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Bridge Crossings
Alf # 2 from Council Bluffs, Iowa on 04/29/2010 04:08 PM
Am planning on riding the Cowboy Trail this year. Was wondering if riding a tri-cumbent would be possible? The width is 31.5 inches. HELP!

Ric from Omaha on 05/20/2010 11:25 AM
Yes, a trike is fine on the trail, and there is very little traffic. Worst part is the darn posts keeping vehicles off the trail at all intersections. They are fine for regular bikes, but tight even for my Tour Easy recumbent...a trike would really be tight...but then you can go a bit slower and not fall over.

Bob from Bellevue on 10/29/2010 11:51 PM
The barriers at the high bridge at Long Pine are the narrowest I have found and I had to lift my 3 wheeler recumbent over them. Worth it for the view from there tho.

Dean Wisleder from Springfield on 11/16/2010 09:39 PM
Interesting that there are other tricycle riders. I hope to ride the trail from Norfolk to Valentine and back in 2011 on my LoGo recumbent trike. I have a choice of pulling my camping gear in a two-wheel trailer or loaded on the trike's rear rack. Any thoughts on which is the better choice considering the narrow trail spots?

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optional camping
arialupo from Tulsa, OK on 03/12/2010 12:04 AM
Your web site looks wonderful. I will certainly
try to ride the cowboy trail.
I was wandering about the camp spots and if
there were any to accomandate a small pop up
camper? I've done the Katy trail three times
and each time I had a great time. I'm looking
forward to riding the cowboy trail.

PS I added your web site to favorites.

Ray (webmaster) on 03/16/2010 08:32 AM
Thanks for the compliments, I'm glad that you found the website to be helpful!

Honestly I am not sure about all the details on the campgrounds. In general, the city parks will only accommodate tents, while the state parks and commercial campgrounds will handle popup trailers and bigger things. But that's just a generalization - I would suggest calling them in advance to be sure.

Eventually I plan to have more details about the campgrounds and other businesses - if anyone has any details about any trail businesses that you think would be helpful, feel free to go to the page for that business within this website and add your comments at the bottom (or just let me know).

Happy trails!

Bob from Bellevue on 10/30/2010 12:02 AM
I have taken my small travel trailer over the entire route and checked every possible camping location along the trail. I am building a tent camper to pull behind my bike for a spring 2011 trip. I will try to add this info to your wonderful website as soon as I can. Thanks for this great resource.

Dean Wisleder from Springfield, Illinois on 11/16/2010 09:33 PM
Bob, I'm confused. How does one take a small travel trailer "over the entire route" of a bike/hike/horse trail?

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Flooding along the trail
Traci from Norfolk on 06/15/2010 01:17 PM
With the recent heavy rains, there's been a lot of flooding issues for many of the communities along the trail.

Here in Norfolk at the very beginning of the trailhead we have flooding problems from the Elkhorn river.

If you're planning a ride/hike in the near future, check ahead for flooding conditions since so much of the trail runs along the river. You'll also want to be aware that the trail condition will be somewhat deteriorated from runoff.

Traci from Norfolk on 06/17/2010 11:13 PM
Okay, now I'm sad. The water is receeding but part of the Broken Bridge has collapsed. They say the total damage to the trail is in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Not sure just how much damage there is further upstate, but I'm sure it's significant.

Kyle Anderson from Bolivar, Mo. on 06/18/2010 04:56 AM
Can anyone give me some idea what the trail condition is like between Valentine and Oneill? I'm planning on riding that section of trail July 1 weekend. I planned on doing the entire trail but the recent flooding I doubt I'll try from Oneill on to Norfolk.

Todd Macken from Platte Center, NE on 08/26/2010 09:37 AM
I would like to know, if the trail has been reconstructed and fixed yet? Because, I am looking at doing a fund raiser, and have individuals or groups get a sponsor to donate a dollar a mile for every mile they ride (or whatever amount they want to donate per mile). I would like to do something next spring or fall.

bike rider from tilden on 09/09/2010 10:31 AM
rode from tilden to clearwater labor day weekend 2010...ok from tilden to oakdale..from oakdale to neligh they have trail closed but bridges and trail are intact and ridable..from neligh to clearwater there is a bridge out couple miles east of clearwater that goes over elkhorn river. can take country road north 1/4 mile to hwy 275 then west over river and then south on country road and get back onto trail and on into clearwater

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shuttle back to start of trail?
Kyle Anderson from Bolivar, MO...grew up in Butte, NE. on 04/21/2010 04:05 PM
I want to do this trail later this summer since I grew up in northern Nebraska and I'm familiar with areas. This is probably impossible or a stupid question but wondering if there was anyone that has contacts with someone in Valentine, NE. or Norfolk, NE. if a person started the trail from one end to the other and left your car at the beginning and could get a way to get shuttled back to your car with your bike?

Traci from Norfolk on 06/14/2010 04:44 PM
I guess you would have to know someone. There's no "official" shuttle service for the CT.

