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Trail Closures/Reroutes

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Bullwinkle7 from Loveland,CO on 5/15/2024 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 5/16/2024 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 5/16/2024 5:17:29 PM:
Thank you for the information! I really appreciate the detailed response.

Anonymous on 5/17/2024 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 5/20/2024 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 5/20/2024 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 5/21/2024 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 5/22/2024 6:47:33 PM:
Good to hear, and thanks again.

Kurt Kinbacher from Chadron NE on 6/1/2024 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

Cajm from Meadow Grove on 7/7/2024 5:05:17 PM:
Thanks for the trail info especially the detours. I’ve been riding between Norfolk and Clearwater but want to ride from Valentine to Norfolk. Hopefully start tomorrow. Any company is welcome ??