Hiking Project Logo

Cowboy Trail

Easy
 3.0 (1)

The Cowboy Trail is one of the country’s longest rail-trails stretching 196 miles across Nebraska.


Your Rating:      Clear Rating
Your Difficulty:
Your Favorites: Add to Favorites · Your List
Zoom in to see details
Map Key

195.2

Miles

314.1

KM

Point to Point

2,738' 835 m

High

1,515' 462 m

Low

1,582' 482 m

Up

513' 156 m

Down

0%

Avg Grade (0°)

2%

Max Grade (1°)

Dogs Off-leash

Features Commonly Backpacked

Family Friendly A nice path that is flat and wide.

Description

Stretching across a significant portion of America’s outback, the Cowboy Trail provides visitors with endless potential. The trail can be a relaxing getaway for a nature walk at dusk, a family weekend bike destination, a more grueling course for a long-distance run or an easily-accessible route to explore the Great American Plains.

Starting in Norfolk and stretching 321 miles west to Chadron, this is one of the longest Rails-to-Trails projects in the US. This mapped route covers the 196 miles of the trail between Norfolk and Valentine that uses a crushed limestone surface, which makes for a great tread for hiking.

This path is also used for biking and horseback riding, so please respect right-of-way signs.

When the railroad was first built, it was constructed at a grade of 2% or less, which was the regulated maximum for locomotives. For the same reason, there are no tight turns. Both of these trail characteristics lend themselves to an extremely enjoyable user experience, whether you're hiking, biking, or riding horseback.

Keep your eyes open along the trail for some old milepost markers, which were originally erected as telegraph poles. A number of these mark the distance to Fremont, which is the easternmost trailhead.

Contacts

Shared By:

Kristen Arendt

Trail Ratings

  3.0 from 1 vote

#1

in Norfolk

#23276

Overall
  3.0 from 1 vote
5 Star
0%
4 Star
0%
3 Star
100%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Trail Rankings

#1

in Norfolk

#29

in Nebraska

#23,276

Overall
50 Views Last Month
1,085 Since Jul 22, 2016
Easy

100%
0%
0%
0%
0%
0%

Photos

Wet bridge over the Niobrara River.
Apr 8, 2020 near Valentine, NE
Warm fall day on CBT.
Apr 8, 2020 near Battle…, NE
Cowboy Trail looking East from Valentine, Neb.
Jul 21, 2016 near Valentine, NE

0 Comments

Weather


Current Trail Conditions

Update Conditions
Unknown See History
Add Your Check-In

Check-Ins

none