Great Walking Trails Around the City

by Sriyani Tidball, photography by Tom Tidball

Lincoln boasts of many wonderful running trails, hiking trails, walking trails and more. If you are looking for hand-curated trail maps and driving directions and detailed reviews from hikers, campers, and nature enthusiasts, we have it. As for me I am always looking for an easy walking trail and Lincoln offers many of these. For seasoned walkers and bikers looking for an unusual trail Lincoln offers more than 58 trails covering 377 miles as well as great walking avenues and locations around the city.

Enjoy these walks around Lincoln

Holmes Lake at 70th Street and Normal Boulevard offers a great walk around the Lake. The 112-acre recreation area has much open space and offers many recreational activities including fishing, golf and boating. Holmes Lake Trail, encircles the lake for over 2.31 miles. You can continue east on the Billy Wolff Trail through wooded areas and several city parks. The Holmes Lake Trail is made of crushed limestone.

However, if you are looking for a pleasant walk in the midst of plenty of trees, head to the Wilderness Park Trails. You will just love it. There is an extensive network of trails within Wilderness Park that span more than 10 miles. The trails are dirt and cross through woodlands and around beautiful streams. Trails are open to cyclists as well as hikers. Just as the name signifies, the park is mostly unkept wilderness with trails galore. Wilderness Park is massive and located just five miles south of downtown Lincoln with over 1,400 acres. The crushed limestone 6.5-mile Jamaica North Trail located within the park, is where many like to walk. Each trail type is denoted by signs along the trails. The dirt paths are marked for hiking, biking, horseback riding, and multiple uses. The park is a great place to enjoy the countryside without actually leaving town. On a lucky day you will catch a glimpse of some wildlife too. Parking areas are on Pioneers Boulevard, Old Cheney, 14th Street and Saltillo Road.

Pioneers Park, not too far away, and the 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 tall grass 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 Helen Boosalis Trail runs for nearly four miles across the city from the Indian Village neighborhood to the Edgewood Shopping Center. The urban pathway connects several residential neighborhoods and showcases lots of homes and gardens. A nice way to see life in Lincoln without intruding on anyone’s privacy. This trail is used by cyclists as well as pedestrians as it connects parks to neighborhoods.

The Rock Island Trail from A and 29th streets to Densmore Park is a trail with large wooded stretches winding through Antelope Park and residential neighborhoods. Great for nice long walks.

The Highlands Trail offers a pleasant, 3-mile loop through Lincoln’s Highlands neighborhood. Supporting its role as a community connector, this paved trail crosses Nebraska Technology Park on its south end. It’s a loop trail for hikers who prefer to see all new scenery for the entirety of their walks—you don’t double back during your hike. 

The Haymarket area located north of O Street west of 9th Street offers you a walk past the amazing Salt Dogs’ stadium and around Oak Lake which envelops the historic Haymarket area, that is ever expanding. You can enjoy many historic buildings, art galleries and great places to get a meal or an excellent cup of java. Make sure you take the pedestrian bridge on 8th Street that leads to the baseball stadium.

The University of Nebraska City Campus and the Antelope Valley Project is a wonderful place for a walk, even if you are not attending classes. While 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 and other campus buildings. Just north of the football stadium, go east and walk through the Antelope Valley Project on the Billy Wolff Trail. You can continue on this trail, which will take you to the Sunken, Rose and Rotary Gardens at 27th and Capital Parkway.

The MoPac Trail extends from 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 country. It’s hard to believe how beautiful the natural landscape is on this walk.

Looking for a trail just outside Lincoln? Then try the Nine Mile Prairie from Fletcher Avenue, west of West 48th Street. The 200-acre tall-grass prairie has a network of trails that offers 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/. 

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