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Springfield's South Creek Greenway provides residents and visitors alike with a welcome dose of nature within the city's urban limits, and also serves as a useful off-road means of getting around and getting in some exercise.
The trail begins in a residential part of town in Springfield's McDaniel Park, and the route follows its namesake creek to the west, paralleling Sunset Street as it traverses open land with only occasional tree cover. The trail takes users above the Kansas Expressway via a dedicated overpass, which offers up views of the neighborhoods to the east and vast fields to the west. Shortly after, the trail heads into Nathanael Greene Park, home of the Springfield Botanical Gardens. Fans of foliage won't want to miss the park's numerous attractions, including a butterfly garden and house and a lovely Japanese stroll garden.
Continuing onward, the trail moves into a more natural, tranquil environment as it heads through more densely wooded terrain. Approaching W. Battlefield Road above the trail, users can either continue on the path south for a short while, where it ends in a residential neighborhood, or take the switchbacks up to the road. Sidewalks and bike lanes along Battlefield Road help to connect you to the next segment of the trail at the end of Farm Road 123. This part of the trail is even more removed from the urban environs, taking you through secluded woods, wetlands and prairies next to Wilsons Creek until the trail abruptly ends right below W. Republic Road.
Parking is available at the trail's western end via a small lot adjacent to the trail off of W Farm Road 168, and at the trail's eastern end in McDaniel Park. Users wishing to park along the trail may also make use of the lot in Nathanael Greene Park.
To reach the eastern end of the trail from I-44, take exit 80 and head south on N Glenstone Avenue towards Springfield. Continue on Glenstone Ave for several miles and then take a right onto E Sunset Street. Take a right onto S National Avenue, and McDaniel Park will be on your left.
We picked up the trail at the end of South Kings Avenue which is near the McDaniel Park trailhead. This urban trail has quite a bit of turns and curves. Trail width varies depending on the location and follows the creek for the most part. Mile markers and directional signs are painted on the pavement. For the first 1.6 miles, there are a few street crossings and the trail parallels roads. A short distance after you cross over the Kansas Expressway overpass, the trail goes through the Springfield Botanical Gardens. Plan on a stop here to stroll through one of the many gardens. The botanical gardens are gorgeous. The trail continues on for a short distance through a shady area and you can almost forget you are in a major city. We turned around at MM 5.4, West Battlefield Rd.
The trail surface was good. You cycle through two short tunnels which might be flooded after a heavy rain. It also seems that the section of the trail beyond the botanical gardens could also be subject to some flooding. We are not from the area so can’t comment for sure on flooding. I would recommend this trail. There are no amenities along the trail.
I like urban trails that twist and turn. I prefer signage that are on post, ones painted are much easier to miss. All in all great ride, scenery. Look like a lot of locals use trail which is great ¿¿
Nice ride starting on the backside of the trail. Was worth the ride through the Nathanael Green Park to see the Botanical Gardens and the Rosten Butterfly House. As titled, it is marked at 5.7 miles. If you want a longer ride follow the directions at the end of the description and go up switchback to get to the Wilson Creek Trail. It transitions on surface streets. I only did the bottom leg (go left) and it was short with some challenging hills. Go through the parking lot to get to the upper segment of the trail.
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