Category Archives: Trails

Kansas River float cancelled

The Arkansas River Coalition has cancelled Saturday and Sunday’s float down the Kansas River, set to begin near Junction City.  The Kansas River was to be floated because the Arkansas River is too low.

A online press release said it was cancelled because of  massive snow amounts.

The release also predicted that pending snow melt could also make it much easier to again float the Arkansas River southward from Wichita in the coming weeks. Floating the river has been extremely difficult since mid-summer because of declining water levels.

The group dedicated to protecting the Arkansas River often shares it with the general public through a variety of floats. Often, the group provides all needed equipment for those participating in events.

For more information, go to

Guided hikes offered on New Year’s Day

Huge rock formations are important parts of hiking in and around Cross Timbers and Elk City State Parks.

At least five Kansas state parks are taking part in a national trend to encourage hiking on the first day of the year. The hikes are at Kaw River, Eisenhower (Melvern Reservoir), Tuttle Creek,  Cross Timbers (Toronto Reservoir) and Elk City State Parks. Most are only about a mile or two in length, and could probably be handled by most members of a family.

Usually starting in the early afternoon, interested hikers could make a day of it and at least scout the other trails in and around those state parks.

Personally, I’ve hiked a fair amount around the Elk City and Crossed Timbers State Parks and really love the country. The trails are a mix of giant rimrock boulders, mature forests and grasslands.

Take your binoculars if you go. The chances of seeing bald eagles around these reservoirs is very high this time of the year.


Autumn is time to hit the Kansas trails

For thousands of miles, you can walk amid autumn finery.

In eastern Kansas you can stroll beneath yellowing walnuts and hickories, then past reddening oaks as you pass along trails that take you up and down a rolling topography.

In the Flint Hills, you can hike by scarlet-colored sumac as you work through long stretches of prairie grasses that turn to gorgeous hues that rival those of  the legendary trees of New England.

As well as changing colors on trees and other vegetation, walking the Elk River Hiking trail takes you through scenic rimrock formations.

Most Kansans have no idea how many miles of really fine hiking trails are within our state.

Personally, I’d suggest checking out the Elk River Hiking Trail at Elk City Reservoir. As well as changing foliage, the trail winds through towering rimrock with some boulders literally the size of small houses.

Trails at Cross Timbers State Park have similar topography. Great prairie hikes can be had at well-maintained trails as close as El Dorado State Park.


Flint Hills Nature Trail to offer miles of enjoyment

Congratulations, you have  access to 117 miles of towering woodlands, clear streams and long prairie vistas dotted with clumps of wild flowers.

The Flint Hills Nature Trail basically follows an abandoned rail line from Herington to Osawatomie. Currently about 80 miles or so are improved enough for bikes or horses. Work is progressing on the rest.

Wednesday I got a few hours of touring via pick-up with Scott Allen, of Council Grove. The work they’ve done to create the trail is impressive, as is the diversity of  habitats and views. Some places it is more than six miles between public roads. That the right-of-way is usually 100 to 200 yards wide means people can wander a bit, but are cautioned to not cross fences on to private lands.

More details on the trail that’s the sixth-largest of it’s kind in the nation should be on Sunday’s outdoors page in The Eagle, or at  CLICK HERE TO SEE A photo gallery of about 20 photos from along the trail online.