If you think Nebraska is flat, you haven't rode Nebraska. From the bluffs along eastern Nebraska's Missouri River to the sand hills out west, you will find Nebraska offers diverse terrain and a variety of riding opportunities for all levels of riders. See Nebraska between the ears of your horse. You'll be seeing it as if it were the first time.
Many times after riding these trails, I blog about them. If there is reference to a blog post following the description, click on it. You may find pictures and more information.
LINCOLN CITY AREA
The MoPac East Recreational Trail provides an equestrian trail beginning at approximately 90th & A Streets Lincoln. The trail continues alongside the bike/hiking trail through the towns of Eagle and Elmwood and ending near Wabash. The terrain is pretty flat and kept mowed, much of it a nicely shaded route. Follow the signs and stay on the trails. Around 20 miles, give or take. Nice day ride. No camping. See blog post.
|Wilderness Park, Lincoln, Nebraska|
Wilderness Park in south/southwest Lincoln is a great day ride. The trails are heavily shaded, but well maintained. There are approximately 7 miles of trail; you will retrace your steps to return so 14 miles round trip. Trail is shared with hikers and bikers and each user's trail is well marked. Be sure and stay on designated horse trail! Be prepared to go under overpasses and over bridges. Don't let the city scare you away. This is a great trail and one of my favorite day rides -- especially in the fall! Day riding/no camping. Trail heads located just north of Old Cheney Road on 1st St and on the west side of S. 14th Street just south of Yankee Hill Road. Call 402.441.7847. Trail Map. See Blog Post #1 and Post#2
Pioneers Park located at 3201 South Coddington Avenue in southwest Lincoln provides a short horse trail through the park. Nice afternoon ride through beautiful the Pioneer Park. Park is highly utilized with much activities. Call 402.441.7847
OMAHA CITY AREA
Glenn Cunningham Lake Park is located at 8305 Rainwood Road in Omaha and offers a little over 6 miles of trail around the lake. No horse camping. Nice day ride with picnic shelters and facilities. Use Hwy 36 entrance. Take I680 to 72nd Street. Go north on 72nd until you reach Hwy. 36. Turn west on Hwy. 36. The entrance is on the south side between 84th St & 90th. It is easy to miss so keep on the look out. Phone 402.444.4628.
NP Dodge Park located at I-680 and Pershing. (12000 N. River Rd). Take Pershing/River Road underneath the Mormon Bridge and go north about 1 mile to the Dodge Park entrance. Turn right into the park. Follow that road until it forks. Take a left. Follow that road which curves around to the right. You will see a lagoon with a "horse camp" sign on the jut of land which is surrounded on three sides by water. A side road goes around the jut and you can park trailers there. Access to trails is right across the paved road. Fun and beautiful riding but really buggy from July 1- October 1. It is terrific winter riding as it is totally flat and sandy river bottom soil. It is a slice of heaven with lots of eagles, the Missouri River and beautiful trees. Since you are in deep woods - it is great on windy days as there is absolutely no wind in the woods. (NOTE: May be temporarily closed due to last season's flooding. Call ahead 402.444.4673)
Standing Bear Lake at 6404 N. 132th St. Many dog walkers, mini-airplanes, joggers and bicycles on the weekend. Trail is about 5 miles long. Best to park trailers using entrances off N. 132nd or Fort. Riders report it is really a horrible west end as it requires going onto 144th Street which has several bridges and no side trail.
Walnut Creek Lake and Recreation Area, entrance at 102nd and Schram Road. The area offers 4.5 miles of groomed grass equestrian trails which wind through native grass stands and overlook a 105 acre lake. The facility is a pack in pack out area (which means no trash cans). Please take what you brought. The equestrian parking area is beyond the civic youth camping area. There is water and restrooms available. There is no overnight horse camping/parking. Good for short rides, a casual walk will take about an hour. For more information and trail conditions, contact 402.592.8877.
Zorinsky Lake. Although Zorinsky Lake has been on the Platte River Riders' schedule since 2004, evidently horses are no longer welcome at Zorinsky Lake and Horsetrailriders.com has been asked to remove it from this site. Apparently Zorinsky has become "too busy for horses, cyclists, walkers, runners, strollers, dogs, etc., to all use the same trails" and horses have presented "a safety hazard." If local riders have concerns about this recent development, please contact Public Events Coordinator Brenda Paul at 402.444.4653 or email email@example.com.
