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Leaving Omaha this weekend, heading west
 -  + Hi all! I got a wild idea and some unexpected time off from my work (a use it or lose it pto type situation). I’ve wanted to do this for a few years now but I’ve always chickened out. Finally, I’m goi...
Discussion started 06/13/24 1:13:00 PM by Anthony S - 0 replies
Anthony S from Fort Calhoun, Nebraska on 06/13/24 1:13:00 PM
Hi all! I got a wild idea and some unexpected time off from my work (a use it or lose it pto type situation). I’ve wanted to do this for a few years now but I’ve always chickened out. Finally, I’m going to ride the cowboy.

I’ve taken off M-Th next week and will leave Omaha area on Friday afternoon or Saturday morning - probably Saturday morning. I’ve got a ride home from as far west as Chadron. My wife will be in Chadron for a work event but said she’d get me in valentine if I wanted or anywhere along to trail. Just might have to chill there for awhile at worst.

If anyone wants to join me on this crazy adventure, I’d love a partner. Like I said, you’d have a ride home at least.

Reply back if interested and we’ll figure out a way to discuss 1:1.

Cheers,

Anthony


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Leaving Omaha this weekend, heading west
https://bikecowboytrail.com/talk.aspx?tid=11093&tonly=1
Trail Condition Valentine to Woodlake is grrat
 -  + Heard about goatheads/sand burrs and flats. We had a very different experience, trail was cleared of burrs and a few loose sand but nothing bad. We did the 50 mile out and back, had lunch at Ma’s Cafe...
Discussion started 09/15/23 7:05:02 PM by Scott s - 1 reply (last reply by Paul at 06/11/24 7:40:09 PM)
Scott s from Newbury Park, CA on 09/15/23 7:05:02 PM
Heard about goatheads/sand burrs and flats. We had a very different experience, trail was cleared of burrs and a few loose sand but nothing bad. We did the 50 mile out and back, had lunch at Ma’s Cafe in Wood Lake 15 Sept. No flats (I have “slime filled tubes, full disclosure). We saw lots of goatheads on the side and a few encroaching the trail. I tried and succeeded in pushing them off but got covered with very sharp burrs. So advise to leave them, easy to see and ride around. Riding out of Ainsworth tomorrow, no fear.

 
Paul on 06/11/24 7:40:09 PM
We rode from Valentine just 8 miles east and returned. No shade and a lot of loose sand on a hard surface. Although we had 1.5 inch (38 mm) tires, I wish they were wider or had knobs. The tires were getting caught in the sand. Didn’t see any goat heads. The trestle over the Niobrara river was pretty cool.


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Trail Condition Valentine to Woodlake is grrat
https://bikecowboytrail.com/talk.aspx?tid=11064&tonly=1
Trail Closures/Reroutes
 -  + We will be riding the trail starting May 23rd. Are all closures or reroutes at permanent closures clearly marked? Thank you for your help!
Discussion started 05/15/24 2:40:42 PM by Bullwinkle7 - 8 replies (last reply by Kurt Kinbacher at 06/01/24 4:29:28 PM)
Bullwinkle7 from Loveland,CO on 05/15/24 2:40:42 PM
We will be riding the trail starting May 23rd. Are all closures or reroutes at permanent closures clearly marked? Thank you for your help!

 
Alex from Lincoln on 05/16/24 8:40:43 AM
On the trail, yes. There will be a "trail closed" sign where it is recommended you get off the trail and go towards HWY 20. I can't get signs on the highway to direct you back to the trail unfortunately, google maps is your friend.

Here's a list of current closures and detours:

- The trail is temporarily closed for repairs 3.5 miles west of Norfolk, NE. The repair should be complete sometime in late June. Use "Battle Creek Road" to detour around the closure, there are signs marking the route.

- A large bridge over the Elkhorn River between Oakdale and Neligh is still out so you will need to take the highway shoulder between Oakdale and Neligh for about 4 miles.

