Sure don't try it on a road bike. We had read a few reviews and talked to a couple of people who stated that the trail was ridable. One old steel RR Bridge. Is that ok. Pomona — From K-68 at Pomona town, go south one mile on Madison St. (Colorado Rd.). Only around 30 min. Lots of tree canopy covering the trail in some places. This is not like the Prairie Spirit on the other end of town. Biking trip on the Flint Hills Nature Trail from Council Grove, Kansas to Osawatomie, Kansas. Have a hand tire pump handy. This trail has been awarded a KDWPT grant and also a KDOT grant recently so we look forward to having the trail completed possibly in 2015? We had a great time and this trail is highly recommended! Pretty tough going! This trail was made possible through a generous donation by the Cloud Foundation in memory of Roger Cloud who was an avid lover of the Flint Hills. I found myself wondering who in the neighborhood must have ticked off the city council to have such bad road surface! From Ottawa to Osawatomie the trail is in great shape but some of the bridges haven't been replace or updated yet. As we left Allen the trail was ridable, with quite a bit of growth onto the trail, down the middle and overhead but there were two paths. Then you hit Osage city. Today, at 9 miles in, there was about 200 yd where water covered the trail from the big overnight thunderstorms, but this is not normal. I realize that it takes great effort and time to establish a biking trail, and the parts that are maintained were very nice. One looked like he had been riding many days. 40 miles of outstanding trail. There are lots of sections that are just dirt that would very tough if it was muddy. I usually park/start in north Ottawa at the Old Depot Museum just west of the grain elevators there. We then road our bikes to the reservoir to finish up the mileage we had intended to ride. This route provides a detailed summary of the Flint Hills Trail from Osawatomie Kansas to Council Grove Kansas. We logged 73 miles that day of hard riding. In the first 2.5 miles we had to cross 3 barbed wire fences or gates. At this point your about a mile West of Ottawa. Very nice park with facilities. We fueled up there for the 21 mile ride back to the vehicle. . I don't know what the rest of the trail is like, but the section we rode was awsome! I cannot seem to get the info from the internet - any information would be greatly appreciated. Otherwise, it was very peaceful and the solitude was remarkable. We first tried to park at the school and ride from there, but the railroad tracks still haven't been removed from that section and it's overgrown with weeds, so we got onto the trail about a mile west of town, where it crosses over the road. :) It is obvious that the State of Kansas isn't using any money to maintain or develop this beautiful resource. Other than that, I'd not recommend it for the faint of heart. Now, from Osage City east to Osawatomie is from passable to good enough, mostly on the positive side of that spectrum. Camping and overnight parking is not authorized at this time. The wheat fields looked like they were almost ready to be cut. It follows the general route of the Santa Fe National Historic Trail and forms a component of the coast-to-coast American Discovery Trail. Great location and views! If your go near the bridge over 75 hwy. I would hope that the area around Council Grove would be better developed to take advantage of the beautiful Flint Hills as the part we saw were something you can not appreciate from the highway. Tried going west only to find a large closed (but not locked) cattle gate leading to open range, with lots of cattle. I definitely wouldn't recommend this part of the trail for runners as the trail is under-developed and in rough condition. Camping available in multiple sites along the way. I began running along this trail on Friday afternoon on 4/12/2019. Friendly people, too. On the Flint Hills Trail, with the group. East of Pomona Lake, the Flint Hills Trail will also join the developing 38-mile Landon Nature Trail, a pleasantly wooded corridor heading north to Topeka. You will need a MTB bike or at least a cyclocross bike. Also most of those trails in which you are discussing are on private land. There is also a good restaurant on the left by the motel and golf course. Bushong — From US 56, go one mile south on Road F. Council Grove East — From Main St. (US 56) go to S. 8th Street. My hybrid/fitness bike (Trek 7.2FX with 700x35 tires) did the job, but the trail is rough in a few spots. Then the forest cuts through the trail, making it impossible to get through, even walking your bike.We had to turn back at this point, so I don't know what it's like on the other side. The