Browse Common Topics
Search our Website

Featured National Recreation Trails

Hosted by

Every kind of trail activity is represented in the listing of designated NRTs. Besides hiking and bicycling, the system includes water trails, motorized routes, snow tracks, greenways, and equestrian paths. The NRT program showcases the diversity of trails across America, from our cities and suburbs to the deserts, waterways, and high mountains.


Oak Creek National Recreation Trail , Nebraska

This rail-trail along Oak Creek links communities on the Nebraska plains and provides a picturesque setting for activities including hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding .


Nebraska Map

photo of river and trees

Looking across the river at Fort Niobrara National Wildlife Refuge

The Oak Creek Trail runs 12 miles from Valparaiso, Nebraska to one mile south of Brainard, Nebraska. The trail runs along natural prairie grass, majestic oak woodlands and highland vistas.

The corridor was once occupied by the Union Pacific Railroad but was taken out of service, using the Federal Rail Bank process in 1993. The Lower Platte South Natural Resources District currently manages this trail.

The trail passes through two small towns, Valparaiso and Loma, Nebraska (filming site for “To Wong Fu, Thanks for Everything!" - Julie Newmar). The trail ends one mile south of Brainard. There are plans for its extension into Brainard.

Oak Creek Trail provides a picturesque experience along Oak Creek including native prairie, oak woodlands, and breathtaking views of Oak Creek as it meanders through the rolling hills. It is one of Nebraska’s most versatile and popular recreational trails. The 13-mile corridor includes a limestone surface for bicyclers and hikers and a natural surface trail for horseback riders. A bluebird trail parallels much of the main trail.

photo of boats on river

Paddlers on the Niobrara River


The trail serves surrounding communities, including Omaha and Lincoln. The trail serves as an example of how rural communities can take advantage of a trail providing trailheads, restaurants, and gas stations for trail users’ enjoyment and convenience.

The land was acquired through local efforts of trail supporters, construction of the limestone and bridges were financed by Federal grants, and the natural trail by completed by volunteers. The Lower Platte South Natural Resources District now holds title to the corridor and is responsible for on-going maintenance and improvements.

The American Discovery Trail (ADT) also uses as its route through Nebraska the Oak Creek Trail between Valparaiso and Brainard. See more about the ADT through Nebraska at:

The Oak Creek Trail is one of three rural railtrails featured in a study of to determine the impact of rural rail to trail conversions on small town residents, small town businesses and property owners. The author, Donald L. Greer, Ph.D., was with the University of Nebraska at Omaha (October, 2001.) See a discussion of issues and findings from Nebraska Rural Trails: Three Studies of Trail Impact along with links to download a pdf of the study.

is responsible for maintaining and developing approximately 50 miles of recreational trails along three former railroad corridors; the MoPac East Trail, the Oak Creek Trail, and the Homestead Trail. Voluntary trail passes are available at several sites along all three. The NRD needs your help to keep the trails at their best. Funds from voluntary trail passes are used exclusively for maintaining existing trails and leaves the NRD more funds to spend on major trail improvements and extensions.


For more information:

Lower Platte South Natural Resources District
3125 Portia Street, P.O. Box 83581
Lincoln, NE 68501
Phone : 402-476-2729


photo photo photo

trail noteWe frequently add NRT information, photos and maps to these pages. Send suggestions and information requests to American Trails. Research additional NRTs in the NRT database. Trail managers can update online trail information in the NRT database. You may also e-mail information on minor changes or to update Featured NRT pages.



trail database


Facebook Twitter

Stay up to date on legislative issues for trails, follow us on Facebook and Twitter.


trail database

The on-line database has details on the currently designated National Recreation Trails. The NRT Program online is hosted by American Trails:


The NTTP Online Calendar connects you with courses, conferences, and trail-related training


Promote your trail through the National Recreation Trails Program


PDF  Some of our documents are in PDF format and require free Adobe Acrobat Reader software.
  Download Acrobat Reader


section 508 logo American Trails and NTTP support accessibility with Section 508: read more.