Omaha's Keystone neighborhood is located northwest of Downtown, and is bounded on its western side by the Little Papillion Creek. The neighborhood started being built up in the early 1900s, but its most significant growth happened in the 1950s and 60s. Today, the neighborhood is well established and lends its name to the Keystone trail, which starts in Democracy Park on the banks of the Little Papillion Creek.
The Keystone Trail is about 25 miles long in total, starting at Democracy Park near the intersection of 90th and Fort streets. It is paved for its entire length, and is relatively flat due to its location along a large stream.
Starting at Democracy Park, the trail heads south through the Keystone neighborhood. It passes through parks and neighborhoods, offering easy access to roads and businesses along the way. Its surroundings get more industrial as it approaches central Omaha, eventually passing behind Nebraska Furniture Mart and the shopping areas that line 72nd Street. After linking up with the Elmwood Park trail at Pacific Street, the trail passes through the University of Nebraska - Omaha campus, Aksarben Village, and the College of Saint Mary, following the Little Papillion Creek the whole way.
The Keystone Trail intersects the South Omaha Trail just south of Interstate 80, and continues south toward the junction between the Little Papillion Creek and the Big Papillion Creek. From here on, the trail takes on a much more rural feel: large grassy areas on either side of the trail, with houses and business sometimes visible in the distance.
By the time the trail passes Offutt Air Force Base, you're more likely to see cornfields than buildings. The trail keeps heading south, and then follows the creek as it turns east toward the Missouri River. Just before the creek empties into the river, the trail makes a sharp turn north and runs parallel to the river for its last stretch. The trail ends at Hawthorn Park, right on the southern edge of Bellevue.
The Keystone Trail is impressive: 25 miles of flat, paved trail and barely any road crossings that travels from the north end of Omaha down to the south end of Bellevue. Along the way, it intersects several other trails that lead to much of Central and West Omaha. While it would be difficult to make a loop out of the entire trail, it can easily make a long out-and-back or be incorporated into a loop using many of the other trails in town. Ready to make a plan? Get started at the Wireless Bike Map.