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Share your comments, questions, opinions, and advice on the Cowboy Trail.
 
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Shuttle

 - 
Greg from Michigan on 10/23/2018 7:05:08 PM
Two of us are looking at riding the Cowboy Trail in May (probably west to east), would like to leave car at one end and shuttle to the other end. Looking for others to share shuttle, reducing the per person cost. We are somewhat flexible on dates.

 
Greg from Bellevue on 1/9/2019 9:44:45 AM
We are looking for something similar as well. We were planning on mid to late June and going from East to West and then maybe catching a float down the river in valentine. I am trying to find a shuttle service that would haul us back to Norfolk. If anyone knows of such a service, I would be very interested. .

 
Anonymous from Norfolk, NE on 1/21/2019 1:33:26 PM
North Fork Outfitters in Norfolk, NE has a shuttle service available. Information available at their website: nforkoutfitting.com


East City Park in Ainsworth

 - 
Saddle Sore from Kittredge, CO on 1/5/2019 9:11:37 AM
Any information regarding open season, fees, reservations needed, amenities would be helpful.

 
Alex from Lincoln on 1/14/2019 9:45:09 AM
Greetings! The trail is technically open year round from Valentine to Norfolk. There is no snow removal on it so if you plan on riding in the winter prepare for that. There is no user fee for the trail and most towns have a campsite you can stay at for free or small fee. There are lodging options as well along the trail depending on the towns you choose to overnight in. Food and water is available in most of the towns as well. When are you thinking about riding?


ADULT

 - 
Biker4 from PAPILLION, NEBRASKA on 1/8/2019 5:39:22 PM
From reading some of the comments it looks like the state of Nebraska still has a problem in maintaining the trail west of O'Neal.
It is too bad they do not do more to fix this issue. We would have a boom in cycling and more business to the smaller towns.


Summer Riding with kods

 - 
Maria andersson from Stockholm sweden on 11/19/2018 1:34:22 PM
We’e planning a crossUS trip by train and bike for the summernof 2019. Wed like to inkludera Therese cowboy trail in tjis trio. Is it possible to rent bikes and what’s it like ti tyske the trio during juli? We’re radonet tourtiders. Two adults and a 13yr DN a 7yr old

 
Cynthya from Salina on 11/19/2018 2:41:36 PM
We rode in August 2017. We had heat at time and one day of rain. July will be warm. Hopefully someone will tell about their experience in July. Kids should do fine. Unless things have changed there will be some weeds, stickers and rough spots, but manageable. We did not experience flats. There are some bicycle shops in Norfolk...hopefully one of them will respond. We enjoyed the ride and challenges that came along. I wish you a good ride.

 
John M Hoover from Avon, Indiana on 1/6/2019 9:04:13 AM
Ms. Andersson;
You need to be careful riding the Cowboy Trail in July. The temperatures can reach 34 - 37 centigrade. In this section of the USA there are few trees. It is a very sunny. The combination of high temperatures, sunny skies and no shade can cause heat exhaustion, dehydration and a very challenging experience. Have you considered a route that goes across the USA on the northern portion? Amtrak has a route that begins in Chicago and ends in Seattle. You can purchase a ticket that allows you to stopover at any station. Lycka till.


Road vs Mt

 - 
Tommyt from Spokane on 1/4/2019 3:51:25 PM
Is the trail suitable for pure road bike or better with a cross-over or Mt bike...what is the surface like....thanks!

 
Dougt from Onawa, Ia on 1/4/2019 8:52:31 PM
Well, you can do anything if you're motivated enough, but I'd say that it would be pretty tough on the western portion of the trail. It gets rougher from O'Neill west, gravel is thicker, tracks from ATV's make it rough and vegetation on the trail. I'm a road biker but would recommend a gravel or mtn bike for this. I rode from Norfolk/Valentine and back last Sept and posted a review in Oct. You might find some helpful information if you read it.


Walking the Cowboy Trail

 - 
Anonymous on 12/31/2018 7:22:17 PM
I would like to know how many folks have walked the entire trail and what services are available along the trail. Can a person camp along the trail? How many miles is it between services such as camping, water and food? What about personal safety along the trail. Have there been any incidents, and if so, what kind? Do bikers use bells to alert walkers when they come up behind?

 
Don from Kansas on 12/31/2018 8:02:10 PM
I too have been considering the Cowboy trail - Hikiby also, following for interested providers/users.

 
J.L. from Lincoln on 12/31/2018 9:04:06 PM
I posted about my partial walk on 5/31/18. I am a female and walked alone. Never felt any threat or danger. However, I never camped and ended up staying at motels and the bunkhouse. If my feet could have continued I would of had to start camping due to cost and some towns don’t have the hotel option. I would advise calling ahead to make sure restaurants and services are available before going. In the time I was on the trail I never encountered another walker and only two bikers who I saw coming from a long way out.

 
Alex from Lincoln on 1/2/2019 1:41:42 PM
Greetings! Thanks for your questions.

Can a person camp along the trail? Camping is not allowed on the trail right of way. Most of the towns are 8-10 miles a part and offer places to camp in their city parks usually for free or sometimes for a small campsite fee.

