Trails Are Calling
by Becky Seth
There is a reason that Lincoln has been recognized as both a bike and walk friendly community. Beckoning both residents and visitors, commuters and recreation-seekers, the 131 miles of trails are consistently being upgraded and expanded. The Jayne Synder Trails Center on Union Plaza at 250 No. 21st Street serves as a hub for many of the city’s trails.
The Billy Wolff Trail is central to the system. Jog, bike or stroll from the Antelope Valley Project and Union Plaza, past the Sunken, Rose and Rotary Gardens, Antelope Park and the Lincoln Children’s Zoo, to Holmes Lake Recreation Area and beyond. Along the way you can pick up most of the other city trails.
North of the Trails Center, the MoPac Trail leads east through residential areas, out of the city and through woods, fields and several small communities. Or pick up the John Dietrich Trail that extends all the way to the city’s Mahoney Park. Heading south, pick up the shady Rock Island Trail that ends in Densmore Park, or the Tierra/Williamsburg Trail that winds through lovely neighborhoods.
From Haymarket Park take the Salt Creek Levee Trail for more wonderful destinations. Continuing south, reach the Jamaica North Trail, a rails-to-trails project that follows the edge of Wilderness Park with its possibilities for wildlife viewing, and continues as the Homestead Trail winding through the countryside all the way to the town of Beatrice. Or branch off on the Bison Trail that leads to beautiful Pioneers Park and the Nature Center at its west end.
The trails within the city’s parks are well worth exploring also. The most extensive and wildest of these is the maze of hiker, biker and equestrian trails crisscrossing Wilderness Park, a long, linear wooded area along Salt Creek. The walk around Homes Lake is particularly lovely at sunset. The trails within Pioneers Park connect many of the lovely features of the area and the 8 miles of hiking trails within its Nature Center wind through tallgrass prairie, wetlands and woodlands.
Recently placed color-coded signs are particularly helpful to visitors to Lincoln’s trails and match the map that can be picked up at bike shops and the Lincoln Parks and Recreation Office at 27th and A streets. As you use the trails, metro birding signs alert users to areas where sightings of our feathered friends are most likely.
Whether you wish to reach a destination, get some serious exercise or just a breath of fresh air, Lincoln’s trails offer many opportunities for a unique view of the city.