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Best Short Ride Recommendations?

Jill from Kansas City on 9/1/2018 9:11:29 AM
We are planning a trip (from KC,KS) in late September/early October and looking to ride the trail. I'm not a novice but about 20 to 25 miles round trip is about the amount of time during our trip for a half day ride. Can anyone make a recommendation for the best/most scenic trail ride area (starting in one town, returning back) with about a 20 mile round trip distance?

Anonymous on 9/1/2018 4:44:39 PM
In our opinion the Valentine bridge is a must see, and ride over. Park in Arabia parking lot (has a cell tower near it) and ride to the bridge and back. Just past the Arabia Ranch sign..

Or there is a parking lot near the bridge.

Enjoy and have fun!!

Cynthya from Salina on 9/1/2018 6:20:58 PM
Wondered what folks might say. The bridge was my first thought. Totally agree with the other comment. The bridge is spectacular and it is within the first 3 miles and you could decide how much further you wanted to ride. We rode from Valentine to Arabia sign. For us it was a 31 mile ride. We rode on Rans recumbents no problem.

Cynthya from Salina, KS on 9/1/2018 8:25:26 PM
Let me amend thst last response. That a 32 mile roundtrip. Valentine to Arabia snd back
to Valentine.

Anonymous on 9/1/2018 9:35:11 PM
Cynthia - is the 32 miles going from trailhead in Valentine to Arabia?

Cynthya from Salina on 9/1/2018 11:41:07 PM
32 miles roundtrip. Valentine-Arabia-Valentine.

Robert Hale from Port Matilda, Pennsylvania on 9/13/2018 10:55:09 AM
Just rode from Valentine to Norfolk. I would second the ride out of Valentine to the east for scenery. The trail is very good from Valentine to the bridge. The gravel gets a bit loose in places east of the bridge but is Ok - my tires were 700x40. There were some beautiful wooded ponds along the trail east of Valentine, with ducks and cranes. Unfortunately, I can't remember how far out I was when I rode through them. This section was my favorite.

Dougt from Onawa, Ia on 9/15/2018 8:54:54 AM
Robert, I'm taking off tomorrow from Norfolk to Valentine and back. Did you run into many thorns? Any other info that I might find useful? I'm riding a mtn bike w/tire liners. Thanks!

Robert Hale from Port Matilda, Pennsylvania on 9/21/2018 11:42:29 AM
I didn't have any problem with thorns. Sandburs in parts of the trail kicked up on the front panniers. However past Johnstown, I rode mainly on the highwsy.

28 mm tires -- good enough for riding this trail?

Dave from St. Paul, MN on 7/9/2018 2:47:22 PM
I have a road bike with 28 mm tires (Continental touring), and completed the Katy Trail in Missouri this spring, and the Sparta-Elroy series of trails in Wisconsin last year. My tires did fine on those crushed limestone trails. But some of the threads on this forum indicate that isn't sufficient. Anyone have any thoughts?

Stephen McGregor from Hannibal, MO on 7/9/2018 3:29:31 PM
I rode it with Clement XPLOR USH 700x35's and wish they'd have been a little bigger, but bigger wouldn't fit in the fork of my Gravel Bike. The surface isn't really compacted (by the Katy Trail Standards). My friend rode her mountain bike with Scwalbe Marathons (I think they were 42m and had the puncture resistant liner), and she had some trouble around Newport, where the sub irrigated soil and loose gravel gave her a good spill.

You can probably ride on your tires, but it's not anywhere near a hard surface trail.

Larry Wenzl from Norfolk on 7/23/2018 4:34:38 PM
Five of us rode the 200 miles from Valentine to Norfolk in mid-May of 2018. I recommend 38mm tires or wider. Also be sure to have tubeless tires with sealant, or sealant-filled tubes and liners. We also exited the trail several miles before the two A-towns: Atkinson and Ainsworth, to avoid goat head thorns. 1000 miles between five of us, and no issues by following those few rules.

Mark Murphy from Mountain Park, Georgia on 9/14/2018 3:13:25 PM
I've ridden cross country twice and last year did the trails in WI with 700X25 as part of my Portland, OR to Portland, ME trip. I didn't have any problems but we also had dry conditions. I'm going to be riding roughly 3000 miles before I hit CT on my way to RAGBRAI to ride another 400 or so. Wondering if I should skip CT..honestly not a big fan of trails and prefer open road and nice hard pavement..thoughts?

Camping in Bassett - nope

Anonymous from South Carolina on 9/1/2018 9:56:31 PM
Just finished riding O'Neill to Bassett with plans to camp in Bassett. The city park had plenty of picnic tables, but no restroom facilities that we could find. The Cowboy Trail park restrooms were locked tight and there were no picnic tables. After great camping options in Neligh and O'Neill, this was quite frustrating.