- Just west of Neligh there is a short stretch next to the river that has been eroded severely. You will be able to see some construction cones on the trail, you will need to walk adjacent highway shoulder for roughly 1/4mile and then can jump back on. Or if comfortable you can probably hike through the damaged section, stay away from the edge though. This location will hopefully be repaired by the end of the year.

- Between Neligh and Clearwater there is a section of trail that is permanently closed due the river reclaiming the trail in this section. You will need to take 519th ave back to the highway and ride around on the highway for about 3 miles. You can take 517th ave and head south to get back on to the cowboy trail. About a 2.5 mile detour for this one.

- The next closed spot is on the east edge of Long Pine. A large section of the trail embankment was washed out due to a culvert failure from the flood. To detour around, take 440th rd to the highway and then come back in to Long Pine and find the trail by the park on the main road, about 2.5 miles. This location should be repaired by the end of the year.

On NGPC's online trail map it will show a closure just east of the Niobrara River trail bridge, it is passable at the moment but exercise caution. These detours are likely to remain the same for the remainder of 2024.

 
Bullwinkle7 from Loveland,CO on 05/16/24 5:17:29 PM
Thank you for the information! I really appreciate the detailed response.

 
anonymous on 05/17/24 2:37:59 PM
I see the closures will be existent for the rest of 2024, but is there any foreseeable timetable beyond that for the restorations to take place?

 
Alex from Lincoln on 05/20/24 11:01:26 AM
Yes - the repair site near long pine will be open again by the end of the year and the site just west of Neligh should be done by spring 2025. The detour between Neligh and Clearwater is permanent unfortunately.

 
opedaler from NE Nebraska on 05/20/24 1:06:43 PM
Thanks Alex I hope the trail from Oakdale to Neligh is on the agenda somewhere too. I miss giving grief to some old golfing buddies as I pass the golf course. All kidding, the banter is reciprocal.

This thought might deserve its own thread, but I'm just going to stick it here; After riding all kinds of trails and paths I must say I would much rather ride a well-maintained limestone trail as a poorly, or even moderately, maintained paved trail. Granted a kept-up cement path is great but many of the paved trails we have been on have made for some pretty rough riding. We are constantly going back to our favorite gravel/limestone/crushed rock trails while waiting for patches of upkeep on some paved trails we've ridden. I'm glad to see the Cowboy getting some love

 
Alex from Lincoln on 05/21/24 8:17:47 AM
I failed to mention that one, Bridge 211 - it's in the works but will take longer as permitting a feasible and environmentally sound repair is time consuming. As relatively simple as building a new bridge to get to your old bridge sounds, doing it right takes time. The elkhorn river likes to move around quite a bit.

 
opedaler from NE Nebraska on 05/22/24 6:47:33 PM
Good to hear, and thanks again.

 
Kurt Kinbacher from Chadron NE on 06/01/24 4:29:28 PM
I just finished the Cowboy Trail west to east from Valentine (Chadron. Really, but most of the West part is Hwy 20). All on good order, but keep in mind I am riding 2.25 29ers. All of Alex's detour info is correct, but I found it really useful to plot it out on GPS. Thanks Alex


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Trail Closures/Reroutes
https://bikecowboytrail.com/talk.aspx?tid=11092&tonly=1
trail closures
 -  + Is any section of the trail closed between Meadow Grove and Inman? Thank you!
Discussion started 05/09/24 1:43:39 PM by JJ - 3 replies (last reply by Alex at 05/13/24 8:27:34 AM)
JJ from Lincoln on 05/09/24 1:43:39 PM
Is any section of the trail closed between Meadow Grove and Inman? Thank you!