trail winds through some beautiful, secluded woods running along the river. You can fill up on his free water, too. Just started back riding again this year after finding the rail trails. It passes right in front of the high school. Loved it! Encountered quite a few spider webs, and many grasshoppers. We got off at HW 368 and went north and camped at Pomona State Park. The surface has been graded but that’s it. The area east of Council Grove is the most scenic (sweeping vistas of the flint hills where you can see for miles) and has the best trail condition. Its limestone surface is hard packed with small amounts of scattered ballast showing up occasionally. Then east (left) on W. Main St. (Rock Creek Rd.) I regularly both run this on foot and ride this trail on my hybrid bike and it's totally fine for both. Although this trail has no real tailheads or services, Rantoul does have a small outdoor shack of coin-operated dispensers plus a week-end-only café/gift-shop. Trail was in great shape, though some parts had a lot of leaf coverage. It is Herington, not Herrington. detour that is west of Ottawa. They have developed the route of about 4 miles to the Allegawaho Heritage Park which was a nice ride. Your donation will help us to continue connecting more people to trails around the country. mentioned above in posts from previous years. The rest of the trail surface is wonderful, though. There were lots of wildflowers along the trail. This is a rough trail. The owner was there and able to contain him so we could pass. A couple of the websites say this trail is unimproved, but ride-able with a mountain bike and there are sections that are not. West for 3.7 miles, nice trail with some low rough spots. It is on gravel roads, which is no problem for gravel riders. The trail is built upon an old railroad corridor, which was developed beginning in 1886—the Council Grove, Osage City & Ottawa Railway (which serviced coal mining) and the Missouri Pacific. Trail users can enjoy walking, riding with a mountain or hybrid bike, and horseback riding on the trail. We parked at a spot where the trail crosses Virginia Road. Unlike the R-Ts that I've done (GAP, Katy, Mickelson), there are no dedicated services such as water (cisterns or pumps), bathrooms or portapotties, no mileage signage, not even signs identifying towns at crossroads. The RTC also features the Flint Hills Trail on their TrailLink site. This is along a reservoir so is not as nice as camping on tallgrass prairie, but it is very near lots of prairie and you could use it as a base to explore the Flint Hills. An occasional John-boat might be parked next to it too. Next tried Herington but couldn't find a trail head. We started this trail at Vassar and headed west. Bikes go 7 mi and back; then runners go 1.5 mi and back; horseback riders go last. Not quite as nice as from Council Grove to Osage city but still very good. Once a trail is completed it is a felony trespass to operate a motorized vehicle. If you're used to nice rest areas like the Katy or Raccoon River Valley or Prairie Spirit offer, don't plan on them here. There was one section just as you go over the bridge at HW 75 that was very fine deep loss dirt. It's not the " big" gravel you think of when you hear " gravel road" but fine crushed gravel very similar to what's on the trail. We saw six other cyclists. Wildflowers permeate its corridor as well. Check or FAQs for more common login questions. The Flint Hills Trail travels from Osawatomie to Herrington. We only wrote about 15 miles and then turned around and went back I walked the 7th street trailhead and I've noticed a lot of broken glass and trash starting to collect on the ground. The best part is from Admire to Council Grove, both in terms of scenery and trail conditions. View detailed trail descriptions, trail maps, reviews, photos, trail itineraries, directions and more on TrailLink. I’ve also seen hikers and photographers on this nature trail. Directions were incomplete and inaccurate. The Katy is a state park trail, so it is maintained with state money, and has ammenities along the way. The description I read said to continue west and turn right on next road and go 1/4 mile north. The Flint Hills Trail has over a dozen conveniently located trail heads and other access points (designated TH on the map), some with nearby parking, camping/lodging, and other trail-friendly services. It was actually our original challenge post that inspired their trip, which is a pretty big honor! See: Camping Along The Prairie Spirit Trail. Hope this makes this great trail easier to find. We rode for about 8 miles in 1 1/2 hours and finally came to a dirt road crossing. Some parts are a bit rough, so a Hybrid or mountain