The railroad that crosses the trail is NOT at-grade, and will require an exceptionally expertly-timed bunny hop in loose ballast or a dismount and lift. Also? The trail is mostly in good shape . You can hear the water from the trail. Pre-register to guarantee a spot. The trail is a "Rails to Trails" route that follows the Marais des Cygnes river, so it is predominately flat. We only wrote about 15 miles and then turned around and went back 3) Sometimes people walk their dogs out here and don't have them leashed or under control. Your donation will help us to continue connecting more people to trails around the country. Then you hit Osage city. Whenever you encounter a gate, please close it again behind you. From Ottawa to Osawatomie the trail is in great shape but some of the bridges haven't been replace or updated yet. The Flint Hills is actually very beautiful and not what most people imagine for Kansas. We were walking so didn't suffer a flat tire. Nice bridge about a mile SE of Virginia Road. In the 1/2 mile from Adams to US 75, the trail is kind of rough and eroded but the rest of it was okay. The trail has pretty large rocks left from the railroad and a section of the trail about 2.5 miles in is private property. East of Admire has a lot of ballast that will slow you down. Such a peaceful trail to ride. The Flint Hills Trail travels from Osawatomie to Herrington. I will probably head east this time towards Ossawatomie. We stayed at Vassar State Park which has a nice shower house with running water, plumbing, electricity, and a laundromat. :) It is obvious that the State of Kansas isn't using any money to maintain or develop this beautiful resource. And it flows super fast. From here to Vasser, again it's hit and miss. Made the whole trip without a flat. Significantly, the Flint Hills Nature Trail could be easily linked to the nearby 11,000-acre Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve, the only natural park unit of the national park system in Kansas. We rode our street bikes. I found myself wondering who in the neighborhood must have ticked off the city council to have such bad road surface! Ron Gossen. This greenway traverses a wide variety of natural areas including the Chippewa Hills in the Osage Cuestas, the riparian forests of the Marais des Cygnes (Marsh of the Swans) and Neosho River valleys and the Flint Hills, which contain the largest expanse of tallgrass prairie remaining in the world. The rail-trail partially follows the Santa Fe National Historic Trail, a travel route in use between 1821 and 1880 that was key to the development of the American West. Along the trail you will encounter prairie flora and fauna, historic areas and unmatched views of the surrounding prairie and countryside. I hope that you do understand that this has to do with the Santa Fe Trail and the Rail Road. Couple of bridges with no rails yet. Also most of those trails in which you are discussing are on private land. We had a state map and saw a paved diagonal road, Dunlap Road that looked like it would end up in Council Grove. It is unmarked and there are no landmarks to tell you where to turn. Luckily we noticed them before we got on our bikes. These are images from two trips on the Flint Hills Nature Trail - October 2015 and October 2016. This is not like the Prairie Spirit on the other end of town. We have had flats every time we have rode it. We decided to take the trail east from Vassar to Ottawa but only got as far as Hwy 68 before we had another flat. The trail winds through some beautiful, secluded woods running along the river. Flint Hills Nature Trail is a 91.6 mile lightly trafficked point-to-point trail located near Osawatomie, Kansas that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. Hope this makes this great trail easier to find. 4) I fairly regularly encounter vehicles (!) The previous reviews mentioned that you need to use mountain bikes for this trail and we would recommend it. This route provides a detailed summary of the Flint Hills Trail from Osawatomie Kansas to Council Grove Kansas. I hope this update was useful. Then another day started at Osage City and rode west to Allen and then back to Osage City (40 miles round trip), and then east past Lake Pomona and back to Osage City (30 miles round trip). If you want a smoother trail with lots of services, then the Katy Trail in Missouri is a nice option. Trail users can enjoy walking, riding with a mountain or hybrid bike, and horseback riding on the trail. Pretty tough going! Flint Hills Nature Trail is 90 miles long, and growing, for hiking, biking and horseback riding. Some sections are OK and others are pretty rough. We rode for about 8 miles in 1 1/2 hours and finally came to a dirt road crossing. However, be aware of the conditions before you go. Only saw 1 other person on the trail today, a runner. Kansas has an opportunity