NEBRASKA

Nebraska has a number of trails with minimal obstacles.  Some are very easy and others are wheelchair accessible.  Here are just a few of them.
These links were found through Internet search.  I would love to have some first-hand recommendations.  With your help, we can share our knowledge with disabled people everywhere and also increase awareness of the need for more accessibility. Please e-mail me with your suggestions using the form in the sidebar.

Federal
State
Local
Private
Miscellaneous

Federal

  • Nebraska National Forest and Grassland    
    P
    ine Ridge National Recreation Area as described by SummitPost.org.  And here in Oh! Ranger.com.  This brochure  describes the Pine Ridge trails in the National Forest.    Parts of the Nebraska National Forest are in South Dakota.
    For questions about trails in the Oglala National Grassland or Nebraska National Forest you can call Mike Watts at 308-432-0390 or the Chadron Office at 308-432-0300.
    HikerwithcaneHere are some suggestions from Mike Watts.  Use discretion – remember that one person’s Easy is another’s Challenging.
    “……..a few sections of trail and areas to hike that are scenic and relatively easy.
    1. Soldier Creek Campground, South Fork Trailhead. The Trooper Trail follows the drainage of the South Fork of Soldier Creek for about 3 miles before it heads up into the hills. This part of the trail is relatively level with rolling terrain. There are a few short steep sections and a few small creek crossings. This section of the trail is in the Soldier Creek Wilderness.
    2. Soldier Creek Campground, Middle Fork Trailhead. A two track unmarked trail follows the Middle Fork of Soldier Creek drainage. The two track enters the Wilderness after 1 ½ miles and continues for about another 1 ½ miles before it heads up into the hills. This is level to gently rolling. A variation of this is to take a two track trail that forks in the sidebar up the North Fork of Soldier Creek about ¼ mile from the campground. This 2 track is relatively level for about 1 mile before it intersects the Boots and Saddle Trail.
    3. From Chadron State Park take the paved loop road to the top of the loop. Take the gravel road to the Black Hills Overlook. After approximately 2 miles the road dead ends at a parking lot on Forest Service land. From the parking lot take the Black Hills Overlook Trail. The trail follows ridges through an old burn area and is level to gently rolling with a few short steep pitches. After about 1 mile the trail begins to get steeper as it drops in elevation just before the trail forks. The right hand fork will take you down to the Chadron State Park Campground. The other fork will take you to down to the Outrider Trailhead on Forest Service. Both of these forks are approximately 1 mile.
    4. Approximately 5 miles south of Chadron on Highway 385 turn east on King Canyon Road. Continue east across a cattle guard onto Forest Service Road 733. After about ½ mile on Road 733 a high clearance or 4WD vehicle is recommended. Approximately 1 ½ miles from the start of Road 733 at the top of a hill you can access a section of the Pine Ridge Trail that follows a ridge through an old burn area. Parking is available next to the road. Follow the trail to the north for about 1 ½ miles. This section of trail is mostly level to gently rolling. There are a couple of short steep pitches. After about a mile when you reach a fork in the trail take the left fork out to an overlook.”

  • Oglala National Grassland  as described in the Dawes County, NE, site.  As described in Britannica. The Grassland is in both South Dakota and Nebraska.  The headquarters is in Chadron, NE but the visitor center is in Wall, South Dakota.  Two trails are mentioned but with no indication of difficulty.
    Hikerwithcane?  The Toadstool Geologic Area  in the grassland has a one mile interpretive loop. However, according to NebraskaTravels.com,  it might be too difficult to include on this site.  Mike Watts of the Nebraska National Forests and Grasslands says that the first 1/3 mile of the trail used to be accessible, but it has suffered a lot of erosion.
    For questions about trails in the Oglala National Grassland or Nebraska National Forest you could call Mike Watts at 308-432-0390 or the Chadron Office at 308-432-0300.

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State

  • Nebraska State Parks and Recreation Areas    Map of Parks  and  Map of Trails
    These are two tabs of the same site.  It is a searchable map which lets you choose what surface you are looking for such as asphalt, concrete, compacted aggregate etc.  Links will take you to each park’s website.   There are many paved trails in Nebraska.   Unfortunately, I am not finding any references to whether the trails are wheelchair accessible or not.
    “To receive a 52-page, full-color Nebraska State Park booklet and any other information, please call toll-free 1- 800-826-PARK (7275).  Just leave a message with your name and complete address and request for information.”

  • Fort Kearney State Recreation Area
    Wheelchair AccessibleAs described on Nebraska Birding Trails, there is a “… Hike/Bike Trail … a mile east of the Fort and is a well maintained, handicapped-accessible trail across the Platte River on a former railroad bridge. It provides an excellent view of the river and the woods along its banks and islands.”  No length given.

  • Indian Cave State Park   Brochure  The superintendent at the Park, Kevin Holliday, writes that although the park’s location on the  Missouri river bluffs  makes most of the trails very strenuous, they “do have easier and more flat trails within the park. Our scenic wetland trail is mostly flat and also a couple woodland trails are less strenuous than most others. The park has maintained concrete roads that you can travel throughout the park and experience what the park has to offer.”  Call 402-883-2575 for information.