 
Alex from Lincoln on 05/10/24 8:36:22 AM
Unfortunately, yes. The trail will be repaired between Neligh and Oakdale along with the short segment just west of Neligh. The spot halfway between Neligh and Clearwater is permanently closed from flooding in 2010 as the river occupies the trail ROW. The Nebraska Game and Parks online trail map shows all current cowboy trail closures: https://outdoornebraska.gov/parks/explore-trails/hiking-biking/cowboy-trail/

Hope you get out and enjoy the trail!

 
opedaler from NE Ne on 05/11/24 7:00:48 PM
Today (05/11/24) We rode the section referred to above. As we came to the end of Broken Bridge, we saw a trail closed sign. We happened to meet a couple walking from the west and asked if it was indeed closed. They said that it was open but looked as though there had been work done previously. We gave it a try, and it was open although there was a backhoe parked to the side in one spot, and it appeared as though some railroad beams (presumably used to stop motorized vehicles from entering the trail) had been removed. A small disturbance was all that remained. It was easily ridden over. Enter at your own risk, but it seemed fine to us at this point in time.


 
Alex from Lincoln on 05/13/24 8:27:34 AM
Yes the repair by Broken Bridge, 3 miles west of Norfolk, has had a delayed start due to all the rain. That segment is closed and they are starting this week. If passing through please use the detour route.

https://www.google.com/maps/d/edit?mid=1L_xk91eEUSIn2qMZcg1oiT77s2thOdc&usp=sharing


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trail closures
https://bikecowboytrail.com/talk.aspx?tid=11090&tonly=1
riding our horses on the Cowboy trail
 -  + I am interested in riding our horses on some of the trail. Are there stretches that are only concrete? What are the undeveloped areas like west of Valentine? Are there places to park a 46 foot long tr...
Discussion started 05/12/24 10:52:52 AM by Rachel - 1 reply (last reply by Alex at 05/13/24 8:22:56 AM)
Rachel from Longmont CO on 05/12/24 10:52:52 AM
I am interested in riding our horses on some of the trail. Are there stretches that are only concrete? What are the undeveloped areas like west of Valentine? Are there places to park a 46 foot long truck and horse trailer and overnight RV camp? We have portable horse corrals for nightly horse containment. Thanks in advance for any replys.

 
Alex from Lincoln on 05/13/24 8:22:56 AM
Thanks for the interest in the trail! Yes, there are a couple stretches of paved trail in O'Neill, Atkinson, and Valentine for the length of the town but you can ride just off the surface. The rest is crushed limestone and wood decked bridges. The trail relies on the community's facilities for camping - many of the city parks won't have difficulty accommodating you. I recommend calling the city office in the towns you which to stay at and see what they recommend. Another place to call are the fairgrounds as they have facilities for livestock as well and often have rv spots too. Google maps is your friend! Happy Trails.


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riding our horses on the Cowboy trail
https://bikecowboytrail.com/talk.aspx?tid=11091&tonly=1
Trail Closure near Norfolk
 -  + Starting April 30, 2024, the Cowboy Trail will be temporarily closed west of Broken Bridge by Norfolk to repair damage caused by the 2019 flood. The bridge over the Elkhorn River will still be open bu...
Discussion started 04/24/24 9:55:30 AM by Alex - 0 replies
Alex from Lincoln on 04/24/24 9:55:30 AM
Starting April 30, 2024, the Cowboy Trail will be temporarily closed west of Broken Bridge by Norfolk to repair damage caused by the 2019 flood. The bridge over the Elkhorn River will still be open but the trail will be closed to the public for one mile west of the bridge. Thru traffic can use Battle Creek Rd. to detour around the closure and access the trail again two miles west of the Cowboy Trail parking lot. Here's a map of the temporarily closed area and a detour.

https://www.google.com/maps/d/edit?mid=1L_xk91eEUSIn2qMZcg1oiT77s2thOdc&usp=sharing


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Trail Closure near Norfolk
https://bikecowboytrail.com/talk.aspx?tid=11089&tonly=1
Long term parking
 -  + Is there any long-term parking at either end of the trail? The plan is to go out and back but need to leave my car somewhere. Any help is appreciated.
Discussion started 04/02/24 4:26:17 AM by PH - 1 reply (last reply by Ray (webmaster) at 04/02/24 4:49:18 AM)
PH on 04/02/24 4:26:17 AM
Is there any long-term parking at either end of the trail? The plan is to go out and back but need to leave my car somewhere. Any help is appreciated.

