Join us! June 2nd -8th

Valentine – Bassett – Burwell – Burwell – Petersburg – Stromsburg – Wahoo – Louisville

Click here to see the GRAVEL OPTION!

“Rolling Across the Heartland”

We chose this particular route for lots of great reasons. Many riders from past BRANs enjoyed riding in the Sandhills, and we wanted to give them a chance to experience it once more. We’ve kept the length of each ride at a distance where riders can finish their ride and still have time to explore the towns along the way.

This route will also give riders road and gravel options on almost every day. Finally, we’ve added a flex day in Burwell, giving riders the opportunity to ride the Burwell Loop around the Calamus reservoir self-supported, take a break from riding, sign up for tubing or tanking with the Calamus Outfitters, or look at other opportunities to check out within the Burwell community.

Please note that, while unlikely, exact route is subject to change due to unforeseen circumstances such as road closures, etc.

BRAN 42 ROUTE

Please note, the routes are subject to change as we develop this year’s ride. We have provided draft information in Ride with GPS to give you a sense of the elevation and distance. We will finalize any route changes at the Rider’s Meeting the night before the Day 1 ride.

BRAN Day 1 | Valentine to Bassett

Our 2024 BRAN Ride begins in Valentine. Valentine was founded in 1882, when the Sioux City and Pacific Railroad was extended to that point and train service began on April 1, 1883. It was named for Edward K. Valentine, a Nebraska representative. As late as 1967, Valentine was split between two time zones. As described in one news report, “The mountain and central time zones meet at the center of Main Street, so an hour separates the two curb lines.

This region is an outdoor enthusiast’s dream. From rolling sandhills to the winding Niobrara River, there’s always adventure around the bend, including hiking, horseback riding, nationally acclaimed canoeing, tubing, kayaking, hunting, fishing, camping—there’s never a dull moment.

 

Your Day 1 Route will give you a chance to ride the Cowboy Trail and cross the iconic Cowboy Trail Bridge over the Niobrara River just outside of Valentine. Keep your eyes open for wildlife: white-tail and mule deer are common along this route, especially right after sunrise. It’s also possible to see more than one bald eagle.

Start Town: Valentine, NE

End Town: Bassett, NE

Estimated Milage: 64

Elevation Gain: 686 ft

Elevation Loss: 937 f

Max Grade: 1.7 %

Max. Loss: -3.9%

BRAN Day 2 | Bassett to Burwell

Day 2 gives you a chance to explore more of the Sandhills as you make your way south toward Burwell. The last portion of the route will parallel the Calamus Reservoir before you arrive at your stopping point in Burwell.

Burwell was founded in 1883. In 1887, the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad was extended to Burwell. It is located on the dividing line between the Nebraska Sandhills and the North Loup River Valley; its livelihood hinges upon both cattle ranching and farming and newly blossoming Agri-Tourism businesses. It hosts “Nebraska’s Big Rodeo”, and it was one of the initial FFA chapters in the state of Nebraska.

While in Burwell, be sure to visit Fort Hartsuff State Historical Park. A nicely-restored fort typical of Plains infantry outposts, it stood as a buffer between settlers and Native Americans, and also protected the Pawnee from Sioux incursions into the North Loup River Valley from 1874 to 1881.

Start Town: Bassett, NE

End Town: Burwell, NE

Estimated Milage: 66

Elevation Gain: 1,242 ft

Elevation Loss: 1,401 ft

Max Grade: 2.0 %

Max. Loss: -3.4 % 

BRAN Day 3 | Burwell Loop

Day 3 is Option Day!

If you want to continue to ride, we have two possible routes planned: a short loop around the Calamus Reservoir, or a longer route down to the south, riding through Sargent, Comstock, Ord, Elyria, and Fort Hartsuff. More route information will be published in the spring.

For those who want to take a day off from riding, consider signing up for tubing or tanking with the Calamus Outfitters, or looking at other opportunities to check out within the Burwell community.

NOTE: Tubing and Tanking options must be purchased through the BRAN registration website. Spots are limited and will fill up fast!
Calamus Outfitters will not be taking Day-Of registration for tubing or tanking. 

BRAN Day 4 | Burwell to Petersburg

Day 4 is the chance to get in the hill work!! We turn east for this leg, with lots of climbs and descents before the hills smooth out and we get to Petersburg.

You will spend the night in Petersburg. Petersburg was platted in 1887 when the railroad was extended to that point. The community was named for John Peters, the original owner of the town site. Petersburg is the site of a memorial to Logan Fontenelle, an Omaha chief who was killed nearby in a skirmish with Brulé and Arapaho in 1855, at the site of the present-day Olson Nature Preserve.