Cynthya from Salina on 9/2/2018 12:10:14 AM
Where did you find The Cowboy Trail in Basset? We never found it. Even stopped and asked local people in town along the trail area and they had -no idea- what we were talking about. We parked at the city park/fair grounds and ride north to the trail. We then went on to Stuart. They have a real nice park for camping.

Robert Hale from Port Matilda, Pennsylvania on 9/13/2018 10:45:45 AM
I used the restrooms at the swimming pool. The doors were open, but no water there to flush. Pretty bad conditions. A few portable toilets would help.


Victor from Pottsboro Texas on 9/8/2018 9:32:15 PM
We want to ride about 25 miles a day. Then We want a ride for one without a bike back to our camper. I will then drive back to the camp ground where my wife and my bike will be waiting. Then again the next day. Any ideas.

Jon Stuthman from norfolk on 9/11/2018 7:18:57 PM
Give me a call at 402-316-0157 when you get your plans settled. I can shuttle you where ever you like. Ta Ha Zouka Campground in Norfolk is amazing. Its also the trail head. Let me know.

East City Park Campgrounds in Tilden

Neal Raymond from OMAHA on 9/10/2018 7:58:48 PM
Has one bathroom with a free shower inside. Costs 10 dollars a night.

Sportsman’s Family Grille in Meadow Grove

Neal Raymond from OMAHA on 9/10/2018 7:54:34 PM
As of 8 Sep they were closed for remodeling

Elkhorn River: Bridge Closed Until Further Notice

Anonymous from South Carolina on 9/1/2018 7:24:04 PM
Just finished riding from Neligh to O'Neill. There is an orange detour sign and another sign that says the "Cowboy Trail is closed until further notice" a few miles west of Neligh and before you get to Clearwater. The orange sign points you toward the highway, but that is the only signage for the detour! You have to guess how soon you can get off the busy highway and back on the trail. For riders not familiar with the area this is very frustrating.

Cynthya from Sins, KS on 9/1/2018 8:20:45 PM
Been there. Done that AND you are so right. We rode along trying to decide which 'first' turn to take. We took one and luckily it was the correct corner. Agree they need to provide a clear 'detour', off the highway back to trail.

dougt from Onawa, Ia. on 9/2/2018 9:46:43 AM
About how far did you ride out of Neligh before getting back on the trail? I'm doing the entire trail in a couple of weeks and any info is helpful!

Cynthya from Salina, KS on 9/2/2018 1:37:45 PM
We were riding from Clearwater to Neligh. Looks like the distance between the two is nine miles. We got detoured about two miles east of Clearwater. We rode maybe 3 on highway. So maybe 5-7 miles west of Neigh. Maybe that is some help???

Jim Powers from Baltimore on 9/4/2018 7:39:55 AM
google earth clearly shows the bridges over the river are out just east of Clearwater. Looks like the north-south connectors too and from the highway are 517 Ave on the west side and 519 Ave (Royal road) on the west

Jim Powers from Baltimore on 9/4/2018 7:51:23 AM
Sorry, 519 is on the east side of the trail outage.

The Google earth images show the river looks pretty wild through that stretch. Looks like it reclaimed a good portion of the trail

Stuart City Park in Stuart

Jeni from West Texas on 9/3/2018 6:51:28 PM
Awesome park. Very clean bathrooms, lots of space, and a neat playground too if your inner child is begging to be let out :P
The whole town of Stuart is great!

Southside Mini Mart in Stuart

Jeni from West Texas on 9/3/2018 6:48:07 PM
Clean facilities and friendly people. They also have a shower for $10 and they provide a wash cloth and towel. Great sandwiches too.

trail conditions-thorns??

dougt from Onawa, Ia on 8/28/2018 11:30:20 AM
I'm planning to ride from Norfolk to Valentine and back the week of Sept 17. Some earlier posts mentioned bad thorns between Ainsworth and Johnston. Is that still the case? Any other comments on trail conditions or lodging greatly appreciated.
I'm planning on staying in O'Neill, the Bunkhouse in Long Pine($35!!!) and Valentine on the trip both ways. Any recommendations on lodging in O'Neill and Valentine?

How secure is parking in Norfolk for 5-6 days?

HOPEFULLY someone will respond to this post!

Jeni on 8/30/2018 9:28:52 AM
re the thorns: I was advised that I'd be okay if I just stuck to the middle of the path in the areas where it was so bad.

The parking in Norfolk sounds great. A patrolled lot, pictures of your car and your expected return date are sent to local law enforcement.

Nothing on the lodging, but best of luck to you.

dougt from Onawa, Ia on 9/2/2018 9:51:58 AM
Thanks for your response!! Other than you, posting a question on this site is like shouting into an empty canyon! Do you know anything about the detour off the trail west of Neligh and how far one has to go on the highway before being able to get back to the trail?