Bader Park, south of Chapman, NE was donated from the Bader family and operates under funding they make from those who use the facilities. It’s a best kept secret in Merrick County. A 270 acre vacation spot on the Platte River. Horse trails and camping available. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 308-986-2522. See blog posts.
|New Equestrian Campground at Branched Oak Lake, Area 2|
Branched Oak Lake located two miles north of Malcolm features approximately 10 miles of mowed trails running along the south side of the lake from Area 2 and another 6 miles from Area 3. You’ll find some wide grass trails and other trails into the trees. Great views! Area 2 will be opening a premier equestrian camp in the Spring of 2012, complete with corrals, water and electrical hookups. Area 3 is primitive camping with restrooms and water. Portable fencing is allowed. Call 402.783.3400 See blog post#1., blog post#2.
|Calamus Lake, Burwell, NE|
Calamus Lake near Burwell, Nebraska offers much riding in the adjoining wildlife area and along the beach shores. Having just discovered it this year, I don't have a lot to contribute yet except that it was the closest thing to ocean front riding as we can find in Nebraska. Drive over, talk to a ranger about where to park and ride and then go have fun. We camped at the Burwell Rodeo grounds; full hookups and corrals for our horses. Check out the pictures of beach riding on the blog post.
|Camp Moses Merrill near Linwood, NE|
Camp Moses Merrill is a year-round camping facility owned and operated by the American Baptist Church. Located 6 miles west of Morse Bluff, this private campground (complete with water and electricity) has approximately 10 miles of horse trails in the woods surrounding the camp. Boasting 568 acres, you are high on the bluffs south of the Platte River. This camp is one of the rare private facilities that allow public riding. Please adhere to the rules of the camp and stay out of areas closed to horses. Also, it is important you call before you haul, (402) 666-5639 as it is closed to the public when large church events are taking place.
|Big Canyon near Springview, NE|
Big Canyon is located north of Bassett on Hwy. 7 near Springview. Deep canyons, high bluffs, clear water streams and wildlife galore! Sandy trails which go down into a 400 foot canyon, said to be the largest in Nebraska. Clear winding creeks through the ponderosa pines. Autumn offers beauty among the changing colors of the sumac and other foliage. Views of the Niobrara River. Hosts Edith and Roger Wentworth offers rig parking on their ranch with a barn for hot showers and running water. A gas grill or conventional stove is available for your use. If you don't feel like roughing it, their bed and breakfast accommodations may be available. Large pens with stall dividers is available for your horses. For reservations, contact Big Canyon Inn, 44357 State Hwy 7, Springview, NE 68778 (402) 497-3170 . See blog post.
|Fort Robinson near Crawford, Nebraska|
Ft. Robinson State Park is located in northwestern Nebraska, just west of Crawford. A horse lover's paradise with some 22,000 acres and over 20 miles of trails. Many Nebraskans have declared these trails the best in Nebraska. Horses can be boarded in the historic barns at Fort Robinson. Cabins and camping sites with electricity available. Swimming pool, jeep rides, museum and other activities. A history buff's dream! Phone 308.665.2900. See blog post#1 and post#2.
Hormel Memorial Park is located SW of Fremont near the Platte River. Urban trails. For information on Fremont parks, contact Fremont Park Offices (402) 727-3290.
|Indian Cave State Park|
Indian Cave State Park in SE Nebraska is trail riding deluxe. Ride high above the Missouri River on very wide, mostly shaded trails. Wildlife galore. Be sure your horse is in shape to tackle the hilly terrain!. Close to 16 miles of trail, some shared by other trail users. This park provides a separate area for horse camping. Campground is primitive with fire rings and picnic tables. No running water, but water wagon is usually provided during summer months. One outhouse in the camp and a large picnic shelter for bigger groups. 12 Horse Corrals! First come, first serve. Be sure and clean the corrals before you leave! Phone 402.883.2575 See blog post#1, post#2,
Maskenthine Lake is east of Norfolk with approximately four miles of mowed trail around the lake. Trailhead is on the north side of the lake just east of the bridge before the main entrance. Phon 402.371.7313
|Nebraska National Forest (Bessey Dist), Nadick equestrian camp|
Nebraska National Forest Bessey District (aka "Halsey") is located in Nebraska's sand hills near Halsey. Nebraska's largest "man made" forest offers riding through the prairie grasslands of sand or in the forests of ponderosa pines. Thousands of acres of riding! Windmills galore! Natick horse camp provides hand pumped water, horse stalls, fire rings, picnic tables and vault toilets. Certified weed free hay required. No electric. Campsites are superb. Some equestrians camp at Whitetail but we have been told that has turned into primarily an ATV camp. While most are considerate of horse riders, use caution. For information, contact 308.533.2257. See blog post.
