East City Park in Ainsworth -
mwalsh23 from Boulder, CO on 07/18/2019 10:58 AM
Talked to Wendy with the City of Ainsworth. No reservations allowed at the park. It is rarely full. They make every effort to accomodate cyclists even if the sites are all full.
Cowboy Trail closures -
Tandem Touring from Michigan on 06/27/2019 04:02 PM
Husband and I are considering taking the Cowboy Trail in September starting at Valentine and riding to Norfolk. I am reading about closures. Are there closures on this trail? Would the conditions as they are today be too difficult for a tandem bicycle? Is there a shuttle system from Norfolk to Valentine to get our car?Thanks for reading this post and responding.
Alex from Lincoln on 06/28/2019 11:00 AM
Yes there are closures on the trail. See maps.outdoornebraska.gov/trails for current trail closures. Typically to get around the closures you ride on the shoulder of HWY 275/20. For your tandem, I would say it depends on your tire width on the bicycle. A road tandem would have trouble but if you have greater than a 35c/1.5" tire width you'd be alright. The wider, the better when you're on the trail. For a shuttle look up North Fork Outfitting in Norfolk, NE.
Jon Stuthman from norfolk on 07/13/2019 08:37 PM
You can give me a call at 402-316-0157 North Fork Outfitting. I shuttle to Valentine, as well as bike rentals and some gear too...
I have a long trailer so the tandem is no problem.
Prevailing winds? -
Bob White from North Conway NH on 07/12/2019 10:01 AM
I noticed on this sire there's a elevation profile for the trail showing Valentine higher than Norfolk elevation. Does anyone know what the prevailing wind direction is in Nebraska? I know the weather usually flows across the country west to east and wind can blow from any direction, but is the general prevailing wind also west to east??
Alex on 07/12/2019 10:13 AM
Prevailing wind is from west to east. And yes you lose elevation that direction as well. It is a rail bed so the grade is 3-5% usually. But the wind can become your hills :)
Trip planner -
SR on 07/10/2019 10:51 AM
Is there a way to export the Trip Planner results to Excel?
Ray (webmaster) on 07/10/2019 07:03 PM
Unfortunately there is currently not a way to do that, but that is a great idea! I will put that on my "R&D" list.
Thank you for the suggestion and happy trails!
Long Pine -
Keith from Omaha on 07/06/2019 11:01 PM
Is there a safe overnight parking option in Long Pine? Riding from LP to Valentine and need to leave car overnight
Alex from Lincoln on 07/08/2019 10:46 AM
I think you can park at the bunk house/city office overnight. Just give them a call and ask - 402-273-4120. Otherwise if you have a park permit there is Long Pine SRA.
biking from Ainsworth ? which direction is the best -
S&J from Oklahoma on 06/15/2019 09:56 PM
We are planning to bike from Ainsworth on 6/16. Can anyone tell us which direction you would recommend...going east or west? This is probably the only time we will be able to bike this part of the trail. Thanks!
Trail Status Valentine Eastward -
Mrwhiskers from Bartlett TN on 06/04/2019 03:53 PM
Is trail open eastward from Valentine?
Is Norflok to Battle Creek open?
Alex from Lincoln on 06/05/2019 08:19 AM
This map has the most current information on closed segments of the cowboy trail.
johnr from Bellingham, WA on 06/12/2019 11:33 PM
The trail east of Valentine is open-ish. I just rode as much of it as possible last week from Valentine to Battle Creek. In fact, the best part of the trail, in my opinion, was the 15 - 20 miles directly and immediately east of Valentine. Here the trail wanders far from Highway 20, through the sand hills. Peaceful and beautiful. As you travel east pretty much anyplace that the trail crosses the Elkhorn River, the bridge has been washed out and there is no crossing the Elkhorn right now, so one must detour to Highway 20. It's worth it, however, to ride right up to the washout and then turn around because the sight of it is awesome. Much of the Cowboy trail between Valentine and Battle creek in right next to Highway 20 (literally 20 feet from the road) and not all that interesting.