 
Ray (webmaster) on 04/02/24 4:49:18 AM
I welcome any additional input, but the good news is that there is long term parking available on both ends of the trail, and in fact there are several good answers to this question from past Forum discussions.

Just follow these steps to see past answers:

1. Go to https://bikecowboytrail.com/search-forum.aspx

2. Enter the word parking in the Search Words box

3. Scroll down and click the blue Search the Forum button

Again, any other responses are welcome.

Happy trails!


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Long term parking
https://bikecowboytrail.com/talk.aspx?tid=11078&tonly=1
Elevation gain?
 -  + I am trying to plan a trip to ride the cowboy trail later this year. Is there a big elevation gain difference or overall difficulty difference between riding it west to east vs east to west? Thanks in...
Discussion started 03/11/24 11:46:00 AM by Mike - 4 replies (last reply by Alex, Lincoln at 03/14/24 1:39:48 PM)
Mike from Irvine, CA on 03/11/24 11:46:00 AM
I am trying to plan a trip to ride the cowboy trail later this year. Is there a big elevation gain difference or overall difficulty difference between riding it west to east vs east to west? Thanks in advance.

 
Mike from Irvine, CA on 03/11/24 11:52:03 AM
Nevermind. I just found the elevation chart. It appears that elevation isn't much of an issue.

 
Alex from Lincoln on 03/12/24 7:22:30 AM
The grade is really mild - technically you lose elevation going west to east, but the other factor is wind. Going west to east you have higher likelihood of winds being in your favor but it is not a sure thing. For folks from coming out of state, I recommend ending up closer to where you came in from (or need to go) so if you're flying back out of Omaha, end in Norfolk so it's only a 2.5 hour drive back vs 6. Just something to consider in trip planning. Hope you enjoy the trail on your trip!

 
Mike from Irvine, CA on 03/14/24 1:09:00 PM
Thanks Alex. I think it works out great for me then. I'm in California and would therefore just start on the west side. I was thinking about trying to Do Valentine to Norfolk in two days (staying in Atkinson over night), take a rest day in Norfolk, and doing the return trip in two days. That might be a bit ambitious for me these days, so I'll probably arrange a shuttle for the return trip.

 
Alex from Lincoln on 03/14/24 1:39:48 PM
Yeah I've seen people do Norfolk to Valentine in two days but I think the conditions need to be just right...high 60's, partly cloudy, and a tailwind. If one of those things are not in your favor, it can be brutal going that distance on the trail in a day. The trail is not as efficient of a surface as pavement either, so you'll notice working a bit harder than normal, but some folks enjoy that sort of challenge. If the going gets tough, you can always opt for the paved highway 275 / 20 shoulder. It's fairly low traffic and drivers are pretty courteous in NE, in my experience.


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Elevation gain?
https://bikecowboytrail.com/talk.aspx?tid=11077&tonly=1
Localized Flooding
 -  + Heads up, we are experiencing some localized flooding from ice jams. We had to close the bridge/trail near Cache Creek which is located about two miles east of Ewing. You can detour on the highway sho...
Discussion started 02/05/24 2:02:52 PM by Alex - 2 replies (last reply by Alex at 02/27/24 8:09:57 AM)
Alex from Lincoln on 02/05/24 2:02:52 PM
Heads up, we are experiencing some localized flooding from ice jams. We had to close the bridge/trail near Cache Creek which is located about two miles east of Ewing. You can detour on the highway shoulder to get around the closure until the erosion is repaired. I will post when this gets opened back up.

 
Alex from Lincoln on 02/15/24 12:43:25 PM
Contractor started work today, the repair site closed and is signed, please avoid this area and detour on the highway shoulder. I anticipate this re-opening at the end of the month if all goes smoothly.

