Nebraska Hiking

Some of Nebraska's first visitors followed trails. As they ventured west, they blazed the Oregon, Mormon Pioneer, Pony Express, California, and other trails. While today's travelers aren't traveling by covered wagons, they still will find and abundance of trails primed for exploring in Nebraska.

The western corridor of the state is a favorite place to hike in Nebraska. In and around Scottsbluff, hikers will find diverse and interesting landscapes that are both challenging and interesting. The Chimney Rock National Historical Site, a landmark noted by pioneers on the way west, is as rich in history as recreational options. Along with learning about the Oregon Trail, park visitors can do some exploring on foot. Other nearby options for hiking in Nebraska are abundant as well. At the Scotts Bluff National Monument, Nebraska hiking trails follow tracks put down by covered wagons and hike to the top of striking rock formations for views of the North Platte River Valley, the badlands, and the Oregon Trail.

The Platte River, one of the dominant features of the state's landscape provides an excellent setting for Nebraska hiking trails. At Eugene T. Mahoney State Park, a number of trails are in view of the river. This modern park is also home to one of the state's resorts, a water park, marina, camping, and a wide range of sites for outdoor recreation. Platte River State Park, located about halfway between Lincoln and Omaha, has an array of interesting things to discover on foot or mountain bike, including Jenny Newman Lake. A climb to the top of the 85-foot Lincoln Journal Tower will reward those going hiking in Nebraska with expansive vistas and amazing views of this scenic state.

In fact, the entire state park system is an excellent choice for Nebraska hiking. This extensive network of parks, all across the state, offers miles and miles of trails in any season, primed for hiking, equestrian riding, biking, and cross-country skiing. With free or nominally-priced entry fees, visitors can enjoy time outdoors without dishing out a lot of money.

Nebraska hiking isn't limited to rural areas. The city of Omaha has a far-reaching network of trails and more than 8,000 acres of municipal parks; both paved and natural trails wind by trees, lakes, and the urban landscape. A formal network of trails, called Paths of Discovery, winds through Omaha and Council Bluffs, Iowa, the city just across the Missouri River. The first trail in the network, the 27-mile Keystone Trail, is a backbone of this system of ever-growing Nebraska hiking trails. New trails are regularly added, and trails are now stretching to surrounding communities.

Nebraska City, the home of Arbor Day, is home to an array of tree-lined trails, something Arbor Day founder J. Sterling Morton, would be proud of; in fact, a half-mile trail winds through the original arboretum he planted, just outside his home in Arbor Lodge State Park. The city also offers a genuinely unique place for hiking in Nebraska: Tree Adventure at Arbor Day Farm. Following the Tree House Trail, they can admire nature's diversity and watch for wildlife all while doing some Nebraska hiking. The Canopy Tree House provides a bird's-eye view of life in the Table Creek Forest in this tree-themed attraction.

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