Norfolk Daily News article -
Emily C. on 06/10/2019 04:32 PM
Hi all, I'm a reporter for the Norfolk Daily News and I'm working on an article about the Cowboy Trail. How have your plans been affected by trail closures? What does the Cowboy Trail mean to you? If you'd like to share your thoughts and experiences, feel free to reach out: email@example.com.
Norfolk Daily News
Bill from Vancouver, WA on 06/10/2019 08:08 AM
Got chased by two dogs inbetween Battle Creek and Meadow Grove. One bit me. Reported this to Tilden PD who forwardedto County Sheriff's office.
State map says Cowboy Trail is open between Oakdale and Neligh but it is definitely NOT -
Karl from West Nyack,NY on 05/29/2019 07:06 AM
Riding the trail (and 275/20) the next few days. Yesterday, I found out the hard way that the state map at
is NOT a complete depiction of closures - that map shows the trail as open between Oakdale and a Neligh, but there is a huge washout at the elkhorn river bridge with swirling water in it.
There were “Trail Closed” signs, which I made the mistake of ignoring assuming the map would be up to date.
Dougt from Onawa, Ia. on 05/29/2019 09:51 AM
It's good to hear from someone about current trail conditions and hopefully you'll keep posting about conditions over the whole trail. I'll do it again in Sept and plan on Norfolk to O'Neill for my first day and my last day. It looks like a lot of that will be detoured off of the trail from the map that is posted. Any info is appreciated. Thanks!
Alex from Lincoln on 05/30/2019 03:59 PM
The map has not been updated yet but will be shortly to show Bridge 211, west of Oakdale, being closed. That damage occurred very recently.
Opedaler from Northeast Ne on 05/31/2019 02:09 AM
This poor trail just keeps getting hammered. I don't know what the future holds for the Cowboy trail. I hope it is resilient because from what I can see some major repairs are needed.
Cynthya from Salina on 05/31/2019 07:10 AM
Let's hope the weather lets up and the state of Nebraska goes to bat for the tell. We rode The Trail in 2017 from one end to the other and back. There were rough spots then, but we enjoyed the ride and planned to come back.
John from SD on 05/31/2019 07:12 AM
Yesterday, (May 30th, 2019) I was on the section of the trail from Norfolk to Battle Creek. This section of the trail was open and not damaged. When I arrived to Battle Creek to continue on the trail, there was a large sign posted "Trail Closed Until Further Notice". That's when I turned around and headed back to Norfolk.
Riding through Nebraska -
Dan from Evanston, IL on 05/22/2019 05:38 AM
I was planning on doing the Cowboy Trail mid-June (going from Denver to Lincoln), but I've changed plans due to the flooding and trail closures/uncertainty. Does anyone have any thoughts on doing the Lincoln Highway instead? I would still like to do a Nebraska ride, but I'm not sure about alternatives. Thank you.
Alex from Lincoln on 05/22/2019 08:22 AM
Here is a map for the current Cowboy Trail closures: https://maps.outdoornebraska.gov/Trails/
The trail is passable from Valentine to Norfolk but there are a number of detours needed to get around the closed sections.
If you are in search for some rail trail riding in NE, you can combine the Homestead and Chief Standing Bear Trail for some good mileage from Lincoln to Marysville, KS. It's a nice route with some neat historical stops along the way such as Homestead National Monument.
Or if you have the proper bike setup I'd highly recommend these routes listed on Bikepacking.com.
I have not ridden the Lincoln Highway before but have driven it. The highway traffic in some areas could posed a problem as there is not a shoulder in many sections.
Check out NDOT's bike map with traffic counts to see if you're up for that.
Let me know if you have any more questions!
Biking Brian on 05/30/2019 07:10 AM
If you do end up doing Lincoln Hwy, I rode it back in 2016 across Nebraska up to Scotts Bluff then down to Denver and most of that is nice wide shoulders, easy for biking. I have some videos in this playlist of my ride if you want a better look. Looking forward to riding the Cowboy Trail up through the Black Hills in June this year. Safe Travels!
Clark Martinson from Houston on 05/28/2019 09:02 PM
joining BRAN this weekend and plan on riding Valentine to Atkinson Cowboy trail. Can a carbon fiber bike with 25 cm Continental Gator Slkins work? Or would a Steel touring bike with 32 cm Panasonic Graveling tires be a better choice?
