Cowboy Trail
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Cowboy Trail Guide: Maps, Businesses, Mileage, and More

About Nebraska's Cowboy Trail

The Cowboy Trail runs 321 miles across northern Nebraska, following the old Chicago & Northwestern rail route.  The railroad called this the "Cowboy Line." 
Cowboy Trail Valentine High Bridge over the Niobrara River
Near Valentine, the Cowboy Trail crosses 150 feet above the Niobrara River

When completed, the Cowboy Trail will be the world's longest rails-to-trails bike trail.  Currently about two-thirds of the route has been surfaced: the 195 mile stretch between Norfolk and Valentine (where you'll cross a magnificent old 148 foot high railroad bridge).  Some surfaces are paved, while most of the trail uses finely crushed gravel.

The maps on this website only show the trail to Kilgore, but the trail is actually planned to run all the way to Chadron.  We will update the maps as other sections of trail are developed.  The trail west of Valentine is not officially open, and any usage of undeveloped trail should be considered "at your own risk."

Cowboy Trail Resources

An interactive MAP of the Cowboy Trail
BUSINESSES and SERVICES along the trail
An interactive TRIP PLANNER provides details specific to your trip
Discuss the trails on the COMMENT FORUM
EVENTS on or near the Cowboy Trail
Journals and TRIP REPORTS from others' Cowboy Trail travels
ELEVATION (altitude) of towns along the trail
WEATHER along the trail

Cowboy Trail Conditions

Trail conditions are currently good, to the best of our knowledge.
If you are aware of any adverse trail conditions, please let us know the specifics, or contact the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.

Upcoming Events on or near the Cowboy Trail

Nebraskans love a good celebration - make your Cowboy Trail experience even more memorable by enjoying a small-town festival.
WhereWhat / When
Mile 0
Norfolk Ethnic Festival
Mile 150
Middle of Nowhere Carnival
Mile 58
Ewing Funfest
First weekend in June
Long Pine
Mile 141
Long Pine Days
Second weekend in June
Battle Creek
Mile 10
Battle Creek Fun Days
Third weekend in June
Mile 45
Clearwater Rodeo
Last weekend in June
Meadow Grove
Mile 18
Corn Daze
Last weekend in June
Mile 150
Middle of Nowhere Bike Ride
Second weekend in July
Mile 81
O'Neill Summerfest
Second weekend in July
Mile 23
Prairie Days Festival
Last weekend in July
Wood Lake
Mile 171
Wood Lake Community BBQ
Last Saturday in July
These are the events for the next three months.  To see events past that timeframe, please visit the Events page.'s mission is to provide all the resources you need to plan and enjoy your adventure on Nebraska's Cowboy Trail.  Let us know if there's anything we can do to improve!

If you are looking for the Cowboy Trail in Canada, try this link: Alberta's Cowboy Trail

Mickelson Trail Check out our website for the George S Mickelson Trail in the Black Hills of South Dakota!

Proud Member Of:

Adventure Cycling Rails to Trails Conservancy

The Katy Trail in Boonville, Missouri

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