10 Memorable Walks in Lincoln

If you love to walk for exercise or pleasure, Lincoln offers seemingly endless options that are  not just beautiful, but also a great workout. A variety of scenic locations dot the city, most with great walking trails just for you. Before setting out on any Lincoln hike, make sure you have adequate water, and in the summer, a little sunscreen would be a good idea. More than most cities in the country, Lincoln is full of scenic parks, paths and trails. Lincoln’s park and recreation system boasts 131 parks, 134 miles of trails, seven recreation centers and five golf courses, enjoyed every single day residents. We have listed just our favorite 10 walks and they are definitely worth a stroll, but you may discover many more as you explore Lincoln.

1.The University of Nebraska City Campus the Antelope Valley Project and the north end of the Billy Wolff Trail. Strolling the UNL City Campus, enjoy the Torn Notebook, a Claes Oldenburg sculpture (Q and 12th streets), the Sheldon Art Gallery with surrounding outdoor sculpture garden, other campus buildings, the Love Library gardens, and Broyhill Fountain at the Student Union. Just north of the football stadium, go east and walk through the recently completed Antelope Valley Project on the Billy Wolff Trail. 

2.The Sunken, Rose and Rotary Gardensat 27th and Capital Parkway is breath-taking during the summer, when the flowers are in full bloom. The views are great all through the year, but especially at sunset. There are various kinds of trees along the trails, and it stays it cool in many areas even on hot days. The skies are big and easy to see, which makes it great for at sunset and for even for star gazing. 

3. Pioneers Park and Nature Center, entrances on South Coddington and West Van Dorn. The Park is one of Lincoln’s largest, designed by Ernst Herminghaus and placed on the National Register of outstanding landscape architecture in 1993. Its trails wind past sculptures, ponds, a playground and a picnic area. The west end leads into Pioneers Park Nature Center with its eight miles of hiking trails through woodlands, wetlands and tall grass prairie. Gardens and exhibit animals invite pausing for a closer look. Within Pioneers Park’s 668 acres you will find 8 miles of trails winding through tallgrass prairie, woodlands, wetlands and along a stream. Visitors to the park will also see bison, elk and white-tailed deer. Go to parks.lincoln.ne.gov/naturecenter for a Nature Center trail map. (Dogs and other pets are not allowed in the Nature Center).

4.Wilderness Parkparking areas on Pioneers Boulevard, Old Cheney, 14th Street and Saltillo Road. The trails of this linear park are mostly wooded, stretching along Salt Creek and offering many opportunities to view birds and other wildlife. Some bridges are out but the trail is continuous from Pioneers to 14th. Trails in Wilderness Park are open from the north end to South 14th Street. There are horse trails east of South 14th Street (east side of Salt Creek) and a hiking trail north of Saltillo Road and east of Salt Creek. 

5.The Haymarket Parkarea north of O Street, west of 9th Street, the Salt Dog’s Stadium and around Oak Lake. The Haymarket area features historic buildings, art galleries and many great places to get a meal or snack, and is a concert venue, a sports venue and a parking venue. A pedestrian bridge on 8th Street leads to the baseball stadium and you can easily wind your way west and north to Oak Lake.

6.The Rock Island Trail A & 29th Street to Densmore Park. This trail with large wooded stretches winds through Antelope Park and neighborhoods.

7.Holmes Lake & the Billy Wolff TrailEast 70th and Normal Boulevard. Walk around Holmes Lake (particularly nice at sunset) and continue east on the Billy Wolff Trail through wooded areas and several city parks. It’s fun to walk on the lake or go ice skating, when it freezes over in the Winter! There are opportunities for kayaking or canoeing during the other three seasons. There are benches along the trail to rest, and bridges to cross with stunning views. There are lots of ducks, geese and other birds, and occasionally (but rarely), other animals to see as well. The trail is a comfortable walk for all ages, and it is wonderful to see families taking a walk and enjoying the outdoors together.

8.The Tierra/Williamsburg Trail 27th and Highway 2 south past Pine Lake Road. Another trail that winds through lovely neighborhoods past many small ponds.

9.MoPac Trail84th and Hazelwood Drive east to Wabash, Nebraska. This rails-to-trails project winds through suburban neighborhoods, wooded areas and fields taking you through beautiful country.

10.Jamaica North TrailPioneers Boulevard east of 1st Street, south to Saltillo Road, 26th & beyond. This rails-to-trails path runs along Wilderness Park, has long wooded stretches and offers rich possibilities for wildlife viewing. It continues as the Homestead Trail, which will soon be completed all the way to the Kansas border and beyond.

Looking for a trail just outside Lincoln? Then try taking a hike at the Nine Mile Prairie off Fletcher Avenue west of West 48th. 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 www.gptn.org/ or consult the map in the Lincoln phone book.  

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