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Find the top rated birding trails in Emporia, whether you're looking for an easy short birding trail or a long birding trail, you'll find what you're looking for. Click on a birding trail below to find trail descriptions, trail maps, photos, and reviews.
|Trail Image||Trail Name||States||Length||Surface||Rating|
Caution: As of January 2018, the Kansas Department Wildlife, Parks and Tourism closed the Flint Hills Nature Trail bridge located west of Ottawa, near the Second Street dam, due to a fire. Check with...
|KS||117 mi||Ballast, Crushed Stone||
Lake Shawnee opened in 1939 as a project of the Works Progress Administration and has been providing the residents and visitors of Topeka with a host of recreational opportunities since that time. A...
When complete, the Landon Nature Trail will follow a 40-mile corridor of the former Missouri Pacific Railroad, running between Topeka and an intersection with the 117-mile Flint Hills Nature Trail...
|KS||12.1 mi||Concrete, Crushed Stone||
The Prairie Spirit Trail in Kansas is hard-packed limestone and suitable for bicycles as well as wheelchairs. Some of the trail is asphalt (within city limits), which allows for inline skaters. The...
|KS||51.3 mi||Asphalt, Crushed Stone||
Traversing the city of Topeka through a stream valley, the Shunga Trail provides an important connection between residents and community features such as parks, medical facilities, government...
Did a 25 mile out and back east of Council Grove. Overall good condition with a little loose stone. Quiet ride with beautiful views of the working and natural landscape.
Loved this trail. We made it from the start to south of Berryton. It's mostly tree shaded and really pretty; very peaceful, especially after you leave city limits. Concrete for a long while -- great for skating; then crushed stone -- some pitted parts here and there but mostly nice and smooth.
I regularly do 40-50 on this trail. The best part is from Admire to Council Grove, both in terms of scenery and trail conditions. East of Admire has a lot of ballast that will slow you down. If you like solitude and scenery, it's the best trail in KS. If you like amenities, not so much. As for thorns, I use tire liners and have never had a single flat.
My son and I did an overnight leaving from Council Grove, camping at Vassar State Park and back to CG the next day. We had excellent weather and plenty of time to accomplish the 50+ miles in each direction. My bike handled the rough terrain well but my son's tires did not like the many thorns. We exhausted his extra tire and my 6 pack of patches. We even broke into my air mattress repair kit. Either go tubeless or make sure your tires can take a beating. Some very rough patches and THORNS! That aside - beautiful landscape and scenery! Say "hi" to the cows! Also, Vassar State Park is a beautiful camping area. Friendly people, too. Also, stop off in Allen and talk to Paul who runs the auto shop - super friendly and will sell you a coke for 50 cents. You can fill up on his free water, too. Stay a spell and let him tell you about his town. You won't be sorry.
We took a ride from the trailhead at Princeton KS, about 17 miles to Garnett KS, where we ate lunch at a restaurant on the town square, and returned that afternoon. This trail has excellent surface condition, good vegetation control, safe bridges, and nice variety of scenery in open space and deep forest cover. Bathrooms and water available at Princeton, Richmond, and Garnett. Its a nice day trip from Kansas City to get out in the country.
Had a great ride yesterday on the trail. Met nice folks along the way. Trail is well maintained. If the state could do something about the 23 mph SSW headwind, that would be nice. :)
Plenty of place to stop and enjoy the prairie.
I got on the trail where it intersects 89th street. There is not a really good place to park. I ran toward Topeka and crossed several roads that had better spots to park.
The website for the Rails to Trails says the part that head south was closed to public, but it looks like it is now open.
I ran a short out and back--getting on the trail near 7th and Lincoln in Ottawa. It was a bit muddy in a few places, but otherwise not too bad. They had just replaced one of the bridges and looked like they were going to add side rails. I crossed two other bridges with no sides. The portion I was on looked like it might have some shade in the summer.
After riding the Katy three times a buddy and I found out about this trail. I like it better even though it is much shorter. Rode it the first weekend of October. It was in GREAT shape. Whoever is in charge of maintaining it does a excellent job. Started in Humboldt and rode to Ottowa on a Saturday and rode back on Sunday. About 57 miles each way. Garnett is really the only place to get food halfway. Perfect weather when we went. I think there is a trail to Witchita from Ottowa. Will be looking for info on that and incorporate that with the next Prairie Spiirit ride
My wife and I did a S24O (sub-24-hour-overnighter) from Admire to Pomona Lake and back (~30 miles one-way - 60 miles round-trip) over Columbus Day weekend 2016. We stayed at Vassar State Park which has a nice shower house with running water, plumbing, electricity, and a laundromat. It is also right on the lake. Osage City is a nice midpoint stop over with a nearby Casey's and Sonic just a block or two off of the trail.
I would recommend diverting to the south of the trail a block or two in Osage City due to the active railroad, an unmaintained bridge, and an apparent private property dispute/temper-tantrum. The active railroad is the only signed feature, and that's with a do-not-pass barricade and sign. 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.
I rode a Surly Big Dummy with 26"x2.15+" width tires and my wife rode a Salsa Vaya with 700x40mm tires. We both had flats, although mine may have been due to an improperly tightened valve stem. Hers may have been a pinch flat, as there was no evident thorn or debris nearby or caught in the tire.
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. The trail is bumpy and muddy with loose ballast, pot holes, and washouts in sections. There are a few low-hanging branches to dodge, also.
All this being said, my wife and I rode the trail with one longtail bike plus rider plus camping equipment probably verging on 280-300 lbs mark, while my wife was on somewhat narrow 40mm wide tires with her camping gear, and we only had to dismount once due to a broad and deep mud hole.
If you're used to riding perfectly groomed limestone trails, or asphalt and concrete and don't know how to change a flat and aren't used to riding 10-15 miles on gravel and/or minimum maintenance roads, and can't carry more than a couple of water bottles, this portion may not be for you.
If you regularly mountain bike or ride gravel, and know how to change a tube, and are prepared to NOT have water spigots every 2-5 miles, this is a fun segment, particularly for a quick bikepacking overnighter. . .
Pomona Lake's Vassar State Park is close to the trail and has a laundromat and showerhouse with plumbing and electricity and a motel and restaurant nearby.
Osage City is right on the trail with a Casey's and Sonic in plain view at one intersection.
Run tubeless or with tire liners. Have a hand tire pump handy.
Pack extra water. . .Osage City (~15 miles) is the first place with clean water access between Admire and Pomona Lake that would appear to be readily and regularly handy unless you want to knock on doors.
Spent several days doing different portions of this trail while camping at Council Grove in June. Rode East of Council Grove to Bushong and back (30 miles round trip) one day. 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). Lots of biking hours in solitude and fantastic scenery of the Flint Hills. Lots of tree canopy covering the trail in some places. It is pretty flat so biking is pretty easy. The biggest issue is that you need to be self supported since there are almost no services for many miles. You certainly shouldn't try this without very good puncture resistant tires. I use Stan's Notubes and Specialized Armadillo tires and sure encountered some thorns but this was no problem with self-sealing tires. I covered over 100 miles with no delays due to flats. Lots of wildlife, and saw no other bikers on the trail on any day. Some parts are a bit rough, so a Hybrid or mountain bike (my preference) is best. Sure don't try it on a road bike. If you want a smoother trail with lots of services, then the Katy Trail in Missouri is a nice option.
We did 25 mile round trip with cyclocross bikes. Loved it! The first couple of miles weren't that interesting, but after that the prairie and woods were beautiful. We would much prefer this kind of trail than going through farmland.
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