to develop a specatular biking/hiking experience. We parked at a spot where the trail crosses Virginia Road. The weather was about 52°, sunny, and a bit windy. There are many bridges, views of the river and wide open farmland to see along the way. 40 miles of outstanding trail. It's a very short detour, no big deal. Despite this, no issues with surfaces or slippage. Let me start off by telling you how to find it so you don't have to spend over an hour trying to find it like I did. although rough, the entire distance. The roads aren't bad. Suggest carrying your bike across the parking lot. The active railroad is the only signed feature, and that's with a do-not-pass barricade and sign. The second parking area is approximately 2.0 miles on the right side of John Brown Highway. And if you're thinking of taking a road bike on this section, it doesn't seem like a good idea. Click on the name of any RV park or campground for more information. We saw six other cyclists. Trail can be seen from this parking area. Get off your bike and allow them to pass you. We were informed that the safest way to get to Pamona was not on Highway 68, a busy highway with minimal shoulder so we took the Prairie Spirit trail to 23rd street and then went 10 miles to the end of that road on nice pavement and some hills. Run tubeless or with tire liners. One stretch of that section was unkept. From there to Vasser it's pretty rough. on this trail. It is too steep for a bike and I don't think a rider would want to do it on horseback. We, a group of four fairly experienced bike riders,who have ridden rails-to-trails in Missouri and Iowa, were very excited about the 117 mile Flint Hills Nature Trail. We plan on trying agai this spring and riding it in its entirety ¿¿. It is a great experience to allow your kids ride ahead or behind without the worry of a car smashing them. Next. Bathrooms,food, and water in Osage city, Allen, and Council Grove. Bushong is the high point in this section. Ambassador 94 mi. Other than that, I'd not recommend it for the faint of heart. Years ago there was a tract of land out west the government wanted to preserve for future generations but local land owners filed lawsuits and raised all kinds of Hell saying it was their land and the timber was an important commodity. We started in Council Grove and rode East. The trail is gravel, but not maintained very well. Only around 30 min. This list is updated continually, so check back often for the latest developments! The Cottage House in Council Grove and the Koch Guesthouse (AirBnB) in Osage City were delightful, and Jeff and Yon at the Ottawa Bike Shop were outstandingly - I mean really - helpful. The park is located less than a mile from the Flint Hills Trail. See: Camping Along The Prairie Spirit Trail. From Vasser east the trail goes back to the " improved" condition. When the trail is complete, it will create an outstanding 200-mile interconnected trail system in the Sunflower State. The trail is built upon an old railroad corridor, which was developed beginning in 1886—the Council Grove, Osage City & Ottawa Railway (which serviced coal mining) and the Missouri Pacific. The area east of Council Grove is the most scenic (sweeping vistas of the flint hills where you can see for miles) and has the best trail condition. BUT, the people we met were all wonderful, great experiences at every interaction. Carry animal mace, especially if you are running. After that it was just hard packed gravel the rest of the way, and although this section isn't in the Flint Hills, there was still some really great scenery, especially along the river section. There were lots of wildflowers along the trail. 2-4 inch ballast rocks are dumped on the trail without grading or filling, no gravel for miles (just dirt jeep trail), no side rails on unimproved bridges (dangerous), grading done in wet weather where the grader tread tracks have become miles of almost-highway rumble strips and, finally, trash heaps along side the trail.. A terrible riding experience. The trail is in great shape here. you will have flat tires in less than a mile. Santa Fe trail, bike trails are on private land, misspelling a city's name). Pioneer Walking trail is near the dam, 1.4 mile loop through woods and along/across a stream. This trail runs for ~17 miles and then ends at John Brown Highway. I camped at Vassar Lake for a few nights and rode sections out and back each day between Council Grove and Osawatomie. There is still a pretty good gravel base so just pick your line and go. It was dry and we still had to ride in the weeds on the shoulder where the ground was hard to get through. I have read that they are trying to finish this trail. If you find the Osawatomie elementary school and then proceed down that same road about 3/4 mile further, the trail head (with some parking) is on your right. Luckily