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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
Equestrian use:
Horseback riding is allowed on the Cowboy 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 150
Polar Bear Festival
Last weekend in January
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


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