How many miles is it between services such as camping, water and food? Most of the towns have all these services. Some of the smaller ones don't have grocery stores though. I have been able to find access to water in every town along the trail. Most restaurants or bars are happy to refill water bottles for you. Google maps is your friend!

Have there been any incidents, and if so, what kind? Do bikers use bells to alert walkers when they come up behind?

None that I've heard about. Every person I've met when riding the trail has been wonderful. This is one of my favorite things about the trail and as JL said - you won't come across other users very often :)

Hope you make the trip!


Transportation

 - 
Greg from Bellevue Ne on 12/29/2018 8:33:54 PM
I was wondering if there is a transportation service that would drive us from Valentine back to the Bellevue area. Looking at options to do a self supported ride on the cowboy leaving from Norfolk and heading to Valentine

 
JOHN V. from PAPILLION, NEBRASKA on 12/30/2018 8:34:02 AM
When do you plan on riding and how many in your group?

 
Greg from Bellevue on 12/30/2018 10:08:25 AM
We are thinking late June or mid July and there would be 5 people in our group. We would leave from Norfolk and bike to valentine. Maybe tube and then would need a ride from valentine to Bellevue.


Multi-night Parking in Valentine?

 - 
Kevin R from Twin Cities on 9/27/2018 5:20:36 PM
I've scrolled through many pages of the comment forum here but haven't seen anyone (yet) post anything regarding parking options for multiple nights in Valentine. Anyone out there have suggestions?

 
Alex from Lincoln on 10/4/2018 8:39:04 AM
Greetings! I have always parked at the city park on the North side of Valentine. It's a great place to camp as well if you are arriving the night before and leaving the next morning. Just a $5 camp site fee and plenty to choose from near a nice creek and a short trail system.

https://goo.gl/maps/PVbAH387cwT2

 
Joel S. from Springfield, MO on 12/13/2018 3:17:49 AM
I agree, the city park was a great place to rest when I rode the trail in October 2017.

 
Cynthya from Salina on 12/13/2018 9:30:45 AM
We also overnighted in Valentine City Park when we rode The Cowboy Trail in August of 2017. It had bathrooms, which I believe, include showers. Nice, quite place, with plenty of parking the time we were there. If you ride to the Trail Head from there, you will have a steep hill to climb out. The Trail head park would be nice, but I don't know if it is overnight? Would not be a quiet as City Park.


North Fork Outfitting in Norfolk

 - 
Dale Coon from GLENDALE HEIGHTS on 12/3/2018 12:52:30 PM
Do you shuttle bikes and people to Valentine to ride east on the trail. Are there services for shuttling baggage from town to town?


Website updates

 - 
Ray (webmaster) on 11/6/2018 9:53:00 PM
Welcome to the updated BikeCowboyTrail website!

If you've been here in the past, you may notice that the website looks different. It actually still has all the same information, forum discussions, and trip-planning tools as before... but now it features:

- An updated look (the site's design had been pretty much unchanged for nearly ten years!)

- Better maps - more fully using the features available in Google Maps

- "Responsive design", which is a web designer's way of saying the website should look good and work well in all different sizes of screens, from a desktop PC down to a cell phone

- A more interactive experience, with the website using cookies to remember the selections you've made and customize

- Improvements and added features to the tools such as the Trip Planner and Interactive map

I developed this new format on the Erie Canal site that I also run, bikeErieCanal.com. After lots of testing, tweaking, and improving, the new format is ready to apply to the Cowboy Trail site.

Your feedback is welcome and appreciated - please send any comments to contact@bikecowboytrail.com

Thanks and happy trails!


 
Alex from Lincoln on 11/7/2018 9:54:03 AM
Great updates Ray!


Bicycling To Prosperity In Small Town Nebraska

 - 
Ray (webmaster) on 10/22/2018 6:05:15 AM
Nebraska’s small, rural communities can bicycle their way to prosperity.

That was the message at a Nebraska Tourism conference breakout, where the Cowboy Trail from Norfolk to Valentine and “gravel grinding” routes around Lincoln were visioned at the intersection of biking and tourism.

Ginny Sullivan of Adventure Cycling said bicycle tourism is a real industry.
...
Full Article: http://sandhillsexpress.com/featured-news/bicycling-to-prosperity-in-small-town-nebraska/

Source: Sandhills Express, 10/18/2018

 
Alex from Lincoln on 10/30/2018 11:27:01 AM
It was a great session! She made a great case that Nebraska has a lot of potential to develop their bicycle tourism industry.

 
Cynthya from Salina on 10/30/2018 12:55:42 PM
We were not able to attend, but excited to see the post. Hopefully folks will come on board. We rode The Cowboy Trail from one end to the other and back in 2017. We stayed true to the trail except for the detour and a very short piece in front of coop at Ainsworth. They have a gem they need to develop.

