Best Hiking Trail in Kansas, Elk River Trail, KS Posted on May 12, 2019 May 12, 2019 by Antigone I had seen several sources refer to the Elk River Trail, near Independence, KS, as the best hiking trail in Kansas, so my daughter and I decided to take an afternoon trip to experience it for ourselves! It rises at the confluence of several headstreams near Howard and flows 80 miles (130 km) southeast past Elk City to join the Verdigris River just north of Independence. The Elk River Hiking Trail is located on the northwest side of Elk City Lake. Add a Photo or Video to REFLECT your outdoor adventure! Camping can be done at primitive campsites located all along the length of the trail. Overall the trail is fantastic with nice rock formations to explore and views to enjoy. You start off on a overgrown prairie trail that follows the Elk River. Just passed the 2 mile mark behind the bench are 2 campsites. Out of the 4 longer trails I found, 2 (Flint Hills Nature Trail and Prairie Spirit Trail) are gravel rails-to-trails that are more intended for bikers, 1 (Perry State Park) had comments about severe tick populations, and 1 (Elk River Hiking Trail) had reports of heavy flooding earlier in Spring. 276 Reviews. It is definitely a hidden gem, unlike any other place I have hiked in the Sunflower State. Explore. There are also several gravel roads intersecting the trail which can be accessed from County Roads north of the lake. My group started there and hiked in three miles and back out. The scenic Elk River hiking trail is 15 miles (24 km) long, and goes from the west edge of the dam westward to the bridge on Elk River. Also 7.9, 8.5, 8.9 and 9.5 just a little bit down the old road or if you take the trail it is on the right down a bit. We did 13 miles in 7 hours with stops fir lunch and photo ops. Primitive campsites are located all along the length of the trail. Find More Trails. It was easier to hike down to water by the lake but otherwise it made camping at the primitive spots not the most fun. I have lived in Kansas most of my life and I can’t believe I have never seen this before. The Table Mound hiking trail is 2.75 miles long and runs along the east side of the lake from a scenic overlook at the dam to the Timber Road campground. Independence, KS 67301 You can choose to hike the Elk River trail as a day hike or weekend backpacking adventure. After that they are not any I found. Highly recommend this trail. Beautiful scenery on the trail. Added by Mike Ditch Jr. Immerse yourself in a secluded area of Kansas that feels anything but Kansas-like. Two other trails, the Elk River hiking trail and the Timber Ridge hiking trail are also located at Elk City Lake but are not located on state park property. I love it. GPS: N37 15.415 W95 46.487. Elk River Hiking Trail (620) 336-2741 Elk City Lake-Corp of Engineers, Independence, KS 67301 Description; Map; Covers 15 miles (one-way) from the west edge of the dam to the Hwy 160 bridge on the Elk River. Our campgrounds feature RV hook-ups, hot showers, fire wood, and snack bars! Wasp nests & a huge tree down made it extra exciting. We came across several armadillos, deer and a black snake. Show more photos. Our group plans to come back to do the whole trail from point to point before our trip to hike Half Dome in Yosemite next fall! This is my 2nd time backpacking the entire trail. Campgrounds at Elk City offer an array of well shaded sites appealing to recreational vehicle or primitive campers. Next time I may bring an empty backpack to pick up other hikers trash! The bluffs on this trail are to steep to ride, so you only go about 1/3 of the way up the hillside. Difficulty Rating: Moderate to Difficult. Trees and stones will teach you that which you can never learn from masters.” All in all it was a good hike, the trail is just not as well kept as usual. —Bernard of Clairvaux, I think it’s awesome definitely go amazing site seing. Went around 1pm. A special encounter. There are several downed trees blocking the trail and many of the blue blazes are gone. Started on the East side. 2 We were lucky and found creeks for filtering but we also dropped water at the old access road around 9. before you get to the the Oak Ridge Public use area. Elk River Hiking Trail is a 15.3 mile heavily trafficked point-to-point trail located near Elk City, Kansas that features a lake and is rated as moderate. Mileage/Distance: 15 miles point-to-point . Thank you, Lord! lots of bluffs to climb through. “You will find something more in woods than in books. Backpacked this past weekend. Enjoy and hope the campsite locations help. Kansas Tourism. I’d say it’s for