 
Alex from Lincoln on 02/27/24 8:09:56 AM
The repair is complete and now open in this area.


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Localized Flooding
https://bikecowboytrail.com/talk.aspx?tid=11076&tonly=1
Spring 2024 Shuttle Share
 -  + My daughter and I are kicking around the idea of bikepacking the Cowboy Trail in 2024. We would like to share a shuttle with someone or possibly coordinate a private shuttle with another group. If an...
Discussion started 12/05/23 9:36:16 PM by Ty - 5 replies (last reply by PoboxJosh at 02/07/24 12:57:09 PM)
Ty from Tryon, NE on 12/05/23 9:36:16 PM
My daughter and I are kicking around the idea of bikepacking the Cowboy Trail in 2024. We would like to share a shuttle with someone or possibly coordinate a private shuttle with another group. If anyone is thinking about a late May or early June 2024 trip, let me know. We have plenty of time to coordinate, line the moons and make it work. We are looking at a leisure 4 days.

Thanks!
Ty

 
Brian Riedel from FT COLLINS on 12/20/23 3:30:20 PM
Ty - Depending on your timeframe, I may be interested. Please e-mail when you have your dates set up briedel13@msn.com Thanks!

 
Chris from Helena on 01/10/24 9:52:25 AM
Ty, depending on the dates, it might work for me to share a shuttle. I can’t go in May, but early June might work. If you want to follow up email me at cldsmith@msn.com.

 
Pat from Sedalia, CO on 01/26/24 6:49:05 PM
We are a group of 8 going west to east starting Memorial day weekend and taking 4 days. I haven't had much luck getting any communication from the shuttle folks in Norfolk as of yet to see how many they can handle.
I have learned that the Sand Hills Guest House in Atkinson is completely sold out for Memorial Day weekend. That is Alumni Day in Atkinson.

 
Ty from Tryon,NE on 01/28/24 9:00:22 PM
I have sent emails to both that left email addresses. We are looking at mid June. Pat-I contacted the guy that owns North Fork Outfitters. I think he has a few irons in the fire. He talked like he would be offering shuttles in 2024.

 
PoboxJosh from Rhode Island on 02/07/24 12:57:09 PM
I'm thinking of doing the travel July 15-19 Either down and back or just East to West. I'd be interested in sharing a shuttle if one is available.


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Spring 2024 Shuttle Share
https://bikecowboytrail.com/talk.aspx?tid=11074&tonly=1
Best Camping Spots
 -  + My daughter and I plan on bikepacking the Cowboy Trail in June. Our plan is to camp the entire way unless there is some very poor weather. Currently planning on taking the first couple of days a lit...
Discussion started 02/01/24 7:07:33 AM by Tyler - 1 reply (last reply by Alex at 02/02/24 8:35:38 AM)
Tyler from Tryon, NE (McCook Currently) on 02/01/24 7:07:33 AM
My daughter and I plan on bikepacking the Cowboy Trail in June. Our plan is to camp the entire way unless there is some very poor weather. Currently planning on taking the first couple of days a little easy. We are thinking Woodlake on night 1 which is also shuttle day from Norfolk. Long Pine SRA night 2 (camped here before) and then O'Neill night 3 and Neligh on night 4. I have searched the forum and it is hit and miss on finding reviews on camping. My biggest concerns are night 3 and 4 in O'Neill and Neligh. The forum says there is camping but is it comfortable? Thanks in advance.

 
Alex from Lincoln on 02/02/24 8:35:38 AM
O'Neill and Neligh have great campgrounds in my opinion. Both have shower houses and Neligh has a city pool which can be a serious treat. Plenty of shade at each one as well.


