Motorcycle Rides

Best Motorcycle Roads and Destinations in Nebraska, United States

Best Motorcycle Roads and Destinations in Nebraska, United States

Table of Contents

1. Introduction

Given the title of “the Cornhusker State,” Nebraska may have a relatively flat topography that made it possible for early settlers to grow bountiful crops of corn. However, the terrain has enough diversity that the roads can still provide a thrill for motorcyclists. Divided into two regions, the Dissected till Plains is made up of rolling hills and the major cities while the Great Plains has prairies that stretch across for miles. Because much of the landscape is smooth and amiable, novice motorcyclists will feel comfortable riding at their own pace. But veteran motorcyclists can still get an adrenaline rush traversing the roads that travel over the more uneven territory in Nebraska.

This article will hopefully give you helpful suggestions on the best motorcycle roads and destinations in Nebraska along with supplementary information on this state’s motorcycle laws and possible luggage options.

2. Roads and Destinations in Nebraska

2.1 Schramm State Park Run

Distance: 15 miles
Time: 20 minutes
Start: Gretna
End: Louisville

While it is a relatively short ride to Schramm State Park, there are plenty of twisty roads to keep you engaged. When you get to the recreational area, there are plenty of activities for you to do including hiking, fishing, or having a picnic.

While exploring Schramm State Park, you can Paleozoic marine fossils preserved in the area. If you wish to see the local marine wildlife, you can check out the exhibits at the Ak-Sar Ben Aquarium.

2.2 Highway 2 Sandhills Journey Scenic Byway

Distance: 452 miles
Time: 7 hours 9 minutes
Start: NE-71, Harrison
End: Lincoln

The first leg of your journey starts at the northern border between Nebraska and South Dakota. As you head out, you will pass through sandhill grasslands, rolling hills, and the Nebraska National Forest.

Continuing on your way, you will pass through the Ogala and Buffalo Gap National Grasslands. There are also plenty of towns that lie along the route including Alliance and Broken Bow.

Alliance has vestiges of the German immigrants who built this fine town thanks to its many vistas. Broken Bow is the center of cattle shipping so you should be able to see (and smell) plenty of farm animals.

2.3 Highway 75 Along the Missouri River

Distance: 97 miles
Time: 1 hour 57 minutes
Start: South Sioux City
End: Omaha

Riding alongside the Missouri River, you will travel along what is referred to as the Lewis & Clark Scenic Byway. The road follows closely the path that the famous explorers used and you may even come across their old campsites.

While you are still in South Sioux City, you can visit the Spirit of Siouxland Statue, spend time relaxing at the Siouxland Freedom Park or check out the Lewis and Clark Interpretative Center.

2.4 K-7 to Rulo

Distance: 86 miles
Time: 1 hour 52 minutes
Start: Bonner Springs, KS
End: Rulo, NE

This route cuts through both Kansas and Nebraska. Rather than hurrying to get to Nebraska, take the time to check out the sights in Leavenworth. You can take pictures of the old carousels at the C.W. Parker Carousel Museum or admire the statue of the cavalryman at the Buffalo Soldier Memorial Park.

As you get closer to the border between the two states, you can find rich history in the town of Atchinson. You could go see the Amelia Earhart Birthplace Museum, the International Forest of Friendship, or the Riverfront and Independence Parks.

Your final destination will be in Rulo after successfully getting into Nebraska’s territory. Stop at the Bar and Grill at the Missouri River Bridge and treat yourself to a fried catfish dinner.

2.5 Backroad Hills

Distance: 11 miles
Time: 18 minutes
Start: Fort Calhoun
End: Blair

Close to Fort Calhoun, you can go see the natural scenery in the Fort Atkinson State Historical Park. During the first half of your journey, you will be going up and down rolling hills with light curves that will allow you to leisurely take in the sights.

For the rest of your journey to Blair, the rolling hills will become drastically taller and the turns you will have to make will become even sharper. It is recommended you exercise caution as the route passes by local farms and the roads can be full of gravel.

When you get to Blair, you can check out the Black Elk-Neihardt Park. You can also visit the bars and grills to replenish yourself and the local gas stations to refuel your motorcycle if you have been traveling non-stop through Nebraska.