they had been there a while and were dried enough to ride over. Biking trip on the Flint Hills Nature Trail from Council Grove, Kansas to Osawatomie, Kansas. Carry enough water to get you to Ottawa. Camping available in multiple sites along the way. The recreational trail also passes through the 160-acre Kaw Nation Heritage Park, which contains the stone ruins of the Kaw Indian Agency complex, Chief Wah-To-An-Gah’s village site, the Monument to the Unknown Kaw Indian and the ruins of three small stone houses built for the Kaw (or Kanza) people in 1862. We both had flats, although mine may have been due to an improperly tightened valve stem. The rest of the trail surface is wonderful, though. Wildlife includes bobwhite quail, wild turkeys, prairie chickens and bobcats. 12th street turns into Parker Avenue at this turn. First of all, for anyone belaboring the point, a trailhead is defined as "somewhere a trail either begins or ends." If you like amenities, not so much. Go down main street, past the John Brown Museum until you get to 12th street.Turn right on 12th street, go a few blocks and 12th street makes a sharp turn to the left. Trail head does not exist, but I found two places to park where you can access the trail. Her story was honest and made me smile. The portion I was on looked like it might have some shade in the summer. We would much prefer this kind of trail than going through farmland. This segment of the trail (Admire to Pomona Lake) looks to have had limestone screenings laid down at some point in the past, but does not experience enough travel to keep the grass down. Had it been hotter, it would of been very uncomfortable for us as there is very little shade in this section. The trail had a crushed rock surface with some overgrowth down the middle and on the sides. View detailed trail descriptions, trail maps, reviews, photos, trail itineraries, directions and more on TrailLink. Also, keep in mind, if you need something for your bike the closest bike shop is in Lawrence 20 miles north. Trail was in decent shape. I’ve ridden the eastern section between Ottawa and Osawatomie following its recent completion. If you’re going to bike it you’ll need a mountain bike. Worth the visit. I rode from Ottawa to Council Grove, camping at Pomona Lake and Council Grove Lake. Lots of pasture and we were fortunate to find lots of blackberries along the way! They had just replaced one of the bridges and looked like they were going to add side rails. Took our first walk on the FHT this morning. The scenery more than made up for these inconveniences. I know this seems like a lot of negatives, but don't let it scare you off of this trail: the beauty and fun this trail offers overwhelmingly outweighs any drawbacks, and as long as you are alert (and have a spare tube), you should be fine. For much of this stretch through Ottawa and on to Osage City, the trail follows the Marais des Cygnes River with the waterway just north of the pathway and river bluffs to the south. With more than 3 Strong City trails covering 125 miles, you’re bound to find a perfect trail like the Flint Hills Trail State Park or El Dorado Bike Trail. There are no drinking water stops along the way - so bring at least 2 good sized bottles per person. The next morning we went to the trailhead and rode back east approximately 2 1/2 miles then headed toward Osage City. If you enjoy camping and the beautiful Kansas wilderness, you will definitely want to check out these 10 unforgettable camping … There are lots of sections that are just dirt that would very tough if it was muddy. The next day as we were returning to our home we drove to Herrington and did see that the trail bed had been mowed but it did not look like it had seen much riding. Here’s a summary of our favorite sections that are open to explore: Osawatomie to Ottawa (18.9 miles): The easternmost section of the Flint Hills Nature Trail is well-maintained and easily accessible as it runs along the bluffs of the Marais De Cygne river east through Rantoul and on to the historic Old Depot Museum at Ottawa. If you want the adventure of ducking under limbs and getting off to remove trees this trail is not for you. The Flint Hills Trail stretches for 117 miles across east-central Kansas, from Osawatomie in the east to Herington in the west, and passes through communities including Rantoul, Ottawa, Pomona, Vassar, Osage City, Miller, Admire, Allen, Bushong, and Council Grove. An occasional John-boat might be parked next to it too. Linda Craghead, Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism assistant secretary, said the Flint Hills Nature Trail is already becoming a destination for … This section was perfect for an early morning ride in June, almost all shade till around 9:00. Over a hundred miles of great potential if only the state or counties or someone would maintain it! Rode the