGus78 from Atlanta, Ga on 03/05/2021 07:19 PM
My buddy and I are returning home in late August via Nebraska and are planning a full day to do part of the Cowboy Trail. We would like to pick out a 60-70 mile segment and cover that in an out and back. Since neither of us have been there any recommendations on favorite parts of the trail, places to see, lodging and places to eat would be appreciated.



Alex from Lincoln on 03/08/2021 08:40 AM
The trail between Valentine and Long Pine is typically considered the most scenic. Valentine to Johnstown and back would be about 72 miles. There's a fun bar in Johnstown called L-Bow-Room to have lunch at. There's lots of great things to do in Valentine as well like tubing/canoeing down the Niobrara.

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Wind direction in September/October?
Isaac Terwilleger from LINCOLN, NE on 02/23/2021 11:40 PM
Thinking of riding the trail in early October. Based on the wind during that time, is there advice on which direction to ride?

opedaler on 02/24/2021 10:43 PM
Since you live in Nebraska you are aware of the prevailing westerlies. They aren't a given though, and sometimes an eastern wind can be brutal. If you aren't tied into a specific time slot, it might be wise to get a 6-10 day forecast and go from there. Having said that, there are other reasons for going from west to east....namely elevation. Although you won't be fighting hills, there is a significant drop from Valentine to Norfolk. West to east is the direction my wife and I plan on going when we go.

Alex from Lincoln on 02/25/2021 10:06 AM
In addition to what was said above - West to East if you have someone that can drop you off in Valentine and leave you a car in Norfolk. It's nice only having a 2 hour drive home vs a 5 hour drive after a trip on the Cowboy Trail.

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North Fork Outfitting in Norfolk
Ed Marino from Eaton, CO on 01/09/2021 09:42 PM
Its January 2021 and I just saw your postings on the 2020 group ride from Valentine to Norfolk. How did it go? Doing it again in 2021? How can I track that next ride? Would love to join up. Thanks!

opedaler on 02/24/2021 10:49 PM
I don't think they went. We signed up, but did not receive further notifications. It's still on our bucket list however. I really hope they include a canoeing trip at Valentine. We haven't done that for years but it is a very good, relaxing time. Probably nothing until the pandemic is over is my guess.

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Best Time of Year to Complete the Cowboy Trail
The Parking Lot People from Bryson City, NC on 02/21/2021 08:43 PM
We are planning to ride the Cowboy Trail this year and are wondering what month would be best time to ride.

Alex from Lincoln on 02/22/2021 08:23 AM
The cowboy trail can be a great experience any time of the year but each season has their pros and cons. Planning for the weather you may experience is the key to having a good experience on the trail IMO. Nebraska's forecasted weather can vary greatly day to day at any time of the year.

Spring - higher potential for rain, but temps are generally pleasant.

Summer - can be windy, can get very hot/humid.

Fall - can get unpredictably cold overnight, rain, hail, snow possible.

Generally I enjoy spring and early fall the most but it helps being local to plan around the weather. If I were to pick, I think the best two months to try and hit the trail are May and September.

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Invite to Join in Pedaling the Trail next early July
Rickonabike from Brooklyn, NYC on 11/24/2020 04:10 PM
Anyone want to join a bunch of folks pedaling the Trail early July (July 5, 6 and part of the 7th) 2021?
I am with a non-profit bicycle touring club (People Cycling) and a group of us (24) are going cross country next year from Seattle to NYC.
On July 4 we go from White River, SD to Valentine so we can pedal the Cowboy Trail.
The fifth of July we pedal from Valentine to Ainsworth (short day, but our overall average is 62~) then on July 6th we continue to O'Neill. Then the next day we will only be on the Trail for about 30-40 miles, because we depart south towards Albion (probably after Clearwater or Neligh).
Anyone who wants to pedal along with us for any of what I mention above let me know. We are using indoor lodging and have a luggage truck (no SAG). And we ALWAYS have an evening happy hour (as long as you are nice we will give you a free beer!).
Regards, Rick of Bicycle Habitat, NYC

RobinG from Lincoln, Nebraska on 11/29/2020 07:27 PM
Myself and friends would be interested in riding with you on July 7.

