The 15 Best Hiking Trails in Nebraska!

With numerous state parks, there is no shortage of hiking trails with plenty to do and see through the Cornhusker State. Whether you want to hike along the Missouri River or stroll through tallgrass prairies, Nebraska has trails for everyone. With so many popular and lesser known trails to choose from, it can be tough to narrow it down a favorite, but here are our favorite hiking trails in the state.

1. Pioneer’s Park Nature Center, Lincoln, NE

Pioneer’s Park is home to over 600 acres and miles of trails that wind through all terrain, including forest, tallgrass prairie, and a stream. Spend a day hiking here and you will also catch sights of bison, white-tailed deer, and elk. 

2. Hidden Lake, Omaha, NE

Located only eight miles from downtown Omaha in Fontenelle Forest, this diverse 3.4-mile trail curves through beautiful lakes to an old trading post. Bring your binoculars for some amazing bird watching as well!

3. Daemonelix Trail, Scottsbluff, NE

Travel back in time to 19 million years ago on this one-mile scenic trail that winds through fossilized burrows, roots, and Miocene-era remains inside Nebraska’s Agate Fossil Bends National Monument. 

4. Saddle Rock Trail, Scottsbluff, NE

Another great place to hike in Scottsbluff is Saddle Rock Trail, home to crumbling caprice and sheer sandstone faces that once challenged Oregon Trail travelers. This adventurous trail involves a challenging 500-foot climb, so be sure to prepare if you’re a beginner.

5. Eugene T. Mahoney State Park, Ashland, NE

Mahoney State Park is one of the most popular parks in the state thanks to its fantastic hiking and biking trails. During the winter when it’s too cold for trekking around, you can still visit the park for sledding and ice skating activities.

6. Platte River State Park, Louisville, NE

The Platte River State Park is another tranquil favorite among Nebraskans for its beautiful Stone Creek waterfalls and observation towers that offer spectacular views of the Platte River and Mahoney State Park conveniently located right across the river.

7. Boyer Chute National Wildlife Refuge, Omaha, NE

The Boyer Chute National Wildlife Refuge was established to protect the wildlife and fish habitat located around the Missouri River. Keep your eyes open for the over five miles of trails and you can spot over 200 species of birds, 80 species of fish, and 70+ species of mammals that reside in the refuge.

8. Conestoga State Recreation Area, Lincoln, NE

If you’re looking for unofficial, angler, or game trails, Conestoga State Recreation Area provides all of the above. The trails cover over three miles of Conestoga Lake, a popular roosting ground for all types of birds.

9. Indian Cave State Park, Shubert, NE

Indian Cave State Park covers a whopping 3,052 acres along the Missouri River. Both hikers and bikers can enjoy Indian Cave State Park’s 22 miles of trails. Be prepared, hiking and biking through the park will take you up and down some rugged terrain. 

10. Ponca State Park, Ponca, NE

Another great hiking option along the picturesque Missouri River bluffs is Ponca State Park. Here you’ll find over 22 miles of challenging trails for both walking and biking.

11. Smith Falls State Park, Valentine, NE

Smith Falls State Park is home to the state’s highest waterfall and possibly the region’s most diverse ecological systems. You must stay on the trails when hiking here to protect the plants, but that won’t stop you from experiencing some amazing scenery along the way.

12. Scotts Bluff National Monument, Gering, NE

Covering just over 3,000 acres of historic land, the Scotts Bluff National Monument provides both paved and unpaved hiking trail options with views of some stunning rock formations. Beware, the trail conditions are always changing so plan ahead and check the website for a conditions report.

13. Pine Ridge National Recreation Area, Chadron, NE

This hiker’s paradise near Chadron is home to 6,600 acres of land filled with wildlife and at least 80 miles of marked trails. Easy-to-follow trails are perfect for hikers, bikers, and even horseback riding. 

