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Kansas Hiking Trails
This site is designed to provide quick, organized access to informative Kansas hiking websites. Private hiking enthusiasts like you have created excellent web pages on Kansas hiking trails -- then posted those pages on free web servers -- only to be ignored by search engines. The purpose of this site is to provide a way to find these personal hiking pages, and make your research easier.
- American Discovery Trail through Kansas is 570 miles long and begins in Johnson County on its eastern border by crossing the Blue River on a wooden plank bridge on the outskirts of Leawood. Much of the trail in Kansas follows the same general path as the Santa Fe Trail. "Official" site with trail description, maps, good info.
- Arikaree Breaks this is not a hiking site, but is included here simply because this is one of the most spectacular places to hike in Kansas. Badlands, formations, wildlife...has it all. Excellent site with directions and outstanding photos on NaturalKansas.com.
- Clinton Lake US Army Corps of Engineers. Includes in depth maps and descriptions of a few popular hiking trails, and one multi-use trail. Thorough site. See also North Shore Trail link.
- El Dorado Lake Boulder Bluff trailhead the twelve-mile loop is mowed and well-defined. There are several crossovers to make the trail as long or as short as the traveler desires it to be. Downloadable map; info by By Harriett Barber on the Kansas Trail Council site.
- Elk City State Park growing network of trails, the key being the Table Mound Trail. Extremely popular, among the top trails in the state. State website. The link to the "trails" page is about midway down the lefthand column.
- General -- Kansas Geology from the Osage Cuestas to the High Plains, Kansas has a lot more geological diversity than you might expect. This is a site on the University of Kansas website that has information on all of it. Starts with a colorful, clickable physiographic map that leads you to photos, information, links and more. Outstanding site. Not a hiking site, but certainly a must-click site for hikers. Great.
- General -- Prairie Packers Hiking Club The Kansas Prairie Packers started with a small group of Kansans who love the outdoors and love doing outdoor activities. Now, that small group has grown into many individuals and families coordinating a wide range of activities including backpacking, hiking, camping, canoeing, cycling, bird/flower observing and much more.
- General Kansas State Parks. Site by the KS Dept. of Wildlife and Parks, which is recently improved. Lots of helpful info, good for sparking trip ideas.
- General Kansas Trail Council good site with maps, trail news, etc. Organization for hikers, backpackers, and (ugh) mountainbiking.
- Kansas City/General Kansas City Outdoor Club Inc. (KCOC) is a nonprofit organization of over 200 outdoor enthusiasts from throughout the Metropolitan area. Its purpose is to offer outdoor recreational opportunities and to educate and train its members in outdoor skills. Group meets monthly in Mission, KS and promotes a host of outdoor as well as social events. Good group, click and find out more.
- Konza Prairie overall site provides a lot of information for the area. Part of a long term research project, hosted at Kansas State University.
- Lake Scott not really a hiking site specifically, but included here because of the spectacular 7-mile trail through this scenic canyon and sandstone bluff area. Location of ruins of El Cuartelejo, the only known Indian pueblo in Kansas. From NaturalKansas.com site by Jim Mason. Great photos & description, but not a lot about the trail.
- North Shore Trail Clinton Lake, US Army Corps of Engineers. Multi-use trail. Thorough site with trailhead locations, descriptions, rules, map, etc.
- Ottawa County VisitOttawKansas.com has rudimentary info on a few key recreation/hiking spots in the region.
- Prairie Spirit Trail From Ottawa to Welda, the Prairie Spirit Trail is currently more than 33 miles. Kansas' first rail-trail meanders through golden prairies, quiet woodlands, beautiful lakeside scenery, and travels through charmingly inviting communities. Upon completion the Prairie Spirit Rail Trail will span from Ottawa to Iola and total more than 50 miles. "Official" site features maps, trail info, directions, etc. Primarily used by bicyclists, but what the heck.
- Santa Fe National Historic Trail Loosely preserved corridor from Missouri to New Mexico bisects Kansas, Oklahoma and Colorado. It is frequently viewed from the comfort of an automobile, but numerous sections can only be hiked. This page is part of the Kansas Heritage site, and is about the most comprehensive. Other useful links include the official National Park Service site, as well as the more comprehensive Santa Fe Trail Association site. Another helpful guide to get you started is this site, which focuses on Colorado & New Mexico.
- Southwind Nature Trail at Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve. NPS unit established in 2000. Site describes park, 1 3/4 mile trail.
- Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve This little-used, under-visited unit of the National Park Service still does not have a lot of visitor services, which simply means that you ought to visit it now before the feds blow a gazillion dollars on some hideous visitors center. It has two regularly used trails (rather short) and other hiking opportunities. This is a sub-page on the official NPS site.
Blue is just the Kansas summer sky
Well, they got demographics on everything nowadays, including some things you wouldn't think they'd have. The bestselling books in Wichita, for example. Now, who'd expect somebody would bother keeping track of that?
Well, I'm glad they do. Because I've never hiked in Kansas, so I figured I'd to turn to Kansans to see if they figured out which is the best resource for hikers. And, thanks to the aforementioned demographics, I found out that not only is there a hiking book that Kansans overwhelmingly prefer, it just happens to be one of the top selling books in Kansas, period.
As far as Wichita is concerned (in case you were still curious) it's the 8th bestselling book overall.
The aptly named
Hiking Guide to Kansas
by Catherine Hauber and John Young is the indispensible guide to Kansas' woodlands and wetlands, its prairies and high plains. Check this link on Amazon; you may even find a used copy. If you do, grab it before somebody from Wichita does.
And if you recognize "blue is just the Kansas summer sky" from John Denver's Matthew, give yourself six slackpacker trivia points and a hearty "job well done."
-- Rick Bolger
Please click here for the Slackpacker web site
Want to add YOUR Kansas hiking page? It's free, it's easy, and there are no strings attached. Please click the "Submit a Site" button, above left, for instructions and complete information.
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