April 22, 2019 by
Photography by Michael McColgan

The Omaha metro is home to many excellent mountain bike trails. Whether you’re a beginner or veteran of single-track traces, there’s something for all experience levels. Grab your helmet and don’t forget to B.Y.O.B (bring your own bike) to these off-road hotspots.


Jewel Park

cyclist at Jewel Park

Jewel Park

688-730 Combs Road
Bellevue, NE 68005
Difficulty: intermediate/advanced

Don’t let Jewel Park’s shorter, 3-mile-long loop fool you—this trail is a complete cardio workout. Nestled in the luscious foliage of Bellevue’s nature scene, you can expect steep climbs right from the beginning of this more-advanced trail. If you are up for the challenge, the easily visible trail markers and multiple log jumps on this roller coaster-like ride make Jewel Park a must-do. Plus, take a moment to say hello to the playful pups at Jewel’s popular dog park, located next to this ride’s trailhead.

Lewis and Clark Monument

cyclist at Lewis and Clark Monument

Lewis and Clark Monument

19962 Monument Road
Council Bluffs, IA 51503
Difficulty: intermediate/advanced

Take a short trip to the Iowa side of the Missouri River for this 5-mile-long ride, which begins at the historic Lewis and Clark Monument. Snap a selfie with the breathtaking westward view before you hit this single-loop trail. You can expect to test your technical skills with short, steep climbs and fast-paced fun, along with some easy-to-miss gems along this intermediate-to-advanced ride.

Platte River State Park

cyclist at Platte River State Park

Platte River State Park

14421 346th St.
Louisville, NE 68037
Difficulty: intermediate


For those willing to drive south of town to the Platte River, the network of trails at Platte River State Park is worth a trip. This park offers 8 miles of single-track mountain biking and the longest route on our list. Scenic streams and densely packed trees make a beautiful backdrop for these versatile trails, which offer rides for almost any skill level.

Swanson Park

cyclist at Swanson Park

Swanson Park

3110 Cornhusker Road
Bellevue, NE 68147
Difficulty: beginner/intermediate

If you’re looking for a ride without an abundance of difficult climbs or technical maneuvers, Swanson Park’s 6-mile trail is the place to go. Located on the outskirts of Bellevue, this spot is a short commute for Omaha-dwellers looking for a slower-paced afternoon ride. Take the single-track loop multiple times to work up a sweat, and then explore the smaller network of connecting trails that Swanson Park has to offer.

Walnut Creek Park

cyclist at Walnut Creek Park

Walnut Creek Park

11601 S. 96th St.
Papillion, NE 68046
Difficulty: intermediate

You’ll find the Walnut Creek biking trails just south of Papillion, where this 3-mile-long ride travels through open spaces and twists around low-hanging tree branches. Although most of this ride is considered beginner-friendly, cyclists should be prepared for sharp turns and challenging curves on this fun, looped circuit. Remember to keep an eye out for pedestrian cross-traffic as you speed your way through this tougher route.

Tranquility Park

cyclist at Tranquility Park

Tranquility Park

12222 W. Maple Road
Omaha, NE 68164
Difficulty: beginner


Tranquility Park is a popular go-to route for novice cyclists and those looking to brush up on their biking skills. This 6-mile-long ride is located in northwest Omaha and offers a low-impact, high-fun space to get comfortable on your wheels. Regardless of your skill level, you can grab your helmet and get going for a fun afternoon on this easier single-track trail. 


Visit mccolganphoto.com for more local mountain bike and sports photography.

This article was printed in the May 2019 edition of Omaha Magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.