The Top 10 Trails for Hiking In Nebraska

Hiking in Nebraska makes it easy to experience the state’s diverse natural beauty and range of wildlife.

When in Nebraska, be sure to visit at least one of these trails top 10 trails. There’s something for every kind of hiker!

10 outstanding trails for hiking in Nebraska

The following list is alphabetical. Listing them any other way would be unfair because each is the best in its own way!

And, if you want to see many of these trails on one map, check out the state’s interactive map.

Arbor Day Farm Treehouse Trail

This paved, family-friendly trail is in Arbor Lodge State Historical Park in Nebraska City. The Park is the site of J. Sterling Morton’s estate. He was the founder of Arbor Day!

Interactive displays along the way make it easy to learn about nature.

Buffalo Trail

At one end of Buffalo trail is Hudson-Meng Bison Bonebed. That’s the site of hundreds of fossilized bison remains. At the other end: Toadstool Geologic Park, home of rocks formations that look like toadstools.

The trail is 11.3 miles and takes you through the Oglala National Grassland.

Cowboy Trail

Cowboy Trail is part of Nebraska’s Rails-to-Trails Conservancy project and runs through the outback region. It’s well-maintained and used by cyclists and horseback riders as well as hikers.

The trail runs between Valentine and Norfolk, Nebraska. That’s about 195 miles! But you don’t have to commit to hiking that far. There are many points for entering and exiting the trail.

Fontenelle Forest Trails

This set of trails has something for anyone hiking in Nebraska. From the wheel-chair accessible Riverview Boardwalk to the challenging Ridge Top Oak Trail, it’s easy to get immersed in nature.

Indian Cave State Park

There are 22 miles of hiking trails open year-round in Indian Cave State Park. Some of the trails wind through hardwood forests and offer great opportunities to discover flora, fauna, and wildlife.

The park has a range of amenities, making this a good option for casual as well as experienced hikers.

Olson Nature Preserve

The Olson Nature Preserve is 112 acres in east-central Nebraska. Trails wind through hardwood forest and wetlands for endless wildlife and flora sightings. 

Some of the trails connect with Beaver Creek, which has spots for a refreshing dip. 

Platte River State Park

Platte River State Park has more than 17 miles of trails. Cutting through densely wooded hills and bluffs that overlook the Platte River Valley, these trails are good for moderately experienced hikers.

Ponca State Park

Ponca State Park is a popular destination. It offers a unique experience for hiking in Nebraska. The area is a restored prairie with expanses of native wildflowers and grasses. There is a range of trails of varying length, terrain and difficulty.

Be sure to hike to the Tri-State Overlook. From there you can see far into South Dakota and Iowa!

Saddle Rock Trail 

This trail at Scotts Bluff National Monument is not for inexperienced hikers. Although the trail is paved, it is 1.6-miles long and the elevation increases by 453 feet to the top of the bluffs. 

There are many geological formations and various birds and animals to see along the way.

Willow Creek State Recreation Area

Covering 1,633 acres, this multi-purpose recreation area includes an 8-mile crushed limestone path suitable for hikers of all experience levels. The trail encompasses a lake and provides many opportunities for wildlife sightings.

Which trail will you use when hiking in Nebraska?

Not planning on visiting Nebraska yet? Why not try hiking in nearby states such as Colorado and Wyoming?

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