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Cowboy Trail, NE

Bike the longest rails-to-trails with your dog!

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    Bike the longest rails-to-trails with your dog!

    Special Interest: BikingGreat OutdoorsHikingRunningSportsSports - FitnessSports - PullSports - WinterWalking

    The Cowboy Recreation and Nature Trail, or Cowboy Trail, is the longest rails-to trails at 321 miles. It travels across northern Nebraska connecting from Norfolk at the east to Chadron in the west. The trail is used exclusively for recreational use and very flat. During the winter, visitors may use the trail for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and mushing.

    Traveling the Cowboy Trail is like taking a step back in time. Explore several small towns along the way. You’ll also see a lot of prairie flowers, sunflowers in the late summer, farms, and wooden bridges (converted for recreational use). 2 miles south of the trail above the Niobrara River in Valentine, NE, you can get on an old railroad bridge (see cover photo). Animals along the way include elk, deer, buffalo, prairie dogs, muskrats, and monarch butterflies.

    Cowboy Trail Quick Links
    Pawtivity Listing: Essential info & tips for dog owners. Link
    Website: Link
    Maps & Access: Map
    Start: Norfolk, NE 42.003530, -97.426620 Map
    End: Chadron, NE 42.828751, -102.949715 Map
    Terrain: Mostly Gravel, Some Paved
    Elevation: Mostly uphill going westbound. http://www.bikecowboytrail.com/elevation.aspx
    Dog Policy: Dogs must be leashed. http://www.nrtdatabase.org/trailDetail.php?recordID=2419
    Motor Vehicles: Not Allowed

    This multi-purpose trail is a mostly gravel, but some areas are paved. You’ll want to use either a mountain or hybrid bike on the trail. The most developed portion of the trail is between Norfolk and Valentine. Dogs on the trail should be leashed.

    The Nebraska Games and Parks Commission puts out an interactive map to help bikers plan their routes.

    There’s even an interactive trip planner and event listing that will help you further, however, the planner goes all the way to Valentine instead of the entire way to Chadron.

    The Cowboy Trail starts and ends at:

    Johnny Carson Blvd Hwy 8, north of Elkhorn River
    Norfolk, NE 68701
    GPS Coordinates 42.003530, -97.426620 Map

    Slim Butte Road, north of Crazy Horse Memorial Hwy 20
    Chadron, NE 69337
    GPS Coordinates 42.828751, -102.949715 Map


    Help a fellow dog owner! Do you have an adventure story? Contact us and we will link it to this pawtivity or event! Where did you go? What did you do? Please include any useful tips and advice that would help others!

    Location: Norfolk | Chadron | Valentine | Nebraska
    Activities: Walking, Biking, Mountain Biking, Running, Snowshoeing, Cross-Country Skiing, Mushing

    Items Needed: Bike, Bike Helmet, Bike Repair Kit, Bike Attachment or Springer, Non-Tangling Lead, Body Harness, Water, First Aid, Reflective Tape or Gear, Poop Bags, Other Appropriate Gear

    Safety: Please consult your vet on running with your dog, especially if you have a puppy. Pay attention to your dog's abilities and start slow. Never run when it is too hot or cold outside. And don't forget to check the paws!

    Watch out for sharp Texas sandbur seeds that may puncture tires or get into your dog's paws.

    Suggested Prerequisites: -


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