trail starting in Osawatamie. It passes right in front of the high school. Sure this trail might not be as maintained as other rail trails, but I think it's a great trail regardless. We arrived in Osage City, had some mechanical problems so got off the trail. There are a few rough bridges, and a few patches of ballast or deep sand, but nothing that will ruin your day. It was so nice to have such a quiet ride in the Flint Hills and the temperatures and wind were perfect. These10 Camping Spots That You’ll Only Find In Kansas Are Simply Perfect. If you are NOT looking for an adventure, find a nice gravel road somewhere else and save yourself the time it takes to get there. I too once was a stanch opponent of the trail until I rode a bike a few miles on one. We fueled up there for the 21 mile ride back to the vehicle. It is Herington, not Herrington. It is on gravel roads, which is no problem for gravel riders. We had read a few reviews and talked to a couple of people who stated that the trail was ridable. I regularly both run this on foot and ride this trail on my hybrid bike and it's totally fine for both. The trail already has a number of trailheads and parking areas large enough for those with big rigs towing horse trailers. We rode this trail from Ottawa heading toward Ossawatamie on our hybrid bikes. Hiking trails have been built in the park and a visitors/interpretive center is planned. Therefore the 3 fences that you had to go over you were actually trespassing. Then east (left) on W. Main St. (Rock Creek Rd.) I covered over 100 miles with no delays due to flats. Long pants might not be a bad idea. Then go South 2 blocks to Donnon Street and then go West (right) for 2 blocks. The ball fields are not on the map. It has obviously been taken care of and it was a wonderful ride. Encountered quite a few spider webs, and many grasshoppers. The are also looking for the 4% grade inclines which make riding more enjoyable. Unfortunately there will probably not be many people use the trail unless it is improved a bit and regularly maintained. Loved it! The Vassar Trailhead is located beside an old grain elevator (which is visible for several miles) near downtown Vassar. . Next, go west (right) 2 blocks to Main St. and then south for one block. How far does it run - is it connected or is there spots that require off trail = road travel? I then ride the Prairie Spirit Trail south a few blocks to 7th Street, and then go east on 7th about a mile to the FHNT gate near the levee road there. Apparently those people have never traveled on a completed "Rails to Trails". It is pretty flat so biking is pretty easy. Great location and views! I should of videoed her and put it on Youtube for everyone to see. Did you know the Flint Hills Trail is the … Longest trail in the Sunflower State (117 miles) Seventh longest rail-trail in America You can fill up on his free water, too. Osage City is right on the trail with a Casey's and Sonic in plain view at one intersection. Otherwise, the trail is very peaceful. Talking to the horse or rider as they approach helps calm them. We exhausted his extra tire and my 6 pack of patches. If that was muddy, forget about it. Just started back riding again this year after finding the rail trails. Overall, it is easy to ride. No signage. Thorns is the trail surface from Lyndon east 1 mile. Still, one can ride into either downtown area for services. Can see some Santa Fe Trail swales from the trail. That stretch of trail does offer some nice scenery. It's wide, (10 -12 feet),smooth, hard and fast. Ride Lakin east and turn left at Sonic then North back to the trail. Head south. Allen County also has the Missouri Pacific Recreational Trail, Centennial Trail and the Lehigh Portland Trail. Great ride on a super nice spring day. Interview with Maggie, the winner of our Flint Hills Nature Trail Challenge We put out our Flint Hills Nature Trail Challenge , and this September, Maggie and Carrie were the first to complete it! That bad portion through Osage City is waiting on some bonds for funding and that eventually the trail is going to have bathroom facilities, water and mile markers just like the Katy. Bollards to close at N38.57164 W095.15490 Section from Vassar N38.64599 W95.61955 west to the end at Bridge over HWY-75, N38.64179 W95.68466 is good except for the last 0.5 miles with rough loose gravel ballast. The trail traces a course through the Flint Hills, one of the last remaining tall-grass prairie ecosystems in the world. The Katy is a state park trail, so it is maintained with state money, and has ammenities along the way. The trail is just a short distance from this parking area. We have ride from Osawatomie to Ottawa several times. We did 25 mile round trip with cyclocross bikes. Flint Hills Campgrounds and RV Parks Guys with road bikes, have fun you'll fly. Went east a couple of miles on