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Best Camping Spots
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Timeline Feature
 -  + I am interested in hiking the Cowboy Trail rather than cycling it. I noticed that the Timeline feature seems to favor bicycle rides, however. It will not accept a speed of 2.5-3.0 MPH (average walking...
Discussion started 09/23/23 1:10:12 PM by Tom - 3 replies (last reply by KE at 01/09/24 11:30:08 PM)
Tom from Dunkirk NY on 09/23/23 1:10:12 PM
I am interested in hiking the Cowboy Trail rather than cycling it. I noticed that the Timeline feature seems to favor bicycle rides, however. It will not accept a speed of 2.5-3.0 MPH (average walking speed) and give a result. Can this be corrected, or is there a workaround for this feature? Thanks.

 
Ray (webmaster) on 09/25/23 5:04:03 AM
Thank you for pointing that out! It's now fixed.

I'm guessing you entered 2.5 for speed and ended up with a blank screen. The web page was not correctly handling numbers with a decimal point - anything other than whole numbers (integers) caused the problem.

I fixed this issue and verified that 2.5 (or other values with decimals) will now work correctly.

Sorry for the trouble, thanks again for bringing it to my attention, and good luck with your hike!

 
Tom from Dunkirk NY on 09/28/23 3:59:57 PM
Thank you - working now! With a couple of zero days it seems 10 days is about the time it will take. Very helpful!

 
KE from Omaha, NE on 01/09/24 11:30:08 PM
Hello! I am also interested in hiking the trail this summer. Did you end up making the trip? If so, how was your experience? I know this is somewhat unrelated to your original post, but I am looking for any intel on how to hike it.


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Timeline Feature
https://bikecowboytrail.com/talk.aspx?tid=11067&tonly=1
goathead situation?
 -  + Two of us will be doing our annual out and back trip sometime in Sept. and just wondered what the goathead situation is this year? There was some mention earlier about a new piece of equipment used o...
Discussion started 08/21/23 8:58:56 AM by Dougt - 2 replies (last reply by trackdog1 at 12/17/23 6:40:34 PM)
Dougt from Castana, Ia on 08/21/23 8:58:56 AM
Two of us will be doing our annual out and back trip sometime in Sept. and just wondered what the goathead situation is this year? There was some mention earlier about a new piece of equipment used on a short section of the trail with some success. How has that worked out? Last year the guy taking care of the trail(Tom Theis) was doing a great job and the western section was the best that I've ever seen it. Is he still on the job?
Another unrelated question, why is Arabia listed as a town on the map when there is absolutely nothing there but a sign on the side of the trail. I'll never forget my first year of riding the trail, planning to water up there and my disappointment at not finding a town or anything else.

 
Cynthya from Lewis Kansas on 08/21/23 10:51:38 AM
My sentiments exactly on that little town of Arabia. We got there and looked around and decided there wasn't a town. Good thing we were only riding that far and back to Valentine.

 
trackdog1 from Woodlake on 12/17/23 6:40:34 PM
Arabis used to be aa huge ranch. It had a post office, train station, etc. It was a water stop for thee trains back in the steam days.


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goathead situation?
https://bikecowboytrail.com/talk.aspx?tid=11061&tonly=1
Shuttle
 -  + Planning to ride one way during 2nd week in Nov. from Valentine to Norfolk. What’s the best way to get back to Valentine?
Discussion started 10/18/23 4:04:00 PM by drh - 1 reply (last reply by Alex at 10/19/23 7:22:04 AM)
drh from Longmont CO on 10/18/23 4:04:00 PM
Planning to ride one way during 2nd week in Nov. from Valentine to Norfolk. What’s the best way to get back to Valentine?

 
Alex from Lincoln on 10/19/23 7:22:04 AM
Greetings! The "best" and probably most reliable way to get back to Valentine is the North Fork Outfitting Shuttle - (402) 316-0157.

The other option is renting a u-haul in Norfolk and drive it back to Valentine.