more experienced hikers. The trail is a 15 mile point-to-point trail which can be accessed from two main trailheads. All streams are dry so water is the lake or river. We started at the east end and worked our way west, going the other way might have been better given the weather. The trail is a 15 mile point-to-point trail which can be accessed from two main trailheads. The trail can be accessed from two main trailheads. Welcome to Elk River Hiking Trail; a 15-mile path through the Chautauqua Hills that leads hikers along some of the most scenic and surprising areas in the state. View detailed trail descriptions, trail maps, reviews, photos, trail itineraries, directions and more on TrailLink. Enjoy the crisp clean air on the Friday and Saturday before Thanksgiving. Good weather. In what will likely be the last hiking day for 2013, I decided to hike the Elk River Trail near Independence earlier this week. This trail is in beautiful south central Kansas. 3. Before that, the day was hot and sunny as runners traversed the limestone rock formations, hardwood forests, and prairies on the Elk River Hiking Trail in Independence, Kansas. Not all are exact but close. Elk Falls Pottery, located in the quiet and secluded community of Elk Falls along the Elk River in Southeast Kansas. Here are some larger camp sites along the trail. On day two, we found a trailhead at mile 9.5 on CR5500. Showing results 1 - 90 of 360. Location: Elk City . The Elk River Hiking Trail has been designated as a National Recreation Trail under the U.S. Department of the Interior's National Trail System and Backpacker magazine has rated it the best hike in Kansas. The trail is very challenging. It is a really beautiful trail to hike for sure, but I think I’d rather do it during the spring when it’s a bit cooler and/or when there’s been more precipitation. We have now mapped over 5,000 miles of trails and routes in Kansas.Click here if you know about a trail we have missed and we’ll add it to the map! The dude looked pretty bored... Pathfinder Parkway: Jo Allyn Lowe Park to BHS, Joseph H. Williams Tallgrass Prairie Preserve. The trail zig-zags along the river for roughly ten miles before you reach the lakeshore of Elk City Lake. The trail is a 15 mile point-to-point trail which can be accessed from two main trailheads. As such there weren’t any easy access points to water sources. The Elk River is formed by a collection of intermittent streams in southwestern Greenwood County, and flows for about 95 miles (153 km) generally east-southeast through Butler, Elk, and Montgomery counties, past the towns of Elk Falls, Longton and Elk City. We came across this trail and decided to give it a try. Mile marker 7, 7.25 on the right. Very nice area. Sign up to receive emails with ideas for getting active outside and healthy eating on the go! The trail is very well-maintained, and the weather on this mid-November day was picture perfect. Explore the best trails in Elk City, Kansas on TrailLink. There are large rocky bluffs, heavy timber, and tall grass prairie trails. then another about 9.75 on the right, 10 and 10.5, 10.6, 10.8 and we stayed at campsite around 12.2. There are many trees down but it is a well marked trail so you can hike around the down trees. Parking is available at the Memorial Overlook or state park trailheads. Take water, great workout. As you travel past the road around the corner is another campsite. Not the best for a beginner hiker. Wildlife watchers can see a variety of Kansas wildlife, including the large pileated woodpecker which is common in the mature trees along the Elk River. Took about 6 hours at a persistent pace. The 15 miles long Elk River Hiking Trail is one of 8 Wonders of Kansas Geography because the trail, on the edge of the Chautauqua Hills region, threads through boulders and up rocky bluffs and has been rated the best hike in the state. We hiked in from 9.5 back to mile marker 3. Also nearby is the Elk River Hiking Trail, a 15-mile trail from the west end of the dam to the US-160 bridge over the Elk River south of Elk City. Mile marker 4 on the right, 4.5 on the right and just past 5. Get the App. Phone: 620-331-6295 Mile 3.5 where the old road comes in there are a couple on top of the hill. It joins the Verdigris River at the northern edge of the city of Independence. Hike the Elk River Hiking Trail. Well marked trail. otherwise it has some good views and lovely trail. The Northeastern trailhead is located below the west end of the dam across from the Fish & Wildlife Office. GetOutdoorsKansas is a website created by the Kansas Trails Council and the Kansas Wildscape Foundation