Cynthya from Salina, Ks on 9/2/2018 1:28:05 PM
My experience of trail is a year back. We picked up plenty of thorns, but no flats. Just a front tire we ended up airing up everyday. About two miles out of Clearwater going east you get detoured to highway. No clear mark back to trail. We were told first turn to your right. Excluding turns into private property. Maybe three miles? They need to put up a sign for bikers to know the turn.

dougt from Onawa, Ia on 9/3/2018 10:42:09 AM
Thanks for your info Cynthia!


Julie on 9/2/2018 9:48:07 PM
Anonymous, my husband enjoyed chatting with both of you this morning! What a great adventure you are on! Inspiring. Safe travels!


Julie on 9/2/2018 9:41:11 PM
My husband enjoyed chatting with both of you this morning!! Safe travels to you on your great adventure!!

Anonymous on 9/2/2018 9:35:01 AM
Thank you for confirming. We didn’t make it all the way to Arabia so will do bridge to Arabia and back.

Cowboy Trail Park in Bassett

Anonymous on 9/1/2018 10:44:26 PM
No picnic table. Creamery restrooms were locked up tight.

Corral Bar in Bassett

Anonymous from South Carolina on 9/1/2018 10:42:31 PM
AWESOME prime rib is the Saturday night special. The best prime rib we've ever eaten.

Riverside Park in Neligh

Anonymous on 8/30/2018 7:05:11 PM
$5 tent camping fee includes hot shower and strong wi-fi. Self-service payment kiosk is located at the shower house. There are two picnic pavilions between the RV sites and the playground with electrical service if you need to get out of the sun/rain or need to charge a device.


Anonymous on 8/30/2018 7:01:36 PM
Just rode Norfolk to Neligh without any issues. $5 tent camping at Riverside Park was budget friendly with warm shower and strong wi-fi included.

O'Neill awesome Mexican restaurant

Jay from Rochester MN on 6/28/2018 4:33:30 PM
La Herradura is the best Mexican restaurant i have ever been to. Someone in Stuart told us we needed to stop there. All 5 of us agreed it was one of the best meals we'd ever had.

My body was screaming for calories, which makes everything taste better but still, I got the Paola's mix and it was soooo good. It was chicken and shrimp seasoned with black pepper and cooked with vegetables, then served over a bed of rice and sour cream. That's not even a traditional Mexican dish afaik, just something excellent designed by a cook that really understands flavors.

dougt from Onawa, Ia on 8/28/2018 11:24:22 AM
Is that the restaurant that Immigration closed whan they made the raids in O'Neill?

Shuttle Service

North Fork Outfitting LLC from Norfolk on 8/12/2018 10:26:19 AM
Shuttle is $350 for 1-4 bikes/passengers and $50 per bike/passenger after that. A shuttle may be shared by any combination of 4. Shuttle is either Norfolk to Valentine, OR Valentine to Norfolk, and in order to "Share" a shuttle, you must be in the van together at the same time. You may also "piggy back", or find a group going the same day, but the other way. We will offer EACH GROUP $50 discount for piggy backed shuttles. Shuttle generally leaves Norfolk at 6am, but we can usually work with you. $100 additional charge for holiday shuttle(includes entire Memorial, and Labor day weekends, and 4th of July) visit or call 402-316-0157 to schedule! We also offer 2-4 night all inclusive vacation packages with shuttle, food and lodging provided!

Jim Bangs from Estes Park on 8/21/2018 2:05:20 PM
Hi Jon,
A couple of questions. Do you match people up to share the shuttle? I am planning up a trip for summer 2019 and can be flexible on my start date, but I probably will be traveling alone. Also do you provide parking while riding back to Norfolk?

Jon Stuthman from norfolk on 8/27/2018 9:42:55 AM
there is free patrolled parking at the trail head, and I can try, but your best bet would be to post your info here, and hook up with another group.


Greg from Mulberry, IN on 8/23/2018 3:43:30 PM
We want to pull our travel trailer to Norfolk to start the Cowboy Trail, but want to do it in 25-35 mile segments with me pulling our puppies in a buggy. What we want to do is for example pull our travel trailer to a campsite in Meadow Grove, get a shuttle back to Norfolk and ride that day back to our trailer, spend the night, then repeat the next day and getting a campsite say in Neiligh and a shuttle back to Meadow Grove to ride that day to our new campsite. Is there anyone you know of that does shuttles along the way rather than from beginning to end as I have read?

Tim from Eaton, CO on 8/24/2018 9:39:26 PM
I’ve been watching the forum for quite a while with a similar idea. I think we are going to try and rent a car in O’Neill or somewhere and “self shuttle” our way from Bassett to Norfolk. We did Valentine to Bassett last year. BTW- the Bassett hotel and Range Cafe is awesome!

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