The City of Central City purchased the abandoned railway from Hwy 30 to one mile south of Central City in October of 2014. A Peter Kiewit grant awarded to the Nebraska Trails Foundation allowed for developing this segment of the 10-mile trail. Roger Knight of Knightworx was contracted to prepare and develop the surface of the trail. He also installed or repaired three parking areas on 28th Street, Hwy 66 and the trailhead one mile south of Central City. The next development added five and one-half miles, extending the trail to Marquette.
The Central City Trails Group, Central City staff, and a host of volunteers contributed many hours of labor and materials to install signage and provide improvements on the trail.
The trail is a fly ash surface great for bikes of all types, runners, and walkers. Winter hikers, bikers and runners are attracted to the protected tree canopies south of the Platte River and continuing past Hwy 66 for two miles. Watch this video to learn more.
Year-round viewing on Badger Bridge (Platte River) is the most popular destination on the Dark Island Trail. The bridge is 1,072 feet long and has a dozen viewing benches for visitors to catch a sunrise or sunset over the river or view waterfowl, beaver, deer and other wildlife.