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Share your comments, questions, opinions, and advice on the Cowboy Trail.
 
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North Fork Outfitting in Norfolk
 - 
Dale Coon from GLENDALE HEIGHTS on 12/03/2018 12:52 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?

 
Jon Stuthman from norfolk on 03/04/2019 05:06 PM
Hi, give us a call, and depending on the number of days you plan to ride, we can work something out with your gear. 402-316-0157 nforkoutfitting.com


Shuttle
 - 
Greg from Michigan on 10/23/2018 07:05 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 01/09/2019 09:44 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 01/21/2019 01:33 PM
North Fork Outfitters in Norfolk, NE has a shuttle service available. Information available at their website: nforkoutfitting.com

 
Jon Stuthman from norfolk on 03/04/2019 04:42 PM
Hey guys, I shuttle either way, and also have some great kayaking on 2 rivers in Norfolk! Give me a call at 402-316-0157 and we can get you all set up. The shuttle is $350 for up to 4 people and $50 per person after that, it takes about 3.5 hours.

 
Jon Stuthman from norfolk on 03/04/2019 04:48 PM
(nforkoutfitting.com)
North Fork Outfitting


Summer Riding with kods
 - 
Maria andersson from Stockholm sweden on 11/19/2018 01:34 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 02:41 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 01/06/2019 09:04 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.

 
Jon Stuthman from norfolk on 03/04/2019 04:45 PM
Hi, North Fork Outfitting has rental bikes available. We also offer shuttle service. nforkoutfitting.com or call me at 402-316-0157


Goat Head Thorns
 - 
Dan from Evanston, IL on 03/02/2019 04:13 PM
I'll be riding the Cowboy Trail in mid- to late- June. How worried do I need to be about Goat Head Thorn? Thank you.

 
Alex from Lincoln on 03/04/2019 08:41 AM
I wouldn't worry about them but definitely be prepared for the possibility of having a double flat so bring at least two tubes on your trip. The best defense against them is simply staying away from the edges of the trail if you can as that's where they creep on to the trail. The only area I've had a problem was about 1/2 mile west of Ainsworth there was a bad patch and my buddy and I got double flats but that was several years ago. I haven't had an issue since on the trail.


Maintenance
 - 
Biker4 from PAPILLION, NEBRASKA on 01/08/2019 05:39 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.

 
samsus on 02/12/2019 09:57 AM
maintaining = boom and more business is simply speculation. Many sections of the trail aren't even paved.

 
Biker4 from PAPILLION, NEBRASKA on 02/12/2019 11:33 AM
Maybe before we condemn and cast negative doubts we should all try and make all Nebraskans aware of what needs to be done to help support the trail in a way that will benefit all users. Improving the trail to make a better experience for all who ride or hike the trail will shed a positive image on Nebraska as a whole. The boom will come in time if we work together.

 
Don from Kansas on 02/13/2019 08:13 AM
Hikers appreciate services available along the trail... Paved? Has anyone rode or hiked. A Camino in Spain or rode anywhere in Europe? Biking is so popular in Europe, clubs in the smallest of populations... Roads? They don't need no stinking paved roads.


 - 
Trail west of Kilgore? from Central City on 02/11/2019 08:17 PM
I'm looking to hit up the Cowboy Trail this coming summer. Is there any trail west of Kilgore developed yet? Or does it end there?

 
Alex from Lincoln on 02/12/2019 08:39 AM
The surfaced trail ends at Valentine. But 2-3 years from now there will be surfacing completed from Gordon to Mile Marker 400 just outside Chadron. If you had a fat bike you could probably ride west of Valentine on the unfinished trail but it is very rough and has high weed growth in some sections.


Cowboy Trail groups win major grant
 - 
Ray (webmaster) on 02/11/2019 11:27 AM
WASHINGTON—Today, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC) announced a $65,000 grant to be shared between two non-profit organizations—Cowboy Trail West and Northwest Nebraska Trails Association (NNTA)—working to move the Cowboy Recreation and Nature Trail (Cowboy Trail) closer to completion.

The trail, totaling 321 miles when complete, is one of the longest rail-trail conversions in the nation, spanning much of the state of Nebraska. RTC’s grant provides critical matching funds necessary for the two organizations to secure $700,000 in Recreational Trails Program funds offered by the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission—funding that is necessary to advance the trail’s development.
...
...
Full article: https://www.mccookgazette.com/story/2586639.html
Source: McCook Gazette, Feb 8 2019

 
Don from Kansas on 02/11/2019 01:26 PM
I hope the towns and landowners along the trail will welcome the increased usage of the trail and increasing commerce as well. We aren't all city slickers with expensive bikes and time to waste. With that said bikers and hikers need to respect their state hosts and trails.


Damage on the trail
 - 
Alex from Lincoln on 02/04/2019 08:38 AM
Hi Folks,

Just FYI there is some damage to the trail West of Johnston where someone drove their cattle down the wet trail leaving many hoof-prints in it. The length of trail damaged is about 2 miles. Here is the approximate location: https://goo.gl/maps/5xhmk6uZkyF2

I'd recommend avoiding this section and riding on the highway for a bit, unless you're up for a bumpy ride :)

I'll post an update once I can get it cleaned up.


Bike Ride Across Nebraska
 - 
Ray (webmaster) on 01/26/2019 11:58 AM
"Hundreds of bikers from across the state will peddle—across the state—into Fremont on the final day of the 39th annual Bicycle Ride Across Nebraska (BRAN) this June.
...
The theme of this year’s BRAN is “A Tale of Two Trails” which will provide participants the option to ride on the Cowboy Trail as well as on paved highway shoulders through the scenic sandhills of northern Nebraska.
..."

Source: Fremont Tribune

Link to full article: https://fremonttribune.com/news/local/bran-riders-will-roll-into-fremont-in-june/article_e3e9487e-b080-5d9c-8e14-55d01d825684.html


East City Park in Ainsworth
 - 
Saddle Sore from Kittredge, CO on 01/05/2019 09:11 AM
Any information regarding open season, fees, reservations needed, amenities would be helpful.

 
Alex from Lincoln on 01/14/2019 09:45 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?


Road vs Mt
 - 
Tommyt from Spokane on 01/04/2019 03:51 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 01/04/2019 08:52 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 07:22 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 08:02 PM
I too have been considering the Cowboy trail - Hikiby also, following for interested providers/users.

 
J.L. from Lincoln on 12/31/2018 09:04 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 01/02/2019 01:41 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!


Multi-night Parking in Valentine?
 - 
Kevin R from Twin Cities on 09/27/2018 05:20 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 10/04/2018 08:39 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 03:17 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 09:30 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.

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