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The Southwind Rail Trail opened in 2013 for recreation and active transportation use on a converted railroad corridor stretching between the small southeast Kansas cities of Iola and Humboldt. The trail is essentially a southern extension of the 51-mile Prairie Spirit Trail, which travels through Iola and a rural landscape farther north to the city of Ottawa.
The trail begins at Iola's Riverside Park, which features baseball fields and a swimming pool. Shortly thereafter, the trail crosses Elm Creek on a restored railroad trestle. The rest of the journey to the outskirts of Humboldt is marked by a landscape of rolling hills and fertile farmland.
The Southwind Rail Trail was developed in large part through the efforts of Thrive Allen County, an active local nonprofit. In a first for Kansas, the local county commission also voted to help maintain and manage the trail.
Parking for the Southwind Rail Trail can be found in Iola at Riverside Park. The park's large parking lots are located just west of the intersection of S. State Street and W. Vine Street.
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