This past weekend in Lincoln was a blast…okay, spending two days in a garage driving nearly 500 2” pan head screws for a slat wall in near 100 degree heat was not a blast but I did get to ride. Specifically, I spent a morning on large chunks of the Homestead Trail and Jamaica North Trail southwest of the city.
For a lot of people this is the Homestead Trail:
Look it up “Homestead Trail” on Google and this is likely to be in almost all of the images. Yes, bridges and century old ironworks are cool but this bridge is about a mile south of the trailhead. It is not like people are really getting deep into the trail to get their shots for Instagram.
The trail runs thirty miles almost due south from the trailhead on Saltillo Road in Lincoln to Beatrice. I rode about halfway to Beatrice before a headwind really picked up and I started to get concerned about the rising temperature. It was already in the low 80s by mid-morning.
The ride reminded me a lot of what the Cedar Valley Nature Trail used to be like before it was paved all the way into Center Point. It’s not good or bad that the trail is paved. It is just different. The surface is a thin layer of crushed limestone—yay, limestone dust in every crevice—over packed dirt. There were very few ruts and it did not seem like anyone had been out when the trail was wet to cause any trouble, which is more than I can say for some of the unpaved sections of the CVNT north of Center Point. Whoever rode their fat bike on the trail and put a wandering two inch wide rut in the trail for about three miles can suck a fat one. I digress…
At about the mid-point of my ride the Homestead Trail ran parallel to Highway 77 which is a four lane divided highway from Lincoln to Beatrice. You will find yourself exposed to some serious wind in this section. Be advised.
The Homestead Trail is connected to the rest of Lincoln’s trail via the Jamaica North Trail. The Jamaica North Trail runs a little more than 6 miles north and south on the west side of Lincoln. The southern portion is crushed limestone like the Homestead Trail and the northern section is paved. I did not ride on any pavement for the portion I rode.
On a hot day this was a nice ride because it was shaded by thick vegetation. The gnats were not even that bad on the day that I rode. It was even too hot to eat a Runza.
Right now the biggest issue with this great trail pair is that most of the southern portion of Lincoln is isolated from the trail via active railroad tracks. There is a fundraising effort underway to build a link connecting these trails to the existing Rock Island Trail near Densmore Park. One can never have enough trails.
If you find yourself heading to Lincoln grab your adventure bike and get out on the trails. The Great Plains Trails Network has some excellent maps to guide you on your way.
Remember, where the pavement ends is where unlimited possibility begins.