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28mm tires
Kirk on 03/06/2019 10:10 AM
We ride 28mm tires. Amy comments about riding the Cowboy trail?

Steve McGregor from Hannibal, MO on 03/06/2019 11:18 AM
I rode the Clement XPLOR USH 35mm tire(with Tire Liners for the Goatheads etc) and they were ok. A few places where it is sub-irrigated(up from Bassett to Stuart) and they sunk in a bit. My friend rode with Schwalbe Marathon tires (they sort of have built in liners, and they were maybe 40mm but I think still had a wider profile and she did ok with them. I ended up with one flat (a goathead through the side of the tire) just west of O'Neal, and then after we finished the next day Lisa's tire was flat from something, never could find it..

Alex from Lincoln on 03/07/2019 09:11 AM
28c is a little on the narrow side, I recommend cramming the largest tire you can that still fits and running that at a lower psi for a nice supple ride as the Cowboy Trail is not the smoothest at times. The looser trail surface zaps any efficiency gains you'd have with a narrower tire anyways so I opt for comfort on CBT.

opedaler from Northeast Nebraska on 03/24/2019 04:30 PM
We ride the trail all the time with 28's no problem.....with a couple of exceptions. 1) There is a stretch where horse riders don't always adhere to the "side-of-the-trail" mandate. If they have been on the trail when it is soft, it can make riding pretty miserable, and 2) after a flooding spring, such as this year,when they are forced to fill in sports with loose gravel/stone/rock it can be a bit challenging until the firming process is complete. It isn't as bad as the Mickelson Trail, if you are familiar with that, but it can still be challenging.

Typically, I would say "no problem" this year all bets are off.

opedaler from Northeast Nebraksa on 04/21/2019 03:41 AM
Sorry I accidently put an updated post in the wrong thread. Rather than repeat it, I'll just direct you there. The gist of it is......My wife does feel better with 32's on up, and agrees with Alex. For added comfort go up a notch from your 28s.....especially this year.

trail conditions-thorns??
dougt from Onawa, Ia on 08/28/2018 11:30 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 08/30/2018 09:28 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 09/02/2018 09:51 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 09/02/2018 01:28 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 09/03/2018 10:42 AM
Thanks for your info Cynthia!

Jon Stuthman from norfolk on 03/04/2019 05:20 PM
Parking at Ta-Ha-Zouka Park in Norfolk is free and patrolled by local law enforcement, haven't had any issues in the last 4 years. Give me a call at North Fork Outfitting 402-316-0157 if you need anything else.

opedaler from Northeast Nebraska on 03/24/2019 04:37 PM
We have always used bikes with liners and seldom had any problems. The past couple of years we have used hard-case 28's (no liners) and have had zero problems. Having said that, many of my friends have complained about flats (they used no liners, and had older tires) so carry tubes, or repair kits just to be safe. I've carried them for years and maybe used them once, or maybe twice. I threaten to take them out so I have more room for more candy bars but sure as I do.......

opedaler from Northeast Nebraksa on 04/21/2019 03:36 AM
About 28"s.....My wife told me after seeing my response that she agrees with Alex. Although we do, she feels MUCH more comfortable on 32's on up. 90% of the time she feels fine, but to be comfortable ALL the time, she would recommend a bigger tire. Mountain bikes aren't usually necessary, but you will see a plethora of them on the trail. After the repairs this year, I would agree, bigger is better.

Trailer damage from recent flooding ?
Jay from Louisville on 03/28/2019 09:19 AM
Has there been any damage to trail front recent flooding????
Thx J

opedaler from Northeast Ne on 03/29/2019 06:48 PM
YES!........ Just like everywhere else around eastern Nebraska. I'm waiting to see if it will be even rideable this year. Lots of work needs to be done from what I can see.

J Rowse from Louisville on 03/30/2019 03:56 PM
What areas have seen damage? That you know of....
Thx J

opedaler from Northeast Ne on 04/01/2019 06:19 PM
I would wait for Alex's updated report. From the road ((hwy 275) it looks pretty tough on the eastern end. From what is visible I'd definitely not strike out until some repairs are done. Having said that, much of the trail is near a good road with a shoulder, so occasional detours will be tolerable, if that's all that's required.

We still do multiday group road rides with sags, but my preference is becoming more and more the "rail-to-trail" rides. Slower and a little more work, but much more pleasant and much, much safer. I sincerely hope the trail is repairable.

Trail conditions
Beth from Michigan on 03/10/2019 01:34 PM
Husband and I enjoy tandem biking. What are the trail conditions and what is the surface of the trail made of? Asphalt? Dirt? Chipped stone? Thanks in advance for your input.

Cynthya from Salina on 03/10/2019 01:53 PM
The trail is a combination of all those surfaces. That and Sandy or lose gravel. It might be a real challenge for tandem riders. Be interesting to hear other thoughts.

Dougt from Onawa, Ia. on 03/10/2019 06:30 PM
Depending upon your tire choice it could be very challenging. Trail conditions get rougher on the western portion. I rode from Norfolk to Valentine and back last Sept and wrote a short review of the trip talking about accommodations and trail conditions. I did it on a mtn bike with tire liners and had no problems.

opedaler from Northeast Nebraska on 03/24/2019 04:42 PM
Just to add to what Cynthia posted....we have met several tandems on rides. Didn't stop and ask how it was going, but it appeared to me that they were leaving fairly deep tracks.

opedaler from Northeast Ne on 03/29/2019 06:51 PM
This is really sad as it was getting in good shape. In fact I preferred it over other limestone trails....the Wabash for example. I'm guessing it is going to be awhile now.

Greg from Bellevue Ne on 12/29/2018 08:33 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 08:34 AM
When do you plan on riding and how many in your group?

Greg from Bellevue on 12/30/2018 10:08 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.

Jon Stuthman from norfolk on 03/04/2019 05:02 PM
I can do it, but that would be almost an all day trip for are you getting to Norfolk? Is there any way you could park in Norfolk, and then either shuttle to Valentine and ride back, or ride there and shuttle back? If either Norfolk option works, the Shuttle for 5 would be $400, for me to pick you up in Valentine and take you to Bellview would be closer to $700.(it would be 641 total miles and probably 12 hour trip for me and my helper....)

Greg Boettger on 03/05/2019 08:32 AM
We would come to Norfolk and park cars there. We just need to find a place to leave our cars. Then bike to valentine and once we get to Valentine, we would need a ride from Valentine to Norfolk. Hope that makes sense. We are looking at a pickup date from Valentine of June 16 or June 23 at about noon. Are those dates currently open for you? I hope to make the decision on the actual date by next week.

Website updates
Ray (webmaster) on 11/06/2018 09:53 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, 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

Thanks and happy trails!

Alex from Lincoln on 11/07/2018 09:54 AM
Great updates Ray!

Jon Stuthman from norfolk on 03/04/2019 05:09 PM
Looks Great! There is a lady from Ewing that wants to get her hotel info added! She just emailed you. Have a great summer!

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

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:

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
North Fork Outfitting

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