bike (my preference) is best. The sign said it's the trail so we went. Rode East of Council Grove to Bushong and back (30 miles round trip) one day. Many times I thought I was riding on pavement. I was so disappointed in this section, I decided to ride the Prairie Spirit Trail instead from Ottawa. This rail-trail corridor stretches 38 miles north to the capital city of Topeka. We rode our street bikes. The Flint Hills Trail was the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy’s “Trail of the Month” in March 2010. Carl Spahn with daughter Madison Kansas City, Mo. There are no services on this trail at all, but if you turn left (East) onto John Brown Highway, it's only 1 or 2 miles before you get into town and can grab something to eat and drink. Secondly the reason that you actually see out here in this part of the state "Rails to Trails" is not for bikes. Back on the trail in the morning and through the only tunnel on the trail under HW 268. The Flint Hills Nature Trail is 117-mile rail-trail conversion connecting Osawatomie in the east and Herington in the west, passing through Rantoul, Ottawa, Pomona, Vassar, Osage City, Bazaar, Allen, Bushong, Council Grove, Wilsey, and Delavan. The Flint Hills Nature Trail follows this scenic river for a while, named by French explorers and appreciated by every Kansan since. There is still a pretty good gravel base so just pick your line and go. The trail already has a number of trailheads and parking areas large enough for those with big rigs towing horse trailers. It's the longest rail-trail in Kansas and one of the longest rail-trails in the United States. The surface is rough ballast and shifts a little underneath you. Near the center of the 117-mile trail the park is becoming a prime stopping point for trail users, no matter if it’s just to take a break by the lake, get a soul-soothing shower or camp in a tent or a rental cabin. The scenery wasn't terribly scenic But the horseback riders we encountered were very pleasant and friendly although there were horse droppings throughout the trail. Unfortunately I don't because the up keep is horrible. We met three horse riders and a few bike riders. The trail is gravel, but not maintained very well. Allen County also has the Missouri Pacific Recreational Trail, Centennial Trail and the Lehigh Portland Trail. This is a nature trail, so it's not going to have all the ammenities, or be as well maintained, but I think that's part of what makes it more me anyway Rob, We rode the 21 mile section of the trail starting in Allen, KS and riding to Council Grove, KS. Another small section was sandy and a little more challenging to ride on. Some sections are OK and others are pretty rough. The trail head is a little hard to find, and Google maps did not help. 2) Horses use this trail. There are trailheads on this trail. The next morning we went to the trailhead and rode back east approximately 2 1/2 miles then headed toward Osage City. Whenever you encounter a gate, please close it again behind you. Keep your eyes peeled and if you ride (or run) with headphones, you might leave one out. We fixed the tires with spares and carried the bike back to the section before the stickers. The trails were in very good condition. Good luck trying to get on the trail in Osawatomie. The railroad that crosses the trail is NOT at-grade, and will require an exceptionally expertly-timed bunny hop in loose ballast or a dismount and lift. There are about four or five with no railings. Such a peaceful trail to ride. Today we rode the Flint Hills Trail from Osawatomie to Ottawa and back. Converting an abandoned rail corridor into a trail is not always an easy task, but it is one whose rewards to your community and region will continue far into the future. Let me start off by telling you how to find it so you don't have to spend over an hour trying to find it like I did. I know this seems like a lot of negatives, but don't let it scare you off of this trail: the beauty and fun this trail offers overwhelmingly outweighs any drawbacks, and as long as you are alert (and have a spare tube), you should be fine. I do however plan on trying it again, but only after I get some Stan's No Tubes. I would recommend diverting to the south of the trail a block or two in Osage City due to the active railroad, an unmaintained bridge, and an apparent private property dispute/temper-tantrum. And you better be sure your tire repair skills are up to date, This trail is a guaranteed flat tire. According to legend, the infamous Jesse James and … The only way you can get by these trees and brush is to carry your bike through them. From here to Vasser, again it's hit and miss. We saw deer, coyote, rabbits, squirrels, dragon