Start 2020 on the trail: Kansas First Day Hikes

Start 2020 with a hike! The cold weather is abating a bit and if you bundle up, it should be an enjoyable way to start the new year.

Guided First Day Hikes are being led around the state on Wednesday, January 1, sponsored by America’s State Parks. There are hikes all around the state, including at the new Little Jerusalem Badlands State Park.

Cedar Bluff State Park from 10am to 2pm

Trail: Bluffton Area
Meeting Location: State Park Office
Details: Water, snacks, appropriate winter clothing, good walking shoes/boots, binoculars, cameras. Hot chocolate after hike.
Restrictions: Pet Friendly – On Leash

Clinton State Park at 10am

Trail: X-Country Ski Trail
Meeting Location: Entrance of Campground 3
Details: Warm clothing, good hiking boots or shoes, water, binoculars, cameras, trail easy in difficulty, 1 mile in length, daily vehicle permit required
Restrictions: Pet Friendly – on leash

Crawford State Park at 10am

Trail: Spider Leg Bridge Trail
Meeting Location: Beach Shelter House
Details: Warm clothing, water resistant boots/shoes, water, binoculars, cameras, trail moderate in difficulty, 2 miles in length
Restrictions: Pet Friendly – on leash

El Dorado State Park at 1pm

Trail: Walnut River Trail
Meeting Location: Walnut River Cabins
Details: Dress warm and bring a camera for wildlife pictures. Easy to moderate 2 mile hike. Hot Chocolate and coffee will be provided.
Restrictions: Pet Friendly – on leash.

Fall River State Park at 2pm

Trail: Post Oak Trail
Meeting Location: Fall River Maintenance Shop/Trail Head
Details: Warm clothing, good boots, water, trail easy in difficulty, 3/4 mile in length, Refreshments provided. What you might see: winter waterfowl, eagles, tallgrass ID, and other KS wildlife. The hike will also feature the Cross Timbers ecosystem, with oak savannas that are part of gold growth forests.
Restrictions: Pet friendly – on leash

Green Property, Pratt at 1pm

Trail: Green Recreational Trail
Meeting Location: Barn/Shop, Pratt, KS
Details: Water, snacks, appropriate winter clothing, good walking shoes/boots, binoculars, camera  easy to moderate difficulty, 1 mile. Hot cider and hot chocolate after hike
Restrictions: Pet Friendly – on leash

Kanopolis State Park at 10am

Trail: Split Boulder Trail
Meeting Location: State Park Office
Details: Water, snacks, appropriate winter clothing, good walking shoes/boots, binoculars, cameras, easy 1.6 miles. Coffee and hot chocolate provided at the park office before and after the hike.
Restrictions: Pet Friendly – on leash

Little Jerusalem Badlands State Park at 12pm

Trail: Life on the Rocks Trail (on-trail hike) or Little Jerusalem Badlands (off-trail hike)
Meeting Location: Little Jerusalem Badlands State Park
Details: Dress warm, water, snacks, and bring binoculars or a camera for wildlife pictures.  On-trail hike easy difficulty, 1-2 miles.  Off-trail hike advanced difficulty, 1 mile, may want hiking poles.
Restrictions: Pet Friendly – on leash for on-trail hike.  No pets for off-trail hike.

Perry State Park at 10am

Trail: Jack-O-Lope Trail
Meeting Location: Wild Horse Equestrian Day Use Area in in Wild Horse Campground
Details: Dress warmly; warm gloves and head covering; good walking/hiking shoes; walking/hiking poles, if desired; water and snacks provided.
Restrictions: Pet Friendly – on leash

Pomona State Park at 1pm

Trail: FHNT and Campgrounds – 1.5 to 2 miles
Meeting Location: Pomona State Park Office
Details: Weather appropriate clothing, camera and water, easy 1.5 to 2 miles. May see Eagles on hike. Hike along POMP roads and bike on FHNT.  Hot chocolate and coffee served.
Restrictions: Pet Friendly – on leash

Wilson State Park at 1pm

Trail: Cedar Trail
Meeting Location: Parking Lot across from Cedar Trail Trailhead – Otoe
Details: Dress warm, water, and bring a binoculars or camera for wildlife pictures. Hike will be 1 mile and easy in difficulty, daily vehicle permit required.
Restrictions: Pet Friendly – on leash.

On Trails: An Exploration book review

On Trails: An Exploration book review

When hiking it’s easy to appreciate the scenery, but how often do we stop and think about the trail itself? In his book On Trails, Robert Moor draws from his own experience on the Appalachian Trail to contemplate the nature of trails.

He reflects on the intricacies and origins of all types of paths that serve to connect places.  Moor delves deeply into the process of trail creation by organisms ranging from ants to elephants and connects this process to the trail experience of modern hikers.

The book has weighty thoughts on trail origins and it is indeed interesting to consider the natural development process that creates trails and paths.

The foray into the intersection of ecology and trail-building can be somewhat fascinating, but a hiker may gravitate more towards the chapters on modern trails including an insightful glimpse into the development the International Appalachian Trail which spans continents and exists as a ‘trail’ that is not physically connected or continuous.


International Appalachian Trail Marker

Moor also tells tales from the trail itself, recounting AT hiking trips and tagging along with the ultimate long-distance hiker, Nimblewill Nomad (whose mind-boggling walks have followed all the major trails and recently included a sweep across Kansas along the route of the old Pony Express Trail).

For trail buffs, this book will be a thorough guide to trails of all kinds and a reflection on how trails are ultimately shaped by travelers.

Kansas’ top 10 trails: Which is your favorite?

June 7 is national trails day. In celebration and as a preview to part of the book, on schedule for publication next spring!, here are our top 10 trails in the state.

Which is your favorite Kansas trail? Let us know in the comments below!

Cedar Bluff State Park– Agave Ridge Nature Trail – Northwest

Elk City State Park – Elk River Hiking Trail – Southeast

Kanopolis Lake – Horsethief Canyon Trail – North central

Konza Prairie – Kings Creek Loop – North-Central

Shawnee Mission Park trails

Shawnee Mission Park trails

Lake Scott State Park – Hike, Bike, Bridle Trail – Southwest

Perry Lake – National Recreational Trail – Northeast

Prairie Spirit Trail and Southwind Rail Trail – Ottawa to Humboldt

Shawnee Mission Park – Orange, Violet, and Red Trails – Kansas City

Tallgrass Prairie Preserve – Scenic Overlook Trail – South-Central

Wilson Lake – Switchgrass Mountain Bike Trail – North-Central