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The Gary L. Haller National Recreation Trail along the linear Mill Creek Streamway Park parallels an active rail line for about 6 miles of its length at its southern end. The trail runs for 17 miles from the Kansas River at Nelson Island south to Olathe. About 4 miles of trail are also designated for equestrians.
Along the way you will find numerous shelters, picnic areas, drinking fountains, playgrounds and restrooms. The trail is an important connecting corridor for the communities it links and a model urban trail system. There are some steep sections of the trail.
Access and parking for the Gary L. Haller National Recreation Trail are as follows:
* 4731 Wilder Road near the intersection with Holliday Drive, Shawnee
* north of Shawnee Mission Parkway at 5946 Barker Road, Shawnee
* 19405 Midland Drive (west of I-435) at Shawnee Mission Parkway & Midland Drive, Shawnee
* Shawnee Mission Park near Shelter 8 and North end of dam, Lenexa
* 19865 W. 87th Lane, Lenexa
* 18450 W. 95th Street, Lenexa;
* 11499 S. Millview, west of Ridgeview Road, Olathe
* 119th & Northgate, east of Woodland Avenue, Olathe
For a detailed map of access points and amenities, view the local map.
Wonderful for biking. Very scenic. Extremely well groomed and manicured trail! Lots of gentle rolling hills and bends with nicely maintained wooden planked bridges. Lots of shade in the summer. This goes through multiple townships and the quality prevails throughout. Bravo!
Ran this trail from Shawnee Mission Park to Shawnee Mission Parkway in the late 1990s while living in Overland Park.First visit back after moving 17 years ago was in April,2016.Ran the same part of trail.It's still an absolutely beautiful trail.Discovered you don't have to climb the bluffs anymore since trail was split and you can run bluffs or run the new trail along the creek.I'd recommend running this trail for any runners who visit the KC area.You'll love the experience.
We rode this beautiful, scenic trail from end to end. We parked in the middle off of Shawnee Mission Parkway (Midland) riding north to the Kansas River, then followed the creek south to Olathe. Much of the trail is in dense wooded area that feels more like the mountains of North Carolina than Kansas. There are numerous hills and curves that keep it exciting and challenging as well as stretches of prairie that were filled with Sunflowers. We loved all the wooden bridges and tunnels too. There are plenty of bathrooms, water, benches, and picnic tables, but pack your own snacks.
We recently took up riding again. We have found that bike trails cannot get much better than this one. It is a paved and well maintained trail, very scenic and you basically do not have to cross many streets for miles. There is one part that has tough hills North of Shawnee Mission park, think that is called Oak Ridge trail section, but there is an alternate easier route, the lower GLH. You go next to creeks, under road and railroad bridges and on trail bridges over the different creeks you encounter in the way, very nice wooded areas. We use parts of this trail to connect up with Pairie Star Parkway trail on the South end of this run.
In town on business but always try and find a local trail to run. The trail is well maintained and plenty wide. Since it was cold and rainy I had the trail to myself but it is wide enough to safely allow for bikes and walkers /runners. Trail is mostly flat along its course with a few short inclines. I would recommend it for families on bikes or pushing strollers as well.
Really good trail for rollerblading. A little bumpy in places where the asphalt was repaired with tar strips but not bad. There are a few hills that are tough but a good challenge. There is one section of hills, though, at the northwest side of SMP that is not recommended for even the best of rollerbladers as it has very steep decline coupled with a sharp turn at the end, but there is a bypass for that section so not a show stopper. Plenty of room for strong strides while sharing with passing bikers and runners. Best I have found in the area for long sessions.
All paved twist turns and rolling hills some straight aways. Great ride. Bathroom and water on trail.
This is my favorite trail in the Kansas City area. It offers a good long length, quiet scenery, an excellent maintained surface, and is close to major traffic highways, but the ridge separates it from the highway noise so you're not aware how close it is.
Bike trails cannot get much better than this one. It is a paved and well maintained trail, very scenic and you basically do not cross any road for miles and miles. Tough hills North of Shawnee Mission park, but there is an alternate easier route. You go next to creeks, under road bridges and on trail bridges over the different creeks you encounter in the way, very nice wooded areas. Trail goes next to a very nice lake and though nice neighborhoods and some sport complex. There are nice Mountain bike trails near the dam at Shawnee Mission Park.
Incredible, paved trail into the woods along a beautiful creek. The water is clear and the creek is remarkably clean. The trail is well maintained. The trains sneak up on you along this trail. We saw at least 7 trains, mostly BNSF. We did see one Norfolk and Southern train and one old Santa Fe. There are stopping points along the way for water. Saw some good swimming holes and a waterfall along the creek. Other riders and runners were very friendly. This one is a Kansas gem.