14. Toadstool Geological Park, Harrison, NE

The award for the most out-of-the-world hiking trail goes to Toadstool Geological Park in Northwest Nebraska. The space-like rock and geological formations are a must-see for any nature lover and a well-marked trail will guide you through the sites.

15. Norwesca Trail, Chadron, NE

This trail will take you through hidden valleys, skirt rugged buttes, and you might even see a wild turkey on the way. With 5.2 miles of trails that loop from the top to the bottom of Nebraska’s Pine Ridge, you’ll get close to nature while also getting some great exercise.

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201 S 7th St, Fort Calhoun, NE
The first U.S. military post west of the Missouri River, Fort Atkinson was established in 1820 on recommendation of the Lewis and Clark Expedition.... Read More
S 108th road, Beatrice, NE
Rockford State Recreation Area consists of approximately 300 land acres around a 150-acre lake. The area offers boating, fishing, picnicking, swimm... Read More
15951 Highway 385, Chadron, NE
Nebraska’s first state park, Chadron State Park was founded in 1921 and is nestled among the distinctive buttes and canyons of Nebraska&rsquo... Read More
Highway 20, Harrison, NE
Western Nebraska's premier state park, Fort Robinson, west of Crawford, has it all -- with more than 22,000 acres of exquisite Pine Ridge scenery, ... Read More
1 East Park Drive 25A, Elwood, NE
Excellent camping, fishing and water sports are hallmarks of this popular area, just 10 miles south of Lexington. This recreation area packs a lot ... Read More
627 County Road 29, Tekamah, NE
Summit Lake State Recreation Area is a 190-acre lake, surrounded by 345 acres of land. The area offers fishing, hiking, hunting, swimming and campi... Read More
3019 Apple Street, Lincoln, NE
Wagon Train State Recreation Area comprises 746 acres of land and a 315-acre lake two miles east of Hickman. The area offers boating, fishing, picn... Read More
1020 V Road, Kearney, NE
Fort Kearny State Recreation Area offers 186 acres dotted with sandpit lakes. In the spring, the world’s largest concentration of sandhill cr... Read More
3900 NorthWest 105th, Lincoln, NE
Pawnee State Recreation Area features 2,544 acres, 740 of which are water acres. Diverse recreation opportunities on this area draw anglers, boater... Read More
15810 Hwy. 50, Louisville, NE
Encompassing 192 acres, Louisville State Recreation Area boasts five sandpit lakes with approximately 50 surface acres of water. Surrounded by towe... Read More
89261 522 Avenue, Niobrara, NE
Situated at the confluence of the Niobrara and Missouri rivers on Nebraska’s northeastern border, Niobrara State Park offers visitors a wide ... Read More
54876 - 852 Road, Pierce, NE
Located 1 ½ miles southwest of Pierce, scenic Willow Creek State Recreation Area draws its name from the meandering stream that feeds the El... Read More
12000 W. Branched Oak Rd, Raymond, NE
Branched Oak State Recreation Area features the largest lake in eastern Nebraska and has long been a popular spot for fishing, boating and camping.... Read More
27702 F Street, Waterloo, NE
One of the most popular recreation areas in the state, Two Rivers is a great spot for fishing, camping, swimming and picnicking west of Omaha in Ea... Read More
2502 Payne Drive, Bellevue, NE
The Keystone Trail connects to the Bellevue Loop at Highway 370 and 25th Street. This trail runs through Haworth Park in Bellevue. Trailhead parkin... Read More
11451 West Maple Road, Omaha, NE
The Big Papio trail is one of several trails that follow the various tributaries of the Papillion Creek. It currently begins in the middle of a fie... Read More
210615 Highway 71,, Gering, NE
Buffalo Creek State Wildlife Management Area is located south/east of Gering in the Wildcat Hills area. To get there go south of Gering on Hiway 71... Read More
10073 South 161st Street, Omaha, NE
Chalco Hills Recreation Area, in southwest Omaha, is the Metro area’s premier outdoor recreation facility. At Chalco Hills, you can try your ... Read More
28500 West Park Highway, Ashland, NE
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