Dougt from Onawa, Ia. on 05/29/2019 09:46 AM
I rode the trail both ways last Sept and would imagine that conditions are worse now after the flood. I'm a road biker but wouldn't even consider a road bike for this trip. I rode a mtn bike with 2 1/2" tires and had no problems, but there were areas that were rough. Look for my posting about trail conditions.
Electric Bike on the Trail -
Tom on 05/25/2019 04:07 PM
I am exploring the possibility of riding an ebike on the trail. The model is a Radpower Radmini, which is a folding multi-purpose trail bike with 20" wheels, 4" knobby fat tires with puncture protection (Kenda K-Shield), and front suspension. I have two questions. The first is - are there any prohibitions against an ebike on the trail (it's a Class 2 bike with throttle capable of a top speed of 20mph)? Second question - I would plan on about 35 miles per battery charge, so I am hoping there are spots along the trail where I can plug in and re-charge the battery (I am trying to avoid the weight and cost of a second battery)? In reading several posts I see where some campsites have electricity and others don't. I would hope the locals along the trail would not have any issues if I had a meal in a cafe while charging up the battery.
And just so this doesn't become a discussion between ebikes v. human-power bikes, I am a senior who has physical issues which make the ebike option one that actually allows me to even consider this trip. Thanks for your understanding.
Tom on 05/25/2019 04:14 PM
One clarification: the ebike has a pedal assist feature, which provides motor assistance at a specified level of power. It's not a question of simply using the available throttle as if it were a moped or scooter. I do intend to pedal the bike at a low power assist, hopefully most times at 3 or below (range is 1-5).
Ewing City Park in Ewing -
Scott Bigler from Boulder, UT on 05/16/2019 06:34 PM
Our first night is planned in Ewing. Is there actually no place to camp? Suggestions, please.
Cynthya from Salina on 05/17/2019 10:05 AM
We camped at an RV park in Ewing. Most of the little towns have some kind of City Psrk and were very accommodating. I would think you could camp at RV park as well. At the time we were there, there were plenty of goat heads.
riding the cowboy triail -
Lori from Berthoud, Colorado on 05/05/2019 10:37 PM
We are planning to bike the trail over Memorial Day weekend, but after reading some of the posts, we are wondering if the trail is open after some flooding? We plan to begin in Valentine and work our way east. Look forward to an update. Thank you.
Lux from Lincoln, Nebraska on 05/15/2019 09:25 AM
Here’s a link to the latest information from the trail manager, Alexander Duryea:
“The cowboy trail will not be entirely open from Valentine to Norfolk for quite some time due to the flood. We are on pace to open Norfolk to Battle Creek, Valentine to Long Pine, and some other sections by May 1st but if we have any further flooding it could delay the opening of those sections. I am working on a map that has open and closed sections that should be posted on www.outdoornebraska.gov/cowboytrail in a week or two. That map will be updated as we are able to repair sections of trail so check back there for updates. You will likely have to find detours around the closed sections. There are several bridges, more on the eastern end, that are out – they will be marked on the map. There are tons of great gravel roads that you can utilize for detours as well as the highway.”
Alex from Lincoln on 05/15/2019 11:55 AM
The map is live here: https://maps.outdoornebraska.gov/Trails/
It has not been added to our cowboy trail web-page yet but should be added soon. The map will be updated as we complete repairs but it probably won't be changing much in the next month. Utilized the highway shoulder or gravel roads if you have an appropriate bike for that to detour around the closed sections. And please stay off closed bridges, there are a few you will have to detour around.
Two Rivers Motel in Ewing -
Cindy Sheets from Perkins, OK on 05/07/2019 01:09 PM
We camped at the Two Rivers Motel one night while riding the Cowboy Trail last summer. The owner, Vonnie, was hands-down the most hospitable person we met during our week-long ride. Despite being booked full, she allowed us to camp in her backyard, and she even provided firewood and use of her firepit. Such a lovely and interesting person! We're so glad we found that place.