Norfolk Area Visitors Bureau from Norfolk,NE on 01/07/2021 03:08 PM
Please contact us to help plan this trip! Visit or call 402-371-2932. We'd love to help.

MP from Hillsboro, OR on 02/17/2021 06:18 PM
I'm planning a similar solo trip about that time. When do you plan to leave Seattle? I'm trying to ride as many rail trails as I can manage going across the country. It would be fun to ride with you for a bit.

Robert Rose from Grapevine, TX on 02/18/2021 04:47 PM
I'm riding Seattle to DC (June thru Aug 2021). Looks like your group will be about a 2 weeks ahead of me as I anticipate riding thru Valentine on 7/19. Enjoy the ride!!

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S. Colvin from Ruston, LA on 01/06/2021 11:28 PM
Does anyone know where the detours are that require riding on a highway?

Norfolk Area Visitors Bureau from Norfolk, NE on 01/07/2021 03:01 PM

The Norfolk Area Visitors Bureau can help you plan your trip! Visit our website at or email for more information!

Neil from Kearney/Plainview on 02/01/2021 05:39 PM
The detours are around Neligh. I road from Neligh to Norfolk last July. You can ride a couple of miles from Neligh before being moved to the road because a couple of bridges are out. You return to the trail at the eduge of Oakdale. I know thier is another bridge out by Clearwater but I didn't ride that section.

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travel to valentine ne
Anonymous on 11/25/2020 09:37 AM
Are there any bus routes or shuttles to Valentine nebraska

Pepper from Grant NE on 12/10/2020 08:44 AM
Yes, I believe there Is a shuttle that runs from Norfolk to Valentine. Sorry, I don’t have details. ?? The Cowboy Trail!

Neil from Kearney/Plainview on 01/18/2021 12:35 PM
Thier is a place out of Norfolk NE that does shuttles. here is their website. I have never used them but have had friends who used them for a float trip.

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Maps to order?
Ruth from Westminster Colorado on 11/01/2020 12:36 PM
We are thinking to explore our neighboring state and would like to come ride the Cowboy Trail in Spring of 2021. It looks beautiful!

We have road bikes and need to be on pavement or hard compacted surface for most of ride. We go at mid leisure pace and average 30-50 miles per day. Is there a hard copy map we can order? Any suggestions for routes and schedules?

Cynthya from Lewis,KS on 11/01/2020 01:05 PM
We rode The Cowboy Trail in 2017 on Ranz recumbents with 1 1/2 tires. The only time we got off trail was for a detour near Clearwater and a short strip by coop at Ainsworth. A local said bad stickers there.

I'm not sure if there are maps.. other than what you can see when you look up The Cowboy Trail online. After the fact, I ordered a book, The Cowboy Trail off Amazon. It has some information and trail...but it is not recent...I liked it...I'm a book hound

It is a good ride from our perspective...they have had flood damage again since we rode, so there might be that to contend with.

Paul from North Platte on 11/24/2020 07:42 AM
I plan to ride the trail in 2021 as well. I'm making my own map using a Delorme Nebraska Detailed Topographic Map. Then add the symbols of what's available in the towns I'm interested in for refueling and camping purposes. You can find the symbols for each town on the route planner. Hope this helps!

sschnitker from Council Bluffs, IA on 12/02/2020 09:12 AM
Here's a link to Chuck Haney's article in October's Adventure Cyclist mag on a Valentine Loop ride. It's a combination of road and trail riding that might suit your needs.

Norfolk Area Visitors Bureau from Norfolk,NE on 01/07/2021 03:02 PM
We can provide you with more information and help plan your trip! The Trailhead is located in Norfolk. Visit for more information.

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