Tom Martens on 06/15/2010 04:07 PM
Contact Mary Bott in Stuart. She will pick you up and drop you off anywhere on the trail


Ray on 07/28/2010 02:36 PM
Panda Transporation in Valentine provides shuttle services for the trail: 402-376-1313

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Trail closure
Tom Martens from Kansas City on 06/30/2010 03:23 PM
The Cowboy trail is closed between O'Neil and Norfolk, due to flooding.
Does anyone know what hwy 275 is like? Hilly? Flat? Shoulder?
Is it feasable to ride this road?

Traci from Norfolk on 07/06/2010 05:06 PM
Highway 275 is, for the most part, fairly flat. The flood waters have subsided, but soft shoulder areas are slightly eroded. To be honest, a lot of people ride the highway shoulder - especially from Tilden to Neligh - because the trail is kind of soft. The shoulder is a hard shoulder through this area and safe to ride. Not very scenic though.

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Nebr.Trails Council flooding pics
Marilyn Woerth from Brownville, NE on 06/28/2010 01:56 PM
Hi there Cowboy Trail fans there are some pictures of the flooding on the Nebraska Trails Council Facebook page. Also if you would like to be in the link of any email blitzes the Nebraska Trails Council sends out send your name and email to

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scenic areas
Kathy Dobb from Shawnee, Kansas on 05/17/2010 09:17 AM
We are planning to try the Cowboy Trail this summer. We love the Katy Trail and have gone there several times. Are there some areas along the Cowboy Trail that are more scenic than others? Is the trail chat like the Katy? Is there a guidebook about the trail that we could order?

Ric from Omaha on 05/20/2010 11:14 AM
I have ridden the CT from Norfolk to Atkinson numerous times...kind of. Only about 10% of the trail in this section is away from Hwy 275/20 and scenic. The other 90% runs adjacent to the Hwys so I ride on the Hwy shoulder which is very nice. The trail gets to be somewhat soft west of Tilden, so it's a struggle with my 1 1/8" road tires. No guide book I am aware of. All the towns along the way have places to camp and eat, but nothing real fancy. Norfolk/Neligh/O'Neill are slightly bigger towns. Trail chat???...probably not.

T Martens from Lees Summit, MO on 06/08/2010 03:17 PM
Nebraska Cowboy Trail A users guide
by Keith Terry

Hiram from Knoxville on 06/08/2010 04:59 PM
We rode last summer from newport to Neligh in two days. We found the trail to be very soft almost the whole way. We easily ride 10-12 mph on the katy, but struggled to go much above 6-8 mph on the Cowboy. With two panniers my mountain bike sunk into the ground about an inch on average. The locals we tlaked to said that most riders they saw wee using the highway shoulder rather than riding the trail itself. It seemed to us that the contractor that the state was using for trail construction had not done any compaction work after laying down the trail bed.

I'd get the trail guide to pick your route, its pretty clear about which sections are next to the highway and which are away from it.

The section jut east of newport was the prettiest we rode thru. We stayed at the Golden Hotel and loved it.

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July ride
Tom from Kansas City on 03/29/2010 08:01 PM
Hi, I am an avid Katy rider and I am looking to try ride the Cowboy this summer. How is the grade of this trail? Lot's of hills or is it more gradual like the Katy?
Also, is water pretty abundant?

Ray (webmaster) on 04/05/2010 10:08 PM
It's fairly flat, since it was originally a railroad route. There is a slow staedy climb as you head west. Check out the elevation chart.

Ric from Omaha on 05/20/2010 11:29 AM
Grade is pretty much coasting ever, at least on the Norfolk to Atkinson stretch. Abundant water? each town. (about every 10 miles), otherwise it crosses the Elkhorn river a few times.

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dave from murphys ca on 04/29/2010 06:53 PM
is it better to from Valentine to norfolk? I see it is downhill, and the winds are usually from the west are they not?? will you answer this using MY email address so I can see the answer??

Ric from Omaha on 05/20/2010 11:21 AM
Have only run Norfolk to Atkinson.

Downhill west to east, but it is so gradual, you would not notice it on the CT. Winds can be an issue and can be from several directions...North in the winter, South/Southwest, and even Southeast in the summer. They quite often are 20-30mph and above, so if you're lucky, they will be at your back. Good luck there.

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expanding Eastward?
John Mead from Originally AInsworth Nebraska on 05/08/2010 02:36 AM
I know the Chicago North Western ran from Omaha (at Least) and was wondering if they were planning on extending it further east from Norfolk? Coming From Missouri I would like to get the easiest and safest route to Ainsworth.

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Spring time
Anonymous on 04/05/2010 10:00 PM
Quick, get out and enjoy the trail!

Anonymous on 04/05/2010 10:05 PM

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Beyond Valentine
TK on 03/12/2010 10:26 PM
When will the trail be expanded past Valentine?

Ray (webmaster) on 03/13/2010 09:56 AM
According to the folks at Nebraska Game and Parks, it's a funding issue. The state legislature needs to approve funding for ongoing maintenance of any newly-added sections, before those sections can be built.

So it may be a while before any further expansions happen - don't expect to see anything until the economy improves and the state's budget is flush with cash again.

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