Fall is the perfect time to enjoy the outdoors with the cool crisp air and brilliant colors everywhere. Just a hop, skip and jump away from South Park Apartments is the South Omaha Walking Trail.
The South Omaha Trail is a 2-mile rail-trail that connects the Keystone Trail, Karen Park, Karen Western Elementary School and businesses in central Omaha, just south of Interstate 80. The trail is built on a former Union Pacific rail line and has a slight uphill grade when running from west to east. An old train bridge that cross S. 60th Street (just south of F Street) has been incorporated into the trail. There is a considerable amount of wildlife on the trail, including deer, woodchuck and many types of birds.
At busy S. 50th Street, near South Park Apartments, the city recently installed a pedestrian hybrid beacon signal, which allows trail users to push a button to initiate a beacon and thus alert drivers to their presence. Future plans include extending the trail farther east to the Field Club Trail, another rail-trail in midtown Omaha. The connection will complete the much needed east-west route in the city.
Some of our residents here at South Park rode this trail for the first time last week. Said there are lots of trees to shield you from the wind and provide lots of shade and they are brilliant right now with fall colors. As a bonus, there are mulberry trees along the way that provide a great snack.
Omaha’s trail system is appropriately called Paths of Discovery – each twist, each turn, winds through a different part of the city. Since 1995, more than 85 miles of paved, interconnected trails have been developed, creating a nature wonderland for walkers, joggers, bicyclists, skaters and cross-country skiers. The system is also accessible to people with disabilities.
The backbone of the ever-expanding trail system is the 24-mile long Keystone Trail, the longest and busiest trail in the metro area. It passes through parks, farmland, residential and industrial areas. It is paved and very flat except for its underpasses, which allow users to safely cross major intersections. TheWest Papio Trail may be the most scenic of all the trails. The concrete path winds along the West Papio Creek, through a number of neighborhoods, parks and recreation areas such as Zorinskly Lake. Zorinsky Lake itself offers more than seven miles of trails, plenty of picnic areas and is a great spot for boating, fishing and bird watching.
The 144th Street Trail stretches up and down hills following the grade of the street and connects to Standing Bear Lake, popular for fishing and for flying radio-controlled model airplanes.
The Big Papio Trail begins at Hefflinger Park, which offers a BMX bike track and a specially designed dog park featuring a five-acre “All Dogs Area” and a separate two-acre area for small dogs. The Big Papio also connects to Cancer Survivor’s Park, specifically designed to be an inspirational retreat to promote the understanding of and the fight against cancer.
The Field Club Trail is a 1.72-mile inner-city trail along an abandoned railroad right-of-way, featuring railroad track cuts, ravines and foliage.
The Omaha Riverfront Trail is a key component to the city’s trail system and connects some of the city’s most popular parks, such as Heartland of America Park, Miller’s Landing and NP Dodge Park. The centerpiece is the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge. This one-of-a-kind suspension bridge spans over the Missouri River and connects nearly 150 miles of nature trails on both the Nebraska and Iowa sides of the river.
More than 105 miles of Metro Area Trail systems are marked for the safety of trail users. You’ll find eight-inch round markers at each mile of the trail and five-inch markers every tenth of a mile.