Omaha, the largest city in Nebraska, is a Missouri River-side metropolitan area sometimes known as the “Gateway to the West.” This green heartland on the Iowa border is a hub of both agriculture and industry, with an up-and-coming culture influenced by its University students and young professionals. There is great running in Omaha, from riverfront trails to lakeside paths and some unique spots near the city.
Running options abound throughout Omaha. The grid street system makes it tough to run more than a block without stopping, but there are plenty of off-street options. In addition to the urban trail system spanning across Omaha, there is a spattering of lakes throughout the city that are encircled with both dirt and concrete paths. Favorites for concrete paths include the Riverfront Trail along the Missouri, the long cross-city Keystone Trail, the Elmwood Trail, the Big Papio, and the West Papio Trail. For lakeside loops, check out Zorinsky Lake, Standing Bear Lake, Chalco Hills, and Glenn Cunningham Lake. Those with a little extra time for a run can cross the Missouri River to Council Bluffs, Iowa and take a long run on the limestone Wabash Trail or circle Lake Manawa. Or, they can head south to South Bend, Nebraska for a series of great runs along the Platte River. Although locals say “if you don’t like the weather in Omaha, wait 15 minutes and it will change” most of these runs are fun and accessible year-round.
The most common method for getting around Omaha is car, although the Omaha Metro bus system is quite extensive. The great news is most of our routes can be easily accessed from the downtown areas of Midtown and Old Market, where most of the hotels and activities are located. With so many cross-city trails to choose from, it’s easy to explore Omaha with nothing more than our guide and a good pair of shoes.