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The 37.6-mile, partially paved Frisco Highline Trail connects Bolivar and Springfield with plenty to see along the way. If you travel from north to south, you’ll find that the corridor rises at about a 3% grade, so you’ll have a bit of a workout. If you prefer to ride downhill, take the trip in reverse by starting at the Springfield end.
Parking can be found at both ends of the trail. The northern terminus, located just past an art-covered bridge, provides access to bathroom facilities and a water fountain. Be sure to fill up with plenty of water as additional fountains are sparse until about mile 20.
From Bolivar, the first 4 miles are nicely paved and maintained. However, about 2 miles into the trip, trail users will need to take a short on-road detour around busy MO 13, which will add a couple of miles to your adventure but make for a much safer journey to the rest of the trail. Brave locals look for a break in traffic and hurry across this road, but this is not recommended. See detour directions below.
The paved portion of the trail picks back up on the other side of MO 13 and, for the next 3 miles, you will travel through rural farmland and see cows and horses grazing and lounging in the shade on the nearby farms. The landscape is dotted with hundreds of wildflowers and inhabited by a variety of birds, chipmunks, and rabbits.
After mile 4, and for the next 22 miles to Willard, the trail is not paved and the surface is much rougher with medium-size gravel and sporadic potholes. Keep an eye out for the cattle guards that run along the path as well; they could be a hazard if you step into them or accidentally get a bike tire caught between the bars. On the bright side, this segment of the Frisco Highline Trail has very nice, shady tree cover, and is dotted with many small bridges that run over babbling creeks and larger streams. At mile 20, you will arrive at the Walnut Grove trailhead. You’ll find a gravel parking lot here, and it’s a good spot to take a break, have lunch, or exit the trail.
Continue on from Walnut Grove for 8 miles toward the town of Willard. At Willard, the trail becomes paved and the surrounding area is much more commercialized and dotted with trailside convenience stores, ice-cream shops, and bike depots that provide free water and air for tires. This last stretch of the trail runs through a suburban landscape, and you’ll be pedaling past homes and schools. The trail ends in a paved parking lot near a hotel and commercial district in Springfield.
To reach the Bolivar trailhead, from the intersection of MO 13 and W. Broadway St., turn onto W. Broadway St. toward the center of town, and follow it for 1.6 miles. Take a left onto W. Fair Play St. and follow signs to the Frisco Highline Trail. The trailhead is just past an art-covered bridge.
To reach the Springfield trailhead, from the intersection of US 160 and I-44, heading away from town, follow US 160 south for 0.2 mile to W. Kearney St. and turn right. Stay on W. Kearney St. for 0.2 mile, and the trailhead parking lot will be on your right.
To take the on-road detour about 2 miles from the north terminus in Bolivar, take a right onto W. Aldrich Road. Follow this road for about a mile and take a left onto S. 107th Road and then take the first left onto Prairie Lane. In a half mile, Prairie Lane meets back up with the trail.
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