Niobrara State Park is located near Niobrara, Nebraska at Hwys 12 and 14. Offers open riding in a big pasture of about 168 acres. (Not on the water) Overnight camping is available, but you will need to bring your own water for you and your horse. Phone 402.857.3373.
Oak Creek Trail is a multi use trail traveling along a former railroad bed provides approximately 12 miles of trail between the rural towns of Valparaiso and Brainard in Saunders and Butler counties. Equestrian volunteers cleared trail for a parallel horse trail. The trail between Valparaiso and Loma is a gradual uphill climb with some small hills and many times traveling in the shade. From Loma to Brainard, you’ll find native prairies, red sumac and cropland. All trails pass through the foothills of the Bohemian Alps. Trailheads are located at Valparaiso, Loma or Brainard. Be careful to keep your horse off the limestone. Day riding only, no camping. Phone 402.476.2729. See blog post #1, blog post#2.
|Outriders Trailhead near Chadron, Nebraska|
Outriders Trailhead located a few miles south of Chadron on Hwy 385 offers a nice retreat on the way to or from the Black Hills or perhaps a nice day ride on Forest Service land high above Chadron State Park. Catch a glimpse of the Black Hills. The campground at the trailhead offers very nice corrals for your horses and running water. There is a fully accessible rider ramp. Certified weed free hay required. Phone 308.432.0300. See blog post.
|Peckerneck Trail at the Peckerneck "mine"|
Peckerneck Trail can be found at Harlan County Lake, Nebraska's second largest lake, located in the south-central part of the state, seven miles from the Nebraska/Kansas state line. The horse trail head is located on the south side of the lake, south of Alma called "Alma Vista". A local group of interested horse owners have taken over the upkeep of the trail and have recently done a lot of maintenance on it. Look for hidden surprises! The trail is about 14 miles long with a shorter loop about midway. Terrain is hilly. There is no camping area, toilets or water for horse or rider. Phone 308.799.2105. See blog post. And for a news story on Peckerneck, read more.....
Pine Ridge National Recreation area west of Chadron offers many miles of trail in the Ponderosa Pines and mesas. Truly unique terrain. Camping available. Certified weed free hay required. Approximately 80 miles of marked trail make up the Pine Ridge trail. the easy-to-follow trails accommodate horse trail riders. This trail system consists of several trail heads: East Ash, West Ash, Coffee Mill, Soldier Creek, Spotted Tail, Strong Canyon, Roberts and Outrider Trailhead.
Pawnee Lake State Rec Area near Emerald has now opened horse trails which go completely around the lake. Day parking permitted just west of NW 126th St and West Superior. Horse camping available across the road to the east; limited to 2 horse corrals/stalls. The trail goes through a wildlife management area and up over the dam. Park management has looped the trail to go down the dry creek bed rather than over foot bridges. Shared trail. Be cognizant of other users. Approximately miles of trail. Hunting allowed in season. Phone 402.796.2362. See Blog Post.
Powderhorn Wildlife Management Areanear Scribner is located 4 miles north on Hwy 275. Hunting is allowed in this area. Nice trails in tree cover along the Elkhorn River. Very small parking lot off Hwy. 275. Three to four rigs at best. 402-370-3374
|Rock Creek Station - at the blacksmith's shop|
Rock Creek Station is one of my favorite places in Nebraska. Located east of Fairbury, Rock Creek Station offers about 10 miles of trails; some in the trees and some prairie riding. Ride through the replicated Rock Creek Station and acclimate your horse to stagecoaches on display! The horse camp is primitive with fire rings and picnic tables, vault toilets. There are 12 horse corrals; first come, first serve. Please clean up your corral before leaving. You may also set up portable fencing or tie to your trailer. Rock Glen WMA adjoins Rock Creek Station (under separate management) and offers riding on marked trails through this wildlife management area. This area provides additional hours of riding if enjoying Rock Creek Station. Pay special attention to the posted rules for riding hours in this area. In addition, active cattle grazing may be taking place. Leave gates as they are found. Call 402.729.5777. Read many blog posts. Post#1, Post#2, Post#3.
