Cowboy Trail
Cowboy Trail
4.5
Biking Trails • Hiking Trails
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1 within 6 miles
Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
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4.5
50 reviews
Excellent
28
Very good
16
Average
4
Poor
1
Terrible
1

Crista G
10 contributions
Couples
For reference, we’re weekend riders, so not too serious. Our longest ride every year is just about 40 miles round trip. We’ve been wanting to check out the Cowboy for a while bc we’ve ridden other Rails to Trails in NE and really enjoyed them. Since we were kayaking, we decided to bring the bikes and ride to the bridge. We started at the Valentine trailhead (in town) and rode about 7 miles out. We stopped before the trail started to follow the highway. The rock is a little loose close to the bridge, not as compact as when you get further out. The trail is well maintained and the scenery is pretty.

We drove out to Valentine on Highway 20 from Omaha so we could see the trail almost the whole way bc it follows the highway. The trail is exposed the entire way and Nebraska is ALWAYS windy, so plan for that if you decide to ride a long distance. There will likely be a crosswind most of the time. We plan to come back and ride from Valentine to Wood Lake (24 miles). Enjoy your ride and stay safe!
Written June 18, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Emily G-L
Curtis, NE128 contributions
Family
This bridge in Valentine is close to the western trail head. Public can walk, run or bike out onto this bridge for breathtaking views! The path approaching the bridge is well maintained and if you're lucky, you'll see little lizards skittering across.
My mother in law walked the entire Cowboy Trail in August. She packed her own tent and stopped every now and again in the towns along the way. It took her close to 2 weeks but she loved the adventure and highly recommends it to anyone.
Written January 18, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Herman16
Naples Park, FL89 contributions
Friends
We started at the spot located right outside of Valentine and walked over the bridge there. It has amazing view of the countryside and is well worth the effort. It would be a long walk for most children. But for walkers, runner, hikers, and bikers it is great!!!
Written September 23, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

randy m
Altus, OK27 contributions
Couples
This trail is a disgrace. We rode on fully suspended mountain bikes and had to have our teeth reset after 42 miles. They have cut ALL of the tree cover away so farmers can use the land 3 foot from the trail. No wind block. Oh, this TRAIL , is considered by the locals as a secondary road, so pitted with tractor and horse hoves, that most people ride on the dangerous highway next to the trail. A state disgrace!!! The town's along the way are FULLY supportive, with showers, camping ,food, lodging, repair. This is sad. And the Valentine end is worse. The Norfolk end is ok until 5 miles out of town. And for the maintainers!! Covering up this mess with 3 inches of powered cinder does not fix it. Such a shame.
Written February 2, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Carol A S
Marietta, GA4,202 contributions
A nice break from driving long distances in Nebraska is just outside Valentine, where US 20 crosses the Niobrara River. A railroad right of way (the old Chicago and North Western Railway) has been converted to a hiking/biking/horseback trail, running about 200 miles from Valentine to Norfolk. The section near Valentine crosses the Niobrara River on a steel span about 100 feet above the river. The view of the river, sandbars and surrounding rock ledges is spectacular. A parking area about 1/4 mile south of the bridge is paved and ample for maneuvering. Alas, no water or bathrooms are available. From here you can walk north to the bridge, or south across the rolling sandhills prairie. The Cowboy Trail is a good place to stretch your legs or walk off dinner at one of the restaurants in Valentine. About 1/4 mile upstream is the historic Bryan Bridge (the old route 20 crossing), voted the "Most Beautiful Steel Bridge" when it was erected in 1932. You can either walk or drive to this bridge from the Cowboy Trail.
Written September 12, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

whoknows987
Manhattan, KS64 contributions
Family
The Cowboy Trail is nearly 200 miles long running from Norfolk to Valentine Nebraska. There may be some confusion in the reviews as different reviewers are reviewing different aspects or parts of the trail. To be clear, this review is directed at the bridge on the trail just a couple of miles southeast of Valentine. It is the one that is often pictured in information about the trail. There is at least one other major bridge on the trail (near Long Pine) as noted by another reviewer. There may well be others. As far as I can determine, the bridge near Valentine does not have an official name. Locally, it is evidently referred to as the Cowboy Trail Bridge but I expect that other bridges at other locations may be referred to by the same name.

If you are in Valentine, by all means take a look at the bridge but I don’t think I would drive 50 miles out of my way just to see it unless I was a bridge nut. The best views of the bridge are actually from the Highway 20 bridge which runs just to the west of the Cowboy Trail Bridge. There is no parking area there but there is a wide shoulder and you can pull off the road on the northwest end of the HW 20 bridge and walk out on the HW 20 bridge to get a good view and picture of the Cowboy Trail Bridge.

If you wish to walk out on the Cowboy Trail bridge, there is a parking area on HW 20 about one half mile southeast of the bridge on the northeast side of the road. It is about a half mile walk from the parking area to get out on the Cowboy Trail Bridge. It is a very easy walk since the trail is an old railroad bed and is pretty much level. You can’t see the bridge very well when you are on the bridge but you do get good views of the Niobrara river that runs under it and the surrounding terrain. There are a couple of observation platforms that stick out from the side of the bride that get you far enough that you can actually see the bridge structure beneath you; great for viewing the bridge and taking pictures but not for those who fear heights.

As a side note, we drove from Valentine to Norfolk and much of the Cowboy Trail lies next to the road along that route. Not once in that 3+ hour drive did we see anyone on the trail.
Written August 15, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

aussiewanderers
Sydney, Australia578 contributions
Couples
Don't be confused by the signs on hwy 20 pointing to "Historic Bridge". Those signs refer to another bridge, Bryan's Bridge, which is a steel arch road bridge, unremarkable in appearance. Instead, look for the carpark with the large "Welcome to Valentine" sign. The old railway tressle bridge is about 10mins walk away down the pink gravel pathway. Although not as impressive as a timber tressle bridge would be, it nevertheless impresses with its 150ft high view over the river & its valley.
Written August 3, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Stephanie R
Lexington, NE28 contributions
Someday, this trail will reach nearly across the state! What a great way to recycle! Made from an old train track, the trail currently stretches from Valentine to Norfolk with areas to the west currently under different stages of makeover. We enjoyed getting out of the car to stretch our legs and walk to and across the bridge. This stop was not on our itinerary, but we are glad we stopped when we saw it.
Written June 3, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Patricia C
Bandon, OR6 contributions
The cowboy Trail is part of the rails to trails program. The trail ends on the west side of Valentine but you can walk as far as your heart desires heading east. Our favorite is the bridge crossing the Scenic Niobrara River! Definitely a must when visiting Valentine!
Written June 2, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Kathy B
Crestview, FL224 contributions
We only rode part of it (from Valentine), but it is beautiful! Surface is easy to ride on. Niobrara bridge is worth seeing.
Written September 21, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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