 
BIKER4 from PAPILLION on 10/30/2018 3:05:27 PM
NEBRASKA WILL NEVER BECOME A COMPETATOR TO THE KATY TRAIL OR THE MICKELSON TRAIL UNTIL NEBRASKA TAKES A STAND AGAINST RANCHERS AND FOUR WEELERS THAT HAVE BEEN TEARING UP THE TRAIL FOR YEARS AND MAKING IT UNSAFE TO HIT THESE AREAS ON BICYCLES. I HAVE SENT SEVERAL MESSAGES AND SHORTCUTS TO OTHER TRAIL WEBSITES TO SHOW THE NEBRASKA GAMES AND PARKS WHERE THEY FALL SHORT OF PROTECTING THE TRAIL. FOR ALL MY EFFORTS TO DATE I HAVE GOTTEN ONLY ONE REPLY TELLING ME THAT I WAS WRONG ABOUT THE TRAIL CONDITIONS. IT IS EVEN HARD TO FIND INFO ON THEIR WEBSITE ABOUT BICYCLING THE COWBOY TRAIL. WE NEED A BETTER VOICE IN NEBRASKA ABOUT CYCLING.

 
Alex from Lincoln on 11/1/2018 9:23:45 AM
If you ever see damage of any kind on the trail please note the GPS coordinates and take pictures (if possible) of the damage and send them to me at alexander.duryea@nebraska.gov so I can address the damage. This will ensure the best turnaround time in fixing the damage as we will know exactly where it is and what we will need. Feel free to give me a call anytime at 402-471-5443. This website is a great resource, as are the forums here but for anyone looking for a brief overview on the trail check out www.outdoornebraska.gov/cowboytrail.

 
BIKER4 from PAPILLION on 11/1/2018 10:33:55 AM
Alex, Glad o see someone from the Game and Parks Department monitoring the forum. I have ridden all kinds of trails throughout the US and I was very pleased with the trails I have ridden except for two. The Steamboat Trace is one and needs a lot of work since I rode it last spring. I will ride the Cowboy Trail next spring and report any damage to the trail to you but I feel a lot of the damage is caused in the late fall from harvesting crops. I will try and work with you more in the future to promote the Cowboy Trail for Nebraska. At 68 I do not ride for long distances as well as I used to but I will keep Cycling as long as I am able.

 
dougt from Onawa, Ia on 11/1/2018 12:04:32 PM
It's good to have an email address and contact # for information Alex. If I do this again next year I'll see if you respond. I had no luck at all this year before my trip when I was trying to get status on trail conditions but I didn't have your information. As I stated in my post, it was a great adventure!


Norfolk to Valentine and back

 - 
Dougt from Onawa, Ia on 10/22/2018 11:31:51 AM
I rode Norfolk to Valentine and back on Sept 16-21. Weather ranged from 90's the first 2 days to misty and progressively cooler after that. Last day was in the 50's, which surprised me for Sept. Trail conditions varied from nicely packed on the eastern side to rougher as I got past O'Neill and started getting closer to Valentine. If anyone has any illusions about no motorized vehicles ever using the trail they'll be disappointed because there will be tire tracks, cow tracks and manure in various places out west. That said, I expected an adventure and that's what I got. Not a sterile paved bike path running through a residential neighborhood. I left my truck at the trailhead in Norfolk and it was fine for 6 days. Stayed in O'Neill, Long Pine, and Valentine. Long Pine has The Bunkhouse which consists of a small sleeping room with shared bath and a day room with tv and kitchen. Not a 5 star hotel by any means but cheap and fairly clean. There is a bar in town with the smallest grilled chicken sandwich that I've ever seen(so maybe order something else) and a grocery store. Beautiful bridge right outside of town. You'll want to refill water bottles every chance you have if it's hot because as you venture west there don't seem to be services in some of the towns. My only real problem was that I carried all of my gear in a 35# backpack. That seems like nothing, but I wore the skin off under one of my sit bones on the first 80 mile day and for the next 5 days had to get out of the saddle every 30-60 peddle strokes to ease the pain,so I wouldn't recommend a backpack. That which doesn't kill us makes us stronger, right?? All in all a great adventure and I might do it again next year.

 
dougt from Onawa, Ia on 10/22/2018 11:39:42 AM
I forgot to mention that I'd read about thorns and put heavy tires and liners on my Mtn bike, but never saw any goats head thorns and only picked up some cockleburs in about 2 places, which weren't going to bother those tires.

The detour for the bridge out was well marked and is only for a couple of miles on the highway. That highway has an awesome wide shoulder with rumbles separating the traffic from the shoulder and even at that people were moving to the opposite lane for me. I'm normally a road rider and have never encountered great riding like that.

 
Cynthya from Salina on 10/22/2018 1:26:17 PM
Doug, Thanks for sharing about your ride. Enjoyed hearing about your experience. Sounds much like or experience, though we rode August 2017. Days were warm, got caught in heavy rain at Inman. Even though there are some though spots it is a GREAT ride. People need to get out and ride. I would like to ride again. Maybe we will try again next year.

 
Alex from Lincoln on 10/30/2018 11:20:25 AM
Thanks for sharing your trip! Great tips for future CBT visitors.

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