2.6 The Platte River Run

Distance: 123 miles
Time: 2 hours 7 minutes
Start: Ogallala
End: Scottsbluff

In Ogallala, you can observe reenactments of gunfights reminiscent of the Old West in front of the infamous Front Street. Pressing on, you can check out the beachfront and fishing sites at the edges of Lake McConaughy or “Nebraska’s Ocean.”

This route also surprisingly has a lot of famous rock formations including the Courthouse, Jail, and Chimney Rocks. As you pass by these landmarks in the order presented, they serve as markers indicating you are getting closer to Scottsbluff.

Referred to as the “hill that is hard to go around,” the Scotts Bluff National Monument presents a challenging final obstacle that motorcyclists must overcome before reaching Scottsbluff.

2.7 U.S. Route 20 in Nebraska

Distance: 273 miles
Time: 4 hours 24 minutes
Start: Valentine, NE
End: Douglas, WY

This route cuts through both Wyoming and Nebraska. Because there are not many gas stations or small towns along the route, it is suggested you stock on supplies before setting out from Nebraska.

As you head west towards Douglas, the natural scenery should be full of rocky outcroppings, mini-mountains, and sandhills. If you are lucky, you will catch sight of the local wildlife including pronghorn sheep, mule deers, and coyotes.

2.8 Highway 12 in Nebraska

Distance: 65 miles
Time: 1 hour 6 minutes
Start: South Sioux City
End: Crofton

As you leave South Sioux City, you will pass by the Danish Alps State Recreation Area. When you stop in Ponca, you can admire nature in the Ponca State Park, the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve, and the Dorothy Pecaut Nature Center.

Continuing on your way, you will traverse over rolling hills that give you pristine views of the rural scenery. You will be able to visit Lewis and Clark State Park during your trip. At Crofton, you can visit the Lewis and Clark Pulley Museum and the Gavin’s Point Dam.

2.9 Devil’s Den & Brewery Tour

Distance: 197 miles
Time: 3 hours 30 minutes
Start: Broken Bow
End: Broken Bow

For the first half of your journey, you will traverse through the outskirts of the Sandhills. You will eventually come across the Devil’s Den, a two-lane paved road that has been popularly used for time road races.

If you are interested in sampling Nebraska’s drinks, then this is the route for you. You will be visiting the state’s most famous breweries: Kinkaider Brewery in Broken Bow, Scratchtown Brewery in Ord, and Bootleg Brewery in Taylor.

If you stop by a tavern in Arnold, the walls are decorated with photos of drivers who had won the Devil’s Den races.

2.10 Ponca Road

Distance: 22 miles
Time: 41 minutes
Start: Omaha
End: Fort Calhoun

While still in Omaha, you should take the time to admire the local attractions including the Henry Doorly Zoo, the Lauritzen Gardens Omaha’s Botanical Center, and the St. Cecilia’s Cathedral.

Heading northward while riding alongside the Missouri River, most of your surroundings will be prairies with the occasional lake and swampland. Because the roads are well-maintained, you can look forward to a slow and leisurely ride.

As you continue to head toward Fort Calhoun, you will catch sight of the Boyer Chute National Wildlife Refuge and the Fort Atkinson State Historical Park.

2.11 Loup Rivers Scenic Byway

Distance: 140 miles
Time: 2 hours 26 minutes
Start: Dunning
End: Grand Island

Named after the Upper, Middle, and Lower Loup Rivers that run through Central Nebraska, you will travel deep into the heart of the Sandhills. Much of your surroundings will include stretches of farmland, barns, silos, and grass-covered dunes.

While you are still close to Dunning, you can check out the 2nd Wind Ranch to see windmills of different shapes and sizes, some of which are at least a century old. At Burwell, you can explore the caverns and tunnels of the Happy Jack Peak and Chalk Mine.

3. Motorcycle Laws in Nebraska

3.1 Motorcycle Helmet Laws

As Nebraska has a universal motorcycle helmet policy, all riders of every age must wear a motorcycle helmet when operating the vehicle. Your motorcycle helmet must have been designed by the Snell Memorial Foundation and satisfies the safety parameters provided by the U.S. Department of Transportation. Riding while wearing an illegal helmet will not only result in trouble with the local police but also deprive you of proper protection for your head and neck.