Wide paths allow for runners and bikers to co-exist. Put in at 95th and run with a double running stroller. The slides around 1.5 miles from 95th keeps the kids happy, be sure to hit the restrooms (before the tunnel) as they will be the last you will see for awhile. Love looping around the lake, very easy 7.5 mile run filled with nature and plent of shade which is a most running in this area in the summer. Best family trail in the KC area.
I had not ridden in many years and let my legs get out of shape after a career of mostly desk work. I rode the trail a few days ago and found the hills, some a couple hundred yards long and around 10 degrees, arduous at best. I had to get off and walk and finally gave up and returned to the access at K-10 where I rode north and south on a relatively flat part. My new bike, which will be traded in for a lighter one this morning, is a Giant Sedona 16" trail bike which is way too heavy for me to want to pedal it up hills.
If your legs are not in very good shape yet, I suggest you do some flat riding with minor hills for awhile.
A very active Scenic Trail with many access points, I needed my GPS to get back to my car. Parking N38.95327 W94.79770 Trail not well marked going north, leads off on two side Trails. Lots of wild life. Not a level trail, but a new bypass of the steep hill. Definitely worth a stop to ride, takes you to the south bank of the KAW River. First Trail I’ve seen with 911 location signs. Noel Keller 8 Sep 09
The trail has recently been upgraded to address the few minor negatives mentioned. Signage has been added to mark the main trail. The one road crossing has been directed under a new bridge. The steep trail up the bluff now has a bypass for those looking to save time and energy. Also 911 emergency locator signs have been added for directing responders to exact locations along the trail. Throughout much of this trail, you would never know you were in a major city!
"I was visiting in Olathe, Kansas this past summer and had the opportunity to ride the trail from Olathe to the Kansas River six times during the visit.
I have to say it was one of the most enjoyable trails I have ever been on. It is well designed, with very few places that one needs to cross any streets, which is quite nice and very safe. It is completely paved (no gravel sections at all which is great for us road bike riders). It is protected enough from the wind there was no discernable wind to fight while on the trail. With moderate winds or less you should not have any concerns about the wind.
The trail could use some additional signage to indicate whether the a split in the trail is to a trail exit or a continuation. Those familiar with the trail will have no problem, but the first time through it is not always clear where to go to continue on. There is also a loop or two on the trail, where you can continue on the trail by taking the left or the right choice, but these are not labelled either, and it could be possible to end up looping around without realizing it at first. This would be a minor inconvenience for a cyclist, but a hiker would be pretty disappointed to find out they just went in a circle.
One other warning is there is an overpass over the railway at one point, and the trail uses the sidewalk for going over this bridge. I personally do not like riding on sidewalks at all (it is illegal in most states and is a dangerous practice in all states even if it is not illegal), so I took the road instead. I noticed there was some broken glass that definitely could cause a flat on the sidewalk, and the turn at the end of the bridge to get back on the trail was a pretty sharp 180 degree turn.
There is one fairly significant climb near the middle of the trail, which proved quite challenging for me the first couple times I did it, since I am from NW Ohio which is completely flat. This is the first time I really had to use my brakes in a serious manner in the last eight years of riding.
Being a real train fan (I love to watch trains as I ride my bike) I especially appreciated riding alongside a track for a large part of the trail. I like that better than riding on trails that just used to be tracks. The tunnels underneath the tracks was an interesting twist as well, though there was water on the trail in the tunnels, even though it had not rained at all recently.
All in all this is the best trail I have ever been lucky enough to ride on."
"This trail is pretty in the fall, with the babbling brook we sometimes imagine, and several overpasses. Nice variety, too, with open space and tree canopies, freight train whistles and a bluebird's song. Best scenery lies closest to Shawnee Mission Park's trailhead."
"The first two descriptions that came to mind while riding this trail were ""showcase"" and ""class act"".
I was very impressed with all of the facilities, the natural and man-made beauty, and the variety of terrain.
There is a very well developed system of trailheads and the trail is directly connected to the residential and park areas and athletic facilities nearby.
Another interesting feature is that the trail shares the Mill Creek greenway with the active Burlington-Northern & Santa Fe rail line. The trail even burrows through the above grade rail bed in two locations, just to provide through access to the particularly nice 87th Lane trailhead. In that spirit, the trail has quite a number of overpasses and underpasses; as a result, only one time in the 17 mile length of the trail do users have to touch a road.
Most of the trail runs along the banks of the creek, though there is one stretch near Shawnee Mission Park where you make a pretty serious climb to the top of a bluff and are rewarded with a wonderful panoramic view. A well placed bench allows you to enjoy it for a while before continuing on.
Throughout the trail there are paved turnouts for rest areas without interfering with the trail traffic. Developed picnic and playground areas are abundant.
Finally, adjacent pastures add another interesting touch, especially where a creative method was found to traverse a field while still giving the farmer access to both sides of the trail.
It's worth the trip to Kansas City just to ride this trail!"
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