Favorite walks around the city
by Sriyani Tidball
Lincoln is such a great city to walk, hike or bike, offering seemingly endless options that are not just beautiful but also offer a great workout. So here are some recommended walks, and they are definitely worth a stroll.
Wilderness Park is one of the favorite trail systems in Lincoln. Just as the name signifies, the park is mostly unkept wilderness with trails galore. The park is massive—more than 1,400 acres just five miles south of downtown Lincoln. The 6.5-mile crushed limestone Jamaica North Trail inside the park is where many like to walk. Each trail type is denoted by signs along the way, offering new places to explore. The dirt paths are marked for hiking, biking, horseback riding and other uses. Wilderness Park is a great place to experience the great outdoors and make you feel like you left town without actually doing so. You will catch a glimpse of some wildlife and get away from it all if you are lucky. Parking areas are on Pioneers Boulevard, Old Cheney Road, 14th Street and Saltillo Road.
Pioneers Park with its famed Nature Center (entrances on South Coddington and West Van Dorn) offers many walking trails, too. The park is one of Lincoln’s largest, with 668 acres of tallgrass prairie, woodlands, wetlands and a stream. It was placed on the National Register of outstanding landscape architecture in 1993. The west end leads into Pioneers Park Nature Center with its eight miles of hiking trails through woodlands, wetlands and tallgrass prairie. Go to parks.lincoln.ne.gov/naturecenter for a Nature Center trail map before you start your walk. (Dogs and other pets are not allowed in the Nature Center.)
The Haymarket area north of O Street and west of Ninth Street, near Saltdogs Stadium and around Oak Lake are places I love to stroll. The Haymarket area has been expanding and features historic buildings, art galleries and many great places to get a meal or a great cup of java. A pedestrian bridge on Eighth Street leads to the baseball park, and you can easily wind your way west and north to Oak Lake.
The Rock Island Trail—A and 29th streets to Densmore Park—has large wooded stretches and winds through Antelope Park and neighborhoods. Great for nice long walks.
The University of Nebraska-Lincoln City Campus/Antelope Valley Project areas are wonderful places for a stroll, even if you are not attending classes. On the south edge of campus, enjoy the Torn Notebook, a Claes Oldenburg sculpture at 12th and Q streets, the Sheldon Art Gallery’s outdoor sculpture garden and other campus buildings. Just north of the football stadium, go east and walk through the recently completed Antelope Valley Project on the Billy Wolff Trail. The trail also will take you to Sunken Gardens, Hamann Rose Garden and the Rotary Garden at 27th Street and Capitol Parkway.
Holmes Lake at 70th Street and Normal Boulevard offers a great walk and is particularly lovely at sunset. The 112-acre recreation area has much open space and offers recreational activities including fishing
You can continue east on the Billy Wolff Trail through wooded areas and several city parks.
MoPac Trail 84th Street and Hazelwood Drive east to Wabash, Nebraska. This rails-to-trails project winds through suburban neighborhoods, wooded areas and fields, taking you through beautiful countryside.
Looking for a trail just outside Lincoln? Try Nine Mile Prairie on Fletcher Avenue west of Northwest 48th Street. The 200-acre tall-grass prairie has a network of trails that offer a glimpse of the ecosystem that once stretched down the center of the U.S.
For a map of many of the options listed here, visit the Great Plains Trail Network at gptn.org or consult the map in the local Lincoln phonebook.