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Nebraska: Cowboy State Recreational Trail|
Posted on Monday, October 17 @ 15:35:20 MST by iljiana
2200 N. 33rd St.
Lincoln, NE 68503
Phone: (402) 471-5511
Horseback riding trails in Nebraska
Work continues on the longest Rails-to-Trails conversion in the nation. When complete, the Cowboy Trail will
span 321 miles. Portions are open to the public now. The trail begins
in the east by Norfolk in the Elkhorn River basin, will pass through
the Sandhills region and end at Chadron, connecting 29 communities in
eight counties across northern Nebraska with topography ranging from
farms and ranches to canyon lands. The trail encompasses 221 bridges
that require more than 3.5 miles of decking. Following the gentle
slopes of the old Chicago Northwestern rail line provides easy peddling
Spanning a sizeable chunk of
America's outback, the Cowboy Trail experience is largely what one
makes of it. It can be a pleasant escape for an evening nature walk, a
family getaway for a bicycling weekend, a course for a grueling
long-distance run, or a convenient route to explore the Plains on
Whether biking, hiking or horseback riding, the trail offers a few givens for all who travel it.
Regardless of where you enter and
exit, travel the Cowboy Trail and you will soon be immersed in nature.
The eight-foot wide ribbon of crushed limestone and wooden bridges cuts
through a right-of-way, normally 100-feet wide, which provides
important cover for wildlife and pockets for native prairie plants.
While species differ along the route, rabbits, ground squirrels,
pheasants, quail, and many song birds find suitable habitat through
much of the trail's course.
The corridor is alive with the
sounds and sights of creatures, large and small, often missed by
travelers in closed cars moving at 60 or 65 mph. Bald eagles patrol the
Elkhorn River valley and, farther west, turkey vultures soar on
thermals above the Niobrara River. The corridor also functions as an
important migration route for wildlife between habitat areas.
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