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.

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. 

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!

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. 

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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. 

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.

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.

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.

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. 

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.

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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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
1020 V Rd, Kearney, NE
Originally a safe haven for Overland Trail travelers, Pony Express riders, and gold prospectors, Fort Kearny established in 1848, is now a state hi... 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
86930 517th Ave, Royal, NE
About 12 million years ago, a volcano in southwest Idaho spread a blanket of ash over a very large area. One or two feet of this powdered glass cov... 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
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
3800 NW 105th, Denton, NE
Conestoga is a 230-acre reservoir surrounded by 486 acres of land. The area offers power boating, picnicking, hiking and biking trails, camping and... Read More
4700-4798 S 1st St, Lincoln, NE
At 1,472 acres, Wilderness Park, located in southwest Lincoln, is the City’s largest park. As its name implies, the park is a natural area th... Read More
2200 N. 33rd St., Lincoln, NE
Work continues on the longest Rails-to-Trails conversion in the nation. When complete, the Cowboy Trail will span 321 miles. Portions are open to ... Read More
57426 710th Rd, Fairbury, NE
Attractions: Nearby Rock Creek State Historical Park's Visitor Center overlooks some 350 acres of prairie hilltops, timber-studded creek bottoms, ... Read More
57426 710th Rd, Fairbury, NE
Rock Creek Station might have faded into obscurity, like so many other stage and Pony Express stations, except for one fateful day in 1861. On &nbs... 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
89261 522 Avenue, Niobrara, NE
A large population of white-tailed deer call the park home, and wild turkeys roam freely through the cabin and tent camping areas. Beaver, muskrat ... Read More
The MoPac East Recreational Trail is a 22-mile crushed limestone trail offering year-round recreation for hikers, joggers, bicyclists, horseback ri... Read More
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