Homer's Travels: Hiking Nebraska: Hayworth Park And The Bellevue Nature And History Trail

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Hiking Nebraska: Hayworth Park And The Bellevue Nature And History Trail

Yesterday turned out to be too nice to stay inside. Unfortunately I didn't have any hikes planned. What I did have was a list of ten geocaches that I had compiled a while back. The caches were located in, or north of, Hayworth Park in nearby Bellevue, NE. My cache hunt turned into a short but pleasant hike.

Hayworth park is a fairly large park bordering the Missouri River. The park offers camping and boat launching facilities. I parked near the southern end of the park near the start of a Lewis & Clarke historic walk - something I will have to visit in the future. My GPS took me north on a paved path along the river.

The first three caches ("Amish Country", "Watchful", and "OBEY the LAW") were in the developed part of the park and were small micro-caches. I'd expected my cache searching ability, my geosense, would be rusty as I'd not search for caches since last August but I found these three with very little effort. I liked "Watchful" the most, a small container hidden behind a reflector. I'd seen similar caches before which made it easier.

The trail ended as I crossed under the Bellevue Bridge and found an unpaved trail entering a wooded, undeveloped area. The trail was easy to follow but it needed a little maintenance. The trail followed the river closely. Unlike other river trails, there were several places where you could actually get to the water's edge. I didn't see too much wildlife but there was evidence of beaver activity and some busy bees. Along this trail I found three more caches: "Fallen Giant", "Alea Iacta Est - The Hides of March", and "Kramer Vs. Kramer".

The trail ends at a mysterious structure. It looks like it was involved with either barges or a ferry. The windows were covered in chain link and the doors were welded shut cutting off easy access to the river. It was obviously a teen hang out and everything was covered in graffiti. The Best Man mentioned something this last weekend about taking pictures of old decaying buildings. There is something about the juxtaposition of urban decay and wild nature that fascinates me. I can be hiking in some of the most beautiful nature, but when I come upon something remotely man-made, the remains of a wall or an old homestead, I just have to take pictures.

Past the mystery building the trail follows a grass field before coming to an end at a fence. From here you can see the trailhead for the Bellevue Nature and History trail. While most of the signs say this, one refers to the trail as the Eagle Point Trail. The signs also give different trail lengths, 1.3 and 1.5 miles round trip. The trails consists of two, long and thin, connected loops. Along the trails there are three "plazas". Each plaza has descriptive plaques placed around a mosaic platform. The plazas describe the River History, Birding, and Trade Post of the area. I learned that the the Carolina Parakeet was once common in the area until hunters and farmers forced them into extinction. When I think Nebraska, I don't think parakeet. I can thank hunters and farmers for that.

After passing the plazas the trail curves back to the south and, along a short boardwalk, passes a marshy wetland. For some reason I always find marshes to be an unexpected surprise. I really shouldn't since where there is a river there is surely to be a wetland nearby but I'm still always caught by surprise. I like the vibrant greens of Nebraska wetlands. Most of the wetlands I saw in California were ... dry.

Along this this trail I found three more caches: "Balance Beam", "Tuning Fork", and "Gator Bait".

After arriving back to the trailhead, I followed the Hayworth trail back to the car. I drove the car to another cache, "WHEELS", located near a bicycle monument near the end of the Keystone/Bellevue Loop bicycle trail. Unfortunately I could not find the cache. I will have to try again sometime.

The total distance for this hike was 3.5 miles. I want to thank GeekHiker for reminding me that short hikes can be fun and interesting too and the cache hiders for introducing me to these trails. Some pictures can be found here.

Oh yeah, Almost forgot.

Happy Earth Day!


  1. Heh - next time you come back to CA, check out some of the Northern California ones. I think you'll be happier with those.

    Glad you enjoyed the short trail. :)

  2. GH: I should have added the 'Southern' qualifier.

    I did!