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
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.
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
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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: -
- Best Biking Accessories for Dogs (2018) – Pawtivity Picks
- How Much Water Should I Bring For My Dog Hiking?
- How To Bike With Your Dog
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