Sam McKelvie National Forest, located sw of Valentine near beautiful Merritt Reservoir. Steer Creek horse camping is very, very primitive. No picnic tables or fire rings. There is no water, but a creek in the camp, however depending on the time of year, may be dry. Ride up on the Reserve and see oceans of grass & land. Windmills are numbered to help keep you from getting lost. Certified weed free hay required.
Soldiers Creek National Forest near Crawford represents an environment characteristic of the Pine Ridge escarpment in northwest Nebraska. The ponderosa pine covered ridges give way to open upland parks containing native grasses. Beautiful trail riding, primitive camping. Certified weed free hay required.
Turkey Creek Ranch, Newcastle, hosts over 20 miles of marked trail with hundreds of acres to roam. Ride through timber lined trails, wooded ravines, scenic prairie hilltops, open meadows and along spring fed streams and ponds. The beautiful Missouri River Bluffs offer miraculous views during any season. Enjoy oak lined trails during the heat of the day or adventure on a moonlight ride. Electrical hook-ups with conveniently located water hydrants and corrals for your horses. Clean outhouses, showers, picnic tables and fire rings. Cabins available. Reservations are advised. Phone 402.355.2614. Blog post#1, post#2, post#3, post#4.
Two Rivers State Park near Venice, Nebraska has wonderful horse paths in the wildlife management area along the Platte River. You may also ride through the park and view the various small lakes that make up Two Rivers. The horse staging area was enlarged and moved to straight west of the Caboose park to an even larger area, and now allow camping with horses. It is a very primitive area and there is no electricity. Weekends are busy with campers and fisherman, so you may get stopped a lot by people asking to pet the horses. Hunting is permitted. Some areas closed to riding during hunting season. Watch signage closely. Take 264th Street south 1 miles off of Hwy. 92. For information, call 402.359.5165.
Willow Creek State Rec Area is located south of Pierce in the Norfolk area. There are approximately 8 miles of trail around the lake. Willow Creek has added a number of pads for horse campers, each with a pen, fire ring, picnic table and electrical and water hookups. Two smooth wire pens provide limited space for horsing, but camping is allowed next to them. Water is available. There are showers at the park, but not the horse camping area. Also a nice swimming beach. Reminder to riders: DO NOT ride on the limestone. Our riding privilege entitles us to riding on the mowed trails only. The rangers have asked that riders respect this request. Call and reserve your site or they will be given to non-horse campers for the weekend. Call 402.329.4053.
A Note from our Iowa Friends
Pierce Creek located between Shenandoah & Essex Iowa off Hwy 59 to the east. What a nice place! Easy trails, a few pens to put horses in, plenty of hitching rails & wonderfully marked mowed trail. It even has a round pen & trail obstacles set up to practice. They plan to have a couple electrical hookups by month end. A bathroom & shower house are planned with donations & additional grant money. Very inviting & close to home. I’ll be going back soon. More info on FB, “Friends of Pierce Creek.”
The Wabash Trace is again open to horses as long as rules are followed. About 6 miles of mostly single trail from Tastee Treat just south of Iowa School for the Deaf to Margaretville picnic area further east than Triple M Stable. I find this trail scenic and relaxing. Imperative to remember riders are required to stay on the equine trail, never ride on the limestone bike trail except to cross where you have to. Bridges are shared with bikers and walkers/joggers, sometimes with their dogs. The equine trail is shared with hikers and mountain bikers. If your horse poops on the bridges, please clean up well. Following the rules and keeping the equine trails accessible is a mandate of keeping the Wabash Trail open to horses. It is a constant struggle keeping the trail clean with the old trees and lack of help. If anyone would like to volunteer come spring, please contact Margine Henry, 712 323-9391. Weed spray and; chain saw help are always needed. Anyone helping clean the area can have the wood for personal use. FYI – recommend only a few riders at time riding this trail as the trail would not support a big group well with single path, intersections, and close limestone trail traffic. Make sure your horses are comfortable with bikes. Trailer parking is still an issue. Best recommendation is the trail head parking lot north of Tastee Treat as long as any mess is cleaned up. Anyone disregarding the rules will take the Wabash equine trail away from all horse riders so please be obedient to the efforts of others keeping this trail open. $10 annual pass is required whether biker, hiker or horse rider. Passes can be purchased from CB bike shops, by mail or on line,