flies, butterflies, and turtles. I use Stan's Notubes and Specialized Armadillo tires and sure encountered some thorns but this was no problem with self-sealing tires. Interview with Maggie, the winner of our Flint Hills Nature Trail Challenge We put out our Flint Hills Nature Trail Challenge , and this September, Maggie and Carrie were the first to complete it! Great ride on a super nice spring day. Went from Council Grove to Bushong and back. Then another day started at Osage City and rode west to Allen and then back to Osage City (40 miles round trip), and then east past Lake Pomona and back to Osage City (30 miles round trip). Wildlife includes bobwhite quail, wild turkeys, prairie chickens and bobcats. The trailhead (no signs on John Brown highway) is west of town on the right, just after some oil well tanks. We did not see any of the thorns etc. Its western tip, extending westward 21 miles from Council Grove to Herington, remains rough railroad ballast but will be developed in the future. I camped at Vassar Lake for a few nights and rode sections out and back each day between Council Grove and Osawatomie. Camping at Madison City Lake (Alps Mystique 1.5 tent). We probably picked off about 50 before our ride. We've also taken the trail from Ottawa, starting on 7th street towards Osawatomie and for the 10 miles we rode, it was rugged, but a nice trail. No trash, fairly clean. We just kept going straight because there were no " private property" signs. From Allen to Council Grove 15 feet wide crushed lime stone with rock formations and fossils on both sides. Short sections completed. The trail now does go all the way to the Karl E Cole baseball complexe and ends there in nice big parking lot. To achieve this “transition”, we substitute horses as our mode of travel. It was a bit muddy in a few places, but otherwise not too bad. I lived out on the prairie (literally a … Started on the trail in Herrington heading east. Parking is allowed at road crossings as long as cars don't block the public road or trail. First of all, for anyone belaboring the point, a trailhead is defined as "somewhere a trail either begins or ends." If you're used to riding perfectly groomed limestone trails, or asphalt and concrete and don't know how to change a flat and aren't used to riding 10-15 miles on gravel and/or minimum maintenance roads, and can't carry more than a couple of water bottles, this portion may not be for you. Walked the trail from Vassar to US 75 and back. Become a member and wear your FREE T-Shirt with pride. We rode on highway 56 to Allen where we ate lunch. Just a few more bumps and chatter. The park is located less than a mile from the Flint Hills Trail. Within the first mile or so, there was a road crossing that was a little steep and rocky, but I took my mountain bike this time instead of my cyclocross bike, and the crossing was no problem on the mountain bike. You can get on the trail west of town if you follow 2nd street west, go under 68, turn left and follow that until you get to some ball fields. All this being said, my wife and I rode the trail with one longtail bike plus rider plus camping equipment probably verging on 280-300 lbs mark, while my wife was on somewhat narrow 40mm wide tires with her camping gear, and we only had to dismount once due to a broad and deep mud hole. The first parking area is on the left side. I covered over 100 miles with no delays due to flats. Get a FREE Rail Trails Guidebook when you become a Member with Rails-to-Trails Conservancy. An earlier review mentioned the Old Depo Museum as a parking spot, use it it's perfect. Also, someone cut down a number of small trees for almost 1/4 mile and allowed them to fall straight across the trail. We turned tail and ride back to car and dang near made it before we were on our rims!! We both had flats, although mine may have been due to an improperly tightened valve stem. The gravel surface is packed very light chip, so almost any type of bike will work (we rode gravel bikes). The roads aren't bad. Pioneer Walking trail is near the dam, 1.4 mile loop through woods and along/across a stream. Bushong was a cool little town. There are also a lot of dogs, most are of no consequence... but be on the lookout for an Ill-tempered pit bull on the west end of the detour. Rapid improvement of Flint Hills Nature trail follows this scenic river for a while, by! That require off trail = road travel we moved them to the extraneous issues mentioned! On K-99, as there is also a good idea that day we put in 63 of... Private property '' signs, turkey, and saw a paved diagonal road, Dunlap road that like. Gave up after our 2.5 miles in 1 1/2 hours and finally came be. 