In the outback of Nebraska, the country's third longest rail-trail snakes through the diverse landscape. Since it's a path in Nebraska, it shouldn't be surprising that the Cowboy Recreation and Nature Trail has less than a 2% grade, with no sharp inclines. The path is also 10 feet wide, offering mostly a crushed limestone path and segmented concrete parts that passes over 221 bridges and 29 towns. Begin your journey at the trailhead in Norfolk, inside the resident Ta-Ha-Zouka Park.
Going the distance on this trail isn't just a day trip. This hike will take days at the least, and provide you and Fido with one of the best outdoor experiences you can find in the state. The trail is still being worked on today, and the plan is to add another 100 miles to the path, making it the country's longest rail-to-trail once it's finished. One of the major landmarks along the trail is the old train trestle that crosses over the Elkhorn River Valley, providing elevated views 148 feet in the air.
The Cowboy Recreation and Nature Trail is dog-friendly and allows dogs for mushing activities, or to just walk as long as they remain on a leash. You and Fido can enjoy the landscape together and watch over an extensive landscape that shows farms, open fields, views of the Elkhorn River Valley, high plains, and pristine prairies.
Activities along the trail include snowshoeing and cross-country skiing in the winter, bicycling, and nature viewing. Wildlife also varies here, offering a long range of different animals like wild buffalo, elk, prairie dogs, white-tailed deer, wild turkeys, and multiple types of birds.
The trail offers plenty of stops along the way, with connects to major cities like Chadron, Gorden, and Norfolk. There are also other trails that fork off from the path, and rest areas that have benches and picnic tables. No matter your destination or your planned activity, the trail will always be open to you and your best friend to enjoy.