Petersburg is the home of the annual Nebraska State Antique Tractor and Horse Plowing Bee and the Rae Valley Old Threshers Reunion. A small town with a big heart, on the day we visit, BRAN riders will double the population of Petersburg, and they are excited to have us! Check out the website they set up for us Here!

Start Town: Burwell, NE

End Town: Petersburg, NE

Estimated Mileage: 77

Elevation Gain: 3,102 ft

Elevation Loss: 3,381 ft

Max Grade: 5.8 %

Max. Loss: -5.4 %

BRAN Day 5 | Petersburg to Stromsburg

Day 5 starts with a short climb, and then its all downhill to your destination…On the way, you’ll turn south and cross the Platte River after traveling across the heart of Nebraska’s agricultural region.

Your host town is Stromsburg. Stromsburg was settled early in Nebraska history, when a group of Swedish settlers arrived in the 1860s. Seeing some similarities to their old Swedish homeland the settlers formed what would be called Stromsburg, named after a section of Ockelbo, Sweden. Stromsburg was given the title of the “Swede Capital of Nebraska” by Governor Frank B. Morrison in 1966 at the Swedish Festival. The Swedish festival is held in June each year and showcases Stromburg’s Swedish heritage.

Start Town: PetersburgNE

End Town: Stromsburg, NE

Estimated Milage: 77

Elevation Gain: 3,429 ft

Elevation Loss: 3,648 ft

Max. Grade: 4.2%

Max. Loss: -4.6%

BRAN Day 6 | Stromsburg to Wahoo

Day 6 is a shorter ride. You will ride north until you reach Highway 92, then stay on the highway all the way into Wahoo.

Wahoo was founded in 1870. The town’s name comes from the eastern wahoo (Euonymus atropurpureus), a shrub found on the banks of Wahoo Creek. The town was originally built up chiefly by predominantly Czech, German, and Scandinavian settlers.

Beginning in February 1996, the city was denoted the location of the “home office” that produces the Top Ten List for David Letterman’s Late Show program, having relocated from Grand Rapids, Michigan. The town had lobbied Letterman for the status for months. It had the Nebraska legislature proclaim Letterman an admiral in the Great Navy of the State of Nebraska, and it inundated him with letters, postcards, and bribes of flowers, clothing, animals, alcoholic beverages, shredded money, and free checkups at the Wahoo Medical Center. When Letterman jokingly said he wanted more, Wahoo sent him a ’76 Ford Pinto with a sofa attached to the hood, a wall clock made of cow droppings, and two of the town’s teenagers, brothers Jeff and Josh Price. The nightly recap of the Top Ten List at the CBS website was titled The Wahoo Gazette.

Start Town: Stromsburg, NE

End Town: Wahoo, NE

Estimated Milage: 54 mi

Elevation Gain: 1,290 ft

Elevation Loss: 1,778 ft

Max Grade: 2.9%

Max Loss: -4.2%

BRAN Day 7 | Wahoo to Louisville

Day 7 is always a short ride for BRAN riders. It gives all the riders a chance to finish their BRAN experience early in the day and grab a free lunch on us before getting on the road for home.

You will finish your ride in the great town of Louisville. The first permanent settlement at Louisville was made in 1857. Louisville was platted in about 1870 when the Burlington & Missouri River Railroad was extended to that point. The community was likely named after the city of Louisville, Kentucky, but some folk maintain that the name Louisville is derived from one Mr. Lois, the proprietor of a local gristmill.

Nearby Louisville State Recreation Area boasts five sandpit lakes with approximately 50 surface acres of water. Surrounded by towering cottonwood trees, this inviting area offers picnicking, swimming, fishing, non-power boating, canoe access to the Platte River and a brand-new floating playground. Paddle board, water bike and kayak rentals are also available.

BEFORE YOU LEAVE, be sure to grab a complimentary hotdog, chips, cookies and a drink prepared with the help of a local Youth Group. It’s our way of thanking you for riding with us on this year’s BRAN.

Hope to see you in 2025 for our next BRAN!!

Start Town: WahooNE

End Town: Louisville, NE

Estimated Milage: 42 

Elevation Gain: 1,112 ft

Elevation Loss: 1,261 ft

Max Gain: 4.7%

Max Loss: -4.5%

Thanks to Visit531Nebraska!

The Visit531Nebraska book is the most comprehensive guide to Nebraska’s 531 incorporated communities. It’s a travel guide, log, history book, and living photo album featuring unique content on every one of Nebraska’s towns. Jam-packed with restaurant recommendations, information on festivals, museums, recreation areas, and more!

Check them outline at https://wandermorepublishing.com/ 

BRAN SPONSORS

If you are interested in sponsoring, supporting, or volunteering for BRAN 41, please CONTACT US!