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The Riverfront Heritage Trail is located in the heart of Kansas City, Missouri. This downtown trail showcases the city’s heritage, as well as its continuously redeveloping downtown areas. The trail also features connections that span west across the river into Kansas City, Kansas.
Begin your journey at the northern terminus, where the trail passes through the Richard L. Berkley Riverfront Park. The area was previously used as a landfill and an industrial site but is now reclaimed as a riverfront park and used for cultural events throughout the year. The trail’s wide, smooth surface makes traveling through the park an easy experience. The perfect views of the Missouri River are not to be missed. You’ll pass under the Heart of America Bridge and continue on your journey through the park, bearing right to stay on the trail. Interpretive signage tells the story and heritage of the Kansas City riverfront.
At the end of this riverside section of the trail, you’ll come to the Town of Kansas Bridge. If the paved trail becomes broken and unpaved, you’ve missed the bridge and gone too far. To walk across the bridge, climb the stairs or take the elevator (hidden around the back side, near the stairs). Crossing the bridge, you’ll arrive in the River Market district of downtown Kansas City, Missouri. Eateries are abundant in this area, and nearby museums and theaters provide cultural attractions.
Turn right onto West Third Street and follow the signs for the trail as it continues along the sidewalk. Turn left onto Wyandotte Street. Here, you may either turn right onto West Fourth Street to make the journey west into Kansas City, Kansas, or continue south into Kansas City, Missouri (see directions below). To head west, follow the trail down Beardsley Road and over Forrester Road. Turn right onto Hickory Street and right again onto Eighth Street as you ride through this industrial neighborhood of Kansas City. Be sure to ride to the Riverfront Heritage trailhead at the end of Eighth Street. The trailhead features a Santa Fe railcar and a commemoration of the area’s history through four sculptures by a local artisan. The sculptures depict a slave family making their way toward Kansas, which was admitted to the United States as a free state without slavery in 1861. Interpretive signage commemorates the history and lives of African Americans who journeyed toward freedom.
From the trailhead, head north on Madison Avenue and follow the signage for the trail as it continues under I-70. As you enter into Kansas and cross the Woodswether Bridge, a new segment provides access to Lewis and Clark Kaw Point Park. Or continue on to reach the westernmost terminus of the trail at Huron Park.
Heading south in Kansas City, Missouri, from Wyandotte Street, continue south down Wyandotte Street by following signs for the trail. Take care as you turn right onto West Ninth Street, as this section is on-road and the last block goes up a steep hill; beginners may need to walk their bikes. Continue straight for seven blocks until you reach Ermine Case Junior Park, where water fountains are available. The trail picks up to the left, but be sure to check out the statue of Lewis and Clark, located to the right and down the street, where parking is available. Within the park, an overlook not far along the trail provides views of the train tracks and the west side of the city, still undergoing development.
Continue south on Kirk Drive as you exit the park; the roadway soon becomes W. 11th Street. You’ll enter an on-road portion of the trail again as you turn right onto Pennsylvania for three blocks. Car traffic can be heavy, as cars enter the interstate from this stretch of road, so take care. At the intersection with West 14th Street, bear to the right and use the pedestrian bridge path to cross over I-35. After crossing the bridge, bear right as the trail loops around a baseball field and through Mulkey Square Park. Cross another pedestrian bridge over I-670 to arrive at Jarboe Park, which has a community swimming pool. Follow signs for the trail, as it alternates between an off-road path and on-road segments with sparse (if any) car traffic. The trail continues, paralleling West Pennway Street. At the intersection with Summit Street, cross the road to follow the trail, turning right to travel down the left-hand side of Jefferson Street for another block, where the trail ends.
To reach the northern terminus at N. Lydia Ave. in Kansas City, MO, from I-29 N., take Exit 4 for Front Street/Grand Avenue. At the end of the exit, turn right onto Front St. and at the next intersection, turn left onto N. Lydia Ave. Turn right into the first parking lot.
To reach the western terminus at Huron Park in Kansas City, KS, from I-70 W, take Exit 423C. Keep left and follow the signs for Minnesota Ave. Turn left onto N. Fifth St. After two blocks, turn left onto Ann Ave. On-street parking is available in the area.
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