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Shuttle
https://bikecowboytrail.com/talk.aspx?tid=11072&tonly=1
Trail conditions Excellent!
 -  + Two of us rode from Norfolk to Valentine and back Oct. 2-7. This was my 6th year of doing this and I've never seen the trail in such good condition. Mowed, graded, and awesome pretty much describes ...
Discussion started 10/12/23 9:00:07 AM by Dougt - 1 reply (last reply by Alex at 10/12/23 11:51:00 AM)
Dougt from Castana, Ia on 10/12/23 9:00:07 AM
Two of us rode from Norfolk to Valentine and back Oct. 2-7. This was my 6th year of doing this and I've never seen the trail in such good condition. Mowed, graded, and awesome pretty much describes it. There's been a rumor that the section from Ainsworth to Johnston is full of goatheads but we rode it both ways and had absolutely no problems. The only goatheads we encountered were when we got onto the grass when crossing big ruts at road crossings in the Ainsworth/O'Neill area, so if we had to cross on grass to miss the deepest ruts we stopped to examine tires and pull goatheads/cockleburrs out before the goatheads got deeply embedded. The Cowboy 200 Marathon was just a couple of weeks prior, so perhaps extra maintenance had been performed, but kudos to the maintenance crew for a job well done. Met two bikers from England and two through-hikers. Always an adventure!

 
Alex from Lincoln on 10/12/23 11:51:00 AM
Thanks for the write up! They are doing great work.


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Trail conditions Excellent!
https://bikecowboytrail.com/talk.aspx?tid=11071&tonly=1
Extension to Kilgore and Crookston
 -  + We're coming down to bike the entirety of the Cowboy Trail next spring, and was wondering about the "undeveloped" section from Valentine to Crookston and Kilgore. Is that rideable with, say, 1.75" tir...
Discussion started 09/26/23 1:30:25 PM by Dave E - 2 replies (last reply by Lyndle Shelby, Ireton, IA at 10/06/23 8:20:31 PM)
Dave E from St. Paul, MN on 09/26/23 1:30:25 PM
We're coming down to bike the entirety of the Cowboy Trail next spring, and was wondering about the "undeveloped" section from Valentine to Crookston and Kilgore. Is that rideable with, say, 1.75" tires. Not quite mountain bike, but way more robust than a road bike. Anyone have any information?

 
John from Boulder, CO on 09/27/23 5:42:07 PM
I rode Valentine to Neligh and back. Also tried to explore a little west of Valentine. Within a few miles it deteriorates to a rocky barely there track sometimes used for tractor access. I found it unmanageable/un-interesting on an e-assist bike with 2" medium blocky tread all surface tires. Not much fun.

 
Lyndle Shelby from Ireton, IA on 10/06/23 8:20:31 PM
I "scouted" a Highway 20 route, in a pickup truck, from Wyoming line to Sioux City back on August 28, 2023. The basic answer is that the railroad ROW, that is intended to become the Cowboy Trail (CT below), is undeveloped west of Valentine, NE. Here's my "notes" from that scouting trip:
Crawford: Dollar General, bike trail
Rushville: Family Dollar, groceries, repair. CT bridges look better east of town
Gordon: lost sight of trail east of town
Merriman: minimal services, sketchy CT, lost sight of trail east of town
Cody: straw bale grocery store, gas
Kilgore: minimal services, perhaps a truck repair
Crookston: nothing along highway 20
Wood Lake: no services
Johnston: no services, CT moves to south side of Highway 20 just west of town
Bassett: Dollar General, convenience store
Stuart: Convenience store, nice bar/grill, diesel repair, maybe more up into town
Atkinson: golf course west of town with picnic shelter and rest room, Subway, Dollar General, several convenience stores.

Hope this helps!


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Extension to Kilgore and Crookston
https://bikecowboytrail.com/talk.aspx?tid=11069&tonly=1
trail report
 -  + We cycled the Cowboy Trail from Valentine to Norfolk September 11-13. We found the trail to be excellent, well maintained. In fact, we met two men who do trail maintenance for the State and they bot...
Discussion started 09/26/23 11:05:02 AM by Lute - 2 replies (last reply by John, Boulder CO at 09/27/23 5:52:29 PM)
Lute from Montana on 09/26/23 11:05:02 AM
We cycled the Cowboy Trail from Valentine to Norfolk September 11-13.
We found the trail to be excellent, well maintained. In fact, we met two men who do trail maintenance for the State and they both take pride in the condition of the trail.
Although the goathead issue is much improved, goatheads are a significant issue. We found that in crossing intersections, we almost always picked up goatheads. However, we never had a flat tire because after crossing intersections, we would stop and pull out goatheads. And we had good, wide, protective touring tires.