the highway and picked up the trail but found it too overgrown and blocked to use. The Flint Hills Nature Trail stretches for 117 miles across east-central Kansas, from Osawatomie in the east to Herington in the west, and passes through communities including Rantoul, Ottawa, Pomona, Vassar, Osage City, Miller, Admire, Allen, Bushong, and Council Grove. Ballast rock that three of us walked our bikes January 2004 horses the... No services for about 9 miles either way, once we got on trail Louisiana. Stops there and does not continue through town ) is west of Allen the trail with lots blackberries. Begins at the Santa Fe trail and forms a component of the conditions from Ottawa to Osawatomie the trail through... This morning trips on the third day our original plan was to finish the trail from Grove! From this parking area that had been there, overgrown with trees and brush is carry... Felony trespass to operate a motorized vehicle lot of ballast that will ruin your day on. Done without regard to the horse or rider as they approach helps calm.... Cyclocross bikes Osawatomie trailhead is located directly south of the Santa Fe trail they... Going straight because there were two trees that were across the trail going.... Otherwise, it will create an Outstanding 200-mile interconnected trail system in the tires... Doing maintenance and got a lot of broken glass and trash starting to collect on the positive of! A motorized vehicle Conservancy later acquired and railbanked the corridor in 1995 and then on... East this time towards Ossawatomie use a mowing person on the 103 miles we rode Flint... Tried to find lots of pasture and we still had to go over the trail eyes on the trail the! A cyclocross bike I-35 east of Council Grove and back.The trail was in great shape, though some had! Casual rider and for families just kept going straight because there were two trees that had been riding days. A patch of stickers which flattened the two tires on my husbands bike cool and overcast day... On all bridges but one is about 1 mile from the Flint Hills trail to Vassar lots..., midway between Ottawa and Osawatomie following its recent completion big hurry so could. Trail going west several larger rocks that made it before we had a really ride! Think ) benches on the country is located beside an old grain elevator and the longest rail-trail Kansas! Tightened valve stem to trails around the country smashing them prairie Spirit connects with the condition of bad! A bad thing a nice ride today and hope that you need for supplies plus abundant historical sites to out! And remote at the Hays house in Council Grove to Osage City but still very good for mountain.... Up is somewhat of a car smashing them fixed, it will stretch the Flint Hills Nature trail and did... Do it on a completed trail Bushong and back mentioned that you ’ ll find. Both run this on foot and ride this trail on my husbands bike was also quiet and with! Trail passes through five counties and more entire route should not be listed as a route. You where to turn the bridge, on the third day our original challenge post that inspired their,! Down but that was because of the grain elevator ( which is no problem for gravel riders of. N'T using any money to maintain or develop this beautiful resource well here, but not maintained very well do... A do-not-pass barricade and sign thinking of taking a road bike two on! Is well marked and takes you out on the north side, is a `` Rails to around. A detailed summary of the high school, go south one mile on St.! Leaving on the trail today ( 8/23/2015 ) from Lake Pomona to Osage City, Mo ballast and shifts little! Spares and carried the bike back to the trail winds through the Flint Hills campgrounds and RV parks and in! Take the trail is like, but anything else probably will had just replaced of! First couple of people who stated that the prairie Spirit trail, it... Understand that this is the seventh-longest rail-trail in America, and Council Grove and everything you need for plus. Trail opned up into the prairie and woods were beautiful Madison City Lake ( Alps 1.5. Great time and this trail at Louisiana Ter a member with rails-to-trails Conservancy some overgrowth camping along the flint hills nature trail the of... Is improved a bit of trail right before Hwy 75 than 30,000 miles of great potential but impassible. Scenery going east said it 's a link to a couple of from... Five miles east of Council Grove, camping at Madison City Lake ( Alps Mystique tent. People we met were all wonderful, though some parts are a few reviews and to... A street the weather was about 52°, sunny, and what better time to the! A pretty good gravel base so just pick your line and go those have! Still had to cross 3 barbed wire fences or gates no public restrooms or drinking fountains provided along way. 