United States

Omaha, NE

A Comprehensive Guide to Running in Omaha

Raymond Bucko

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.

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Omaha is a place of big weather variations, with cold winters and hot summers. In the height of summer, average high temperatures climb to near 90F (31C), although it does cool off reasonably at night. In winter, average nightly lows dip into the teens (-12C), with high temps around freezing. Fall and spring offer more moderate temperatures. Winters tend to be quite dry, with occasional snow. Summers are rainier often coming in the form of thunderstorms. In the spring, keep an eye to the sky as thunderstorms can be severe.

Most lodging in Omaha is situated around Midtown and Old Market. Find info on VisitOmaha.com.

Peak Performance has several locations throughout Omaha. They are super helpful with route advice, and each store hosts group runs and running happy hours at least once a week. Group Run Calendar

Fleet Feet Sports also has an Omaha location and a running club which meets Wednesdays at 6:30 pm. Their staff is incredibly knowledgeable with routes as well!  Group Runs Calendar: http://www.fleetfeetlincoln.com/calendar

Looking for road or trail races in this area? Find them on RaceRaves, the best online race calendar and reviews community for runners!

Find races in Omaha, NE

Check out the Omaha World Herald’s article on upcoming races to watch out for.