 
Dougt from Castana, Ia on 09/26/23 12:11:52 PM
Two of us will be doing Norfolk to Valentine and back Oct 1-6. It's good to hear that the trail is in good condition, although not so good to hear that you stopped after crossing every intersection b/c there are a ton of intersections to cross. We run heavy tires, tire liners with heavy tubes, and sealant in the tubes and usually have pretty good luck. I've read a couple of accounts of people skipping the Johnston-Ainsworth section this year to avoid goatheads. You didn't do that did you? We've never done that over 5 or 6 years, but it always seems like they crop up west of Ainsworth. One year we had like 8 flats on the trip. Last year only one but I brought back a ton of thorns embedded in one tire that I never was able to remove. Always an adventure! Thanks for the update!

 
John from Boulder, CO on 09/27/23 5:52:29 PM
Rode Valentine to Neligh and back last week. Photoed one goathead stuck in my tire tread within first 10 miles. Pulled it out and completed the journey w/o a leak. As a regular commuting and recreation rider I decided long ago I didn't like having flats. (and have goatheads in home area also) For decades have standardized on good tires + thorn-resistant tubes + tread liners. My wheels are little doubt heavier and don't roll as nicely as the next guy's but I have not had a flat from an external puncture since 1996. (knock on wood - could happen anytime!) I got home from the ride and inspected tires. Found and pulled out four more goathead thorn tips. No flats yet. Given their proven presence here - you'd be wise to take the extra measures of your choice - and/or spend some time patching. Good luck!


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trail report
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Sharing a Shuttle
 -  + Anyone interested in sharing a shuttle from Norfolk to Valentine between October 19 and 22?
Discussion started 09/26/23 1:37:59 PM by Chris S - 0 replies
Chris S from Helena, MT on 09/26/23 1:37:59 PM
Anyone interested in sharing a shuttle from Norfolk to Valentine between October 19 and 22?


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Neligh aread
 -  + Is the trail still closed around the Neligh area??
Discussion started 09/22/23 12:58:27 PM by Jameson - 1 reply (last reply by Alex at 09/22/23 2:19:25 PM)
Jameson on 09/22/23 12:58:27 PM
Is the trail still closed around the Neligh area??

 
Alex from Lincoln on 09/22/23 2:19:25 PM
Unfortunately yes. The trail will be repaired between Neligh and Oakdale along with the short segment just west of Neligh. The spot halfway between Neligh and Clearwater is permanently closed from flooding in 2010 as the river occupies the trail ROW. The Nebraska Game and Parks online trail map shows all current cowboy trail closures: https://outdoornebraska.gov/parks/explore-trails/hiking-biking/cowboy-trail/


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Omaha train station to valentine to ride cowboy trail
 -  + How do we get from the Omaha train depot to Valentine to ride the cowboy trail west to east?
Discussion started 09/20/23 5:27:21 PM by mary fettig - 1 reply (last reply by Alex at 09/21/23 8:31:21 AM)
mary fettig from EAST MONTPELIER on 09/20/23 5:27:21 PM
How do we get from the Omaha train depot to Valentine to ride the cowboy trail west to east?

 
Alex from Lincoln on 09/21/23 8:31:21 AM
Probably two realistic options for you:

1 - Call North Fork Outfitting in Norfolk and have him shuttle you - I think he still does Omaha pick-ups. 402-316-0157

2 - Rent a U haul in Omaha, drive it to Valentine. Ride to Norfolk. Rent a U Haul in Norfolk and drive back to Omaha.

Not a lot of other options unfortunately as it is pretty rural.


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