  • Pawnee State Recreation Area has 2544 acres of which 740 are the lake.
    HikerwithcaneThere are six miles of trails.  Kristi replied to my inquiry that, “The trails at Pawnee SRA for the most part are good for guests of all ages.   The trails are not wheel chair accessible.”  Call 402-796-2362 to learn more.

  • Ponca State Park  Reviewed on AllTrails.com  Described on StateParks.com
    Wheelchair Accessible
    There is a “paved hike/bike trail at the park that is easy and wheelchair accessible. It is a 1 mile trail that starts at the Missouri National Recreational River Resource and Education Center within the park.”  Thank you, Jessica, Outdoor Educator at Ponca SP.

  • Smith Falls State Park  Park Brochure    Both Trip Advisor and Yelp give it good reviews.
    Wheelchair AccessibleThe trail to the falls is fine hard packed gravel and is wheelchair accessible.  Call 402-376-1306 for information.

  • Nebraska State Park Trails  This is a list of all the trails in the state parks with lengths, but not difficulty ratings.

  • Wildcat Hills State Recreation Area    NE Game & Parks  308-436-3777
    HikerwithcaneFrom “Oh Ranger”:  “More than three miles of nature trails wind through the canyons and rocky bluffs, with four main trailheads and foot bridges on three trails. The primary trail is located below the large shelterhouse and is accessible to hikers of all ages and abilities.”

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Local

  • Lincoln
    HikerwithcanePioneers Park Nature Center  has “eight miles of hiking trails [that] wind through various habitats and take visitors past non-releasable raptor exhibits, as well as bison, elk, and white-tailed deer herds.”   Trail map  The website does not give accessibility information, so call them at 402-441-7895.

  • Omaha  has trail system of more than 85 miles of paved, interconnected trails.  The system is also accessible to people with disabilities.
    Wheelchair Accessible Keystone Trail is 24 miles long and “….passes through parks, farmland, residential and industrial areas.”
    Wheelchair AccessibleWest Papio Trail is 16 miles of concrete path that “winds along the West Papio Creek, through a number of neighborhoods, parks and recreation areas such as Zorinskly Lake.”
    Wheelchair AccessibleThe Riverfront Trail is in three sections totalling 20.1 miles

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Private

  • Wheelchair AccessibleCrane Trust Nature Center  on the south side of the Alda interchange on I80, near Grand Island,  has prairie, river-edge and riparian forest trails.  A trail from building over the pedestrian bridges to the edge of the prairie is handicapped accessible.  Call 308-382-1820 for information.

  • Fontenelle Forest  1,400 acres near Bellevue.  Trail Map
    Wheelchair AccessibleGiford Memorial Boardwalk is a 3/8 mile path leading to an observation tower overlooking the Great Marsh.
    Wheelchair AccessibleRiverview Boardwalk is a one mile loop from the Nature Center.

    Neale Woods Nature Center in Omaha is owned and managed by Fontenelle Forest.   Map  Described on Nebraska Birding Trails.  Looks like there are easy walks there.  Call 402-453-5615 for information.

  • Rowe Sanctuary  is “dedicated to the conservation of sandhill cranes, whooping cranes and other migratory birds, and their habitat along the Platte River in southcentral Nebraska.”
    HikerwithcaneAccording to Office Manager Kent Skaggs, “We do have one trail that is approximately 1/2 mile in length that would be easy for elderly walkers.  However, it does not have a surface of any type (just a mowed path) and probably wouldn’t be appropriate for most wheelchairs.  We do have one wheelchair accessible viewing blind along this trail, but we typically transport individuals via a golf cart to the blind during the time period we conduct viewings to see the sandhill cranes (March – early April).”

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Miscellaneous

  • Cowboy Recreation and Nature Trail is a 195 mile trail/trail between Valentine and Norfolk. Plans are to continue it west another 126 miles to Chadron.  I’ve been told that the part to Valentine is wheelchair accessible.  However there is some flood damage near Clearwater.  More information about the trail  Kirk Nelson of  Nebraska Game and Parks Commission writes that,  “The best locations for wheelchair use of the trail is in the towns and villages along the way which include Norfolk, Neligh, O’Neil, Bassett, Ainsworth and Valentine. There are accessible toilets in Norfolk, O’Neil and Valentine. Most of the trail outside the urban areas is rough being surfaced with crushed limestone verses concrete in most of the cities and villages.”  He suggests that wheelchair users “…start in the towns and work your way out of town. That way [you] can “test drive” the crushed limestone surface and turn around if [you] have problems.”  He says you will get into nature quickly after leaving the towns.  It is a very rural trail.   Nebraska Game and Parks phone number is  402-471-0641.

  • The Rails-to-Trails Conservancy lists wheelchair accessible trails in Nebraska.

  •  White River Trail is a rail/trail going 3 miles from Crawford to Fort Robinson State Park.  Here is a map on Trailsnet.com.  It is not included on the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy’s list of wheelchair accessible trails in Nebraska, so use some caution in planning.

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