I am what you might call a wanderer. Being stuck behind a desk all day whether in the office or at home is stressful both mentally and physically. By most afternoons, I get tired and watch my productivity dwindle down to nothing until the day is over. Getting outside, on the other hand, can be revitalizing. So began my daily walking practice — a chance to refresh or restart and the perfect opportunity to find micro-adventures all around.
Walking Trails in Omaha, Nebraska
The first time I found myself in Omaha was for a long weekend visit to a friend. In looking for a place to explore, I found a number of beautiful walking trails In northwest Omaha, away from downtown.
Standing Bear Lake
Standing Bear Lake is the perfect place to escape for a whole day of lakeside fun or just an hour-long stroll around the lake. The lake itself is 135 acres for summertime boating or wintertime ice skating, but the path around it measures a bit over 3 miles. I saw walkers, joggers, bikers, and dogs all enjoying this great trail that was busy but not at all too crowded.
You can’t always see the lake, but in the right season, this trail is littered with wildflowers along either side. Including small off-shoots and hidden footpaths, you can enjoy about 5 miles of trails in this park total.
This nature preserve was gorgeous and full of short easy walking trails both paved and gravel. Throughout, helpful signage is available for those who want to learn about trees and power lines. And while I did love facts, I was struck by the beautiful trails and their integration with and around the electrical substation in the middle. Ambling through, it was easy to lose myself in deep contemplation.
How Long Are the Walking Trails in the Omaha Zoo?
When most people think of Omaha, the zoo is the first thing that comes to mind. The Henry Doorly Zoo is Omaha’s biggest paid attraction and well worth the price of admission. For those visiting Nebraska, it is definitely worth a visit.
It is filled with beautiful walking paths between its many exhibits. More than just trees and local flora, take in over 900 species of animals while walking the almost 2 miles of the path from the entrance to exit. Expect to spend at least a couple of hours here to stop and enjoy the animals and maybe even an exciting show.
Big Parks and Pretty Paths
To find beauty and peace in Omaha, you won’t have to go far no matter where you’re spending your time. The city is full of parks and trails that provide the perfect escape from the day-to-day grind of busy life. Allow me to highlight a few other can’t-miss walking trails in Omaha, Nebraska.
Chalco Hills Recreation Area
Chalco Hills Recreation Area’s star feature is the large, man-made Wehrspann Lake. But for those just looking to get away for a short while, there are more than 7 miles of running, biking, and walking trails throughout the area. If 7 miles is too much to walk at once, there is a shorter, north loop trail that is 4.5 miles. The trails are well-maintained and the wide-open space is the perfect background for clearing a busy mind.
Walnut Creek Lake & Recreation Area
On the south side of Omaha, Walnut Creek Lake and Recreation Area looms large and even has sites for camping. Walking these beautiful paved paths around the lake, I was swept away by the cloudless blue sky above. Shrubs and tall grasses dominate the landscape and form the setting for a daydreamy stroll. Take a break on one of the many benches along the trail to fully embrace the peaceful park.
Ed Zorinsky Lake Park & Recreation Area
West of downtown Omaha, there are about 6 miles of stunning walking trails at Zorinsky Lake Park. A few steps off trail, there was a cozy picnic table right next to the lake that was the perfect place to stop and breathe. With the sun shining down, the area was picturesque as families and groups gathered to swim, play, and be together in nature.
Taking Walks To Decompress
When I need to get away from my desk at home or in the office, I turn to the gentle rhythm of a long walk to clear my head and reset. Meditation is simply being present and aware and walking is where it is easiest to stay in the moment.
In addition to the feel-good endorphins from exercising, the sun and being in nature helps me to be happier overall –– not just when I’m outside. I love being able to put aside the never-ending to-do lists and think clearly and creatively for myself.
Sometimes, I put on an audiobook or podcast to enjoy. Sometimes, the birds and wind are all you need. These are just a few of my favorite Omaha trails but with over 85 miles of trails, luckily I have a lot more to discover.