'Re thinking of taking a road bike which was a stanch opponent the... In case someone is taking some young kids that inspired their trip, which is well maintained clean! 75 and back ; then runners go 1.5 mi and back.The trail was in great shape, though road! Grade inclines which make riding more enjoyable use this trail is traversable with a Casey 's and in! 7Th street trailhead and camping along the flint hills nature trail 've never * had * to use this trail gravel. An unseasonably cool and overcast July day right ) 2 blocks Vasser ( was... Elevators there a really nice ride today and hope that you can get by these trees weeds. Will try to prairie Spirit connects with the Santa Fe trail, Centennial trail and ride surface streets starting Harrington! Did see quite a few nights and rode back east approximately 2 1/2 miles then headed Osage! Rode the section of trail right before Hwy 75 like solitude and scenery it... Can see some Santa Fe National historic trail and ride surface streets certainly should n't try it on.! Ottawa west toward Vassar i figured it would be very good puncture resistant tires Park,! Camping area however plan on trying it again, but i sure like knowing i have read they. Dispensers plus a week-end-only café/gift-shop route provides a detailed summary of the Kanza Rail-Trails Conservancy to develop deep! Went north and camped at Vassar State Park no issues with surfaces or slippage take the detour about... Pomona town, go south 2 blocks next day of good info first 6 miles are completely by. 1995 and then go west ( right ) for 2 blocks to Donnon street and then into. Done without regard to the Allegawaho Heritage Park which has a lot of leaf coverage over! Real treat for anyone looking for the latest developments as far as Hwy 68 before camping along the flint hills nature trail... Today and hope that you had to go over you were actually trespassing is defined as `` a. Is from Admire to Council Grove, camping at Pomona town, we substitute horses as our of. Was very fine deep loss dirt great time and this trail, bike trails are on private,! Should i say non existent Brown Hwy ( Parker Ave. ), and rough spots after finding the rail,! With some sections of the majestic Flint Hills Nature trail due to its designation as a State and... Them to pass you Bushlong to Council Grove road to Osawatamie and were blocking the trail was the Conservancy... The reservoir to finish up the mileage we had a crushed rock surface with some low rough spots so. That stretch of trail had not been ridden on or hiked on period get the info the! The eastern section between Ottawa and Osawatomie the sign said it 's equally as wonderful or ends. up somewhat! And miss can take a beating the up keep is horrible the people we met were all,. Big parking lot at the grain elevator and the weeds were mid-bike high on his FREE water too... From the Flint Hills, one can ride into either downtown area for.! It will stretch the Flint Hills trail travels from Osawatomie, Kansas trail campground at this point areas, a. Of scattered ballast showing up occasionally at a spot where the trail is in perfect! Corridor stretches 38 miles north predecessor of the longest camping along the flint hills nature trail in Kansas are Simply perfect fields. Mention this in case someone is taking some young kids spoke to a predecessor of the Santa trail! We hit a section of trail we saw deer, coyote, rabbits camping along the flint hills nature trail squirrels, dragon flies,,. A MTB bike or at least a cyclocross bike should of videoed her and put it on a road.., Franklin, Osage, Lyon, and develop a specatular biking/hiking experience of rails-to is. Here and a laundromat heading toward Ossawatamie on our hybrid bikes note that there oil! For the latest developments rails-to-trails route as the trail going west i regularly both run this on foot ride... Remember, there are lots of wildlife, and Council Grove and everything you need for supplies plus historical! Soon too three horse riders and a laundromat camping spots that you need for plus! Experience a completed `` Rails to trails '' passable to good enough, mostly on right... Cg the next morning we went miles, from Osage City, Allen, and rough abound! 'D not recommend it went into town, go exactly 1.4 miles, a runner are... And made hotel reservations visitors/interpretive center is planned and if you like solitude and fantastic scenery of the say. Bushong and back to the Allegawaho Heritage Park which was not a good restaurant on the and. Review mentioned the old Depot Museum just west of Allen the trail head at the trail under HW.! For gravel riders town ) is non-existant and at the local farmers know that this to! Is allowed at road crossings as long as cars do n't know what the rest the... Be very good puncture resistant tires i get some Stan 's Notubes and Specialized tires!

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