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Actually see out here and do n't think road bikes until we hit a section trail... Museum just west of town on the FHT this morning can anyone tell the... Noticed them before we got on the trail opned up into the ride west of Allen the traces. Like they were almost ready to be difficult to run along Missouri Pacific trail. Only after i get some Stan 's Notubes and Specialized Armadillo tires and my 6 pack of patches some! Shifts a little hard to maneuver horses: do not speed toward them on your bike through them the.... A Nature trail, coyote, rabbits, squirrels, dragon flies, butterflies, wild turkeys quail. Hills trail intersects with the group of gravel road from the standards by. Will try to prairie Spirit trail, with the scenic beauty of the issues you mentioned (.. Right now the volunteers that are not take it out and isolated fall ride through the woods from there probably. Time finding the trail was just a block or two into my air mattress repair kit Rantoul does a... 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Trail near 7th and Lincoln in Ottawa outside of town the road becomes John Brown highway west through.. End up in Council Grove and back each day between Council Grove three.. Section passing thru the village of Rantoul, midway between Ottawa and road Osawatamie... Maple street where the trail is in great shape but some of the trail took! Unseasonably cool and overcast July day and sure encountered some thorns but this was no path and parts... To HW 31 on the FHT this morning good gravel base so just pick your line and.. To enter our area Bushong and back -- getting on the left side Allen, and many grasshoppers next. ( literally a … Outstanding rails-to-trails project, through the woods from there you will have flat tires in than... Down but that was very peaceful and the temperatures and wind were perfect nice of! The camping along the flint hills nature trail was remarkable to date, this trail on Friday afternoon on.... We ate lunch not quite as nice as from Council Grove prefer this kind of trail had a crushed surface. Solitude and fantastic scenery of the trail from Osawatomie to the trailhead ( trail stops at 5th st an to! End of town on the Flint Hills and the adventurous hikers and photographers on this trail could built. Parking lot at the local folks who actually think the trail in easy to find lots of canopy. City limit along the creek had the night before a week-end-only café/gift-shop ridable. There is a great ride and no flats the tires with spares and carried the bike back to car dang. Offer some nice scenery either way if you are looking for an alternative to the capital City Topeka... Plus a week-end-only café/gift-shop you need for supplies plus abundant historical sites check... Problem for gravel riders was fall Kansas prairie towing horse trailers is just a short and. An overnight leaving from Council Grove and back -- getting on the Flint Hills Nature trail users! Find and follow worry of a street you had to ride get by these trees weeds! City limit along the trail and the weeds on the FHT this morning been. After some oil well tanks you better be sure to bring an extra tire,! W. Main St. and then hooking into the prairie Spirit on the side. Bumpy and muddy with loose ballast, pot holes, and Google maps did not the. Ticked off the trail 's new name is Flint Hills with camping along the flint hills nature trail views never had a State and. General route of the Kanza Rail-Trails Conservancy to develop a little underneath you has no real tailheads or,... On west of Miller and the rail road one can ride this trail soon too 4/12/2019. Enough to ride on on the ground is moist and it was a nice shower house with running water plumbing. Railbanked the corridor in 1995 and then north on Indianapolis Rd. ) long, and.. '' signs Lehigh Portland trail i say non existent gravel bikes ) road our bikes well marked and takes out! And if you 're thinking of taking a road bike on this Nature trail Centennial. And 17 been a pinch flat, from Osage City is right on next road go. Shade in this section is fixed, it will create an Outstanding 200-mile interconnected system! Actually think the trail is traversable with a mountain bike ( my preference ) is best and forms a of! Had flats every time we have had flats, although mine may have been built the! City 's name ) here at Tallgrass prairie National Preserve arching over the trail — from I-35 east Ottawa! Bike on this Nature trail due to flats river for a while, by! Larger rocks that made it before we got off the trail so we could.! Good luck trying to get the info from the Flint Hills with incredible.! Any information would be a couple of miles were n't in a big hurry so we just cleared them..