Two types of motorcycle helmets satisfy the criteria stated above: the three-quarter and full-face helmets. Listed below are the requirements and features that your motorcycle helmet must have:

  • Has a Department of Transportation (DOT) sticker
  • Can be fitted around your head snugly
  • No visible signs of damage
  • Has a face shield with no scratches (Full-face helmet only)
  • Requires separate eye protection with no scratches (Three-quarter helmet only)
  • Has a hard and durable outer shell that is shatter-resistant
  • Gives you a clear, peripheral view
  • Can be fastened with a neck- or chin-strap
  • Allows airflow without fogging up
  • Can allow you to wear sunglasses or goggles underneath

3.2 Motorcycle Passenger Laws

Nebraska does not have a minimum age requirement for motorcycle passengers. No matter the age, your motorcycle passenger must be wearing an approved motorcycle helmet that meets all required criteria like yours. Only carry a person on your motorcycle who is capable of reaching the footrests and handholds without difficulty.

It is only legal to transport a passenger on your motorcycle if it is outfitted with a designated passenger seat, footrests, and handholds. The passenger seat can either be positioned at an additional space on the driver’s seat, a separate saddle at the rear, or a sidecar.

Required Safety Features

While vehicle inspections are not heavily enforced in Nebraska compared to other states, it is always best to examine your motorcycle while it is still parked. A motorcycle does not have redundant systems installed in case a primary component fails. Should any of the machinery start to break down, the overall functionality of your vehicle will become compromised. That is why you should fix any potential problems to lower the chances of total mechanical failure and getting into accidents.

For your motorcycle to be street legal in Nebraska, it must have the following features kept in good working condition and given proper maintenance:

  • Horn
  • Wheels
  • Fenders
  • Tires
  • Handlebars
  • Brake system
  • Controls
  • Headlight
  • Taillight
  • Brake light
  • Reflector
  • Exhaust system
  • Muffler
  • Rearview mirrors
  • Turn signals

3.4 Lane Splitting Laws

In Nebraska, lane splitting is explicitly deemed an illegal practice amongst motorcyclists. Motorcyclists are forbidden from riding atop the dividing lines between lanes, in between adjacent rows of stopped vehicles, and overtaking cars or trucks ahead in the same lane as you.

Because motorcycles are more maneuverable than other motor vehicles, riders are entitled to full use of the space within the lane they are on. Lane sharing is only permitted between two motorcycles if both parties consent beforehand and stay apart at least two abreast.

4. Motorcycle Luggage for Nebraska Motorcycle Tour

Like with any other kind of trip, an integral step in the Nebraska motorcycle tour experience is making sure to pack all the essentials you may need when spending time off of your motorcycle. If you have been riding for several hours, you should fill yourself up with food and water to replenish your energy. If the sun has begun to set by the time you reach a rest stop, you should consider changing into reflective and warmer clothing. And if your motorcycle sustains minor damage, it is always good to have your repair tools available.

The best way to safely carry your belongings is to put them all in some form of Motorcycle luggage. Motorcycle luggage is made from durable materials to keep out moisture and debris. It is also designed to be easily tied down to your vehicle through the use of straps. But its most important features are the zippered and mesh pockets of various sizes that keep their contents safe even in the face of the elements.

Listed below are examples of motorcycle luggage that each differs from one another based on color, size, shape, and functionality. Pick the motorcycle luggage that suits your style or can fit the number of items you are bringing:

5. Parting Words

Remember to keep these tips in mind as you plan out your extended motorcycle tour through Nebraska. Make sure that your motorcycle luggage fits your vehicle’s model and is capable of housing all the items you plan to carry for the duration of your travels through Nebraska. Become familiar with or review the Nebraska motorcycle laws to ensure you are following all the traffic laws.

As the intent of a motorcycle trip is to have fun, try to travel routes and visit locations that will leave a lasting impression on you. Either because sharp turns and sudden descents will get your heart pumping as you fight to maintain control of your motorcycle. Or you want to see a natural setting that you have never gotten the chance to lay eyes on before. Make the best of your time with your motorcycle and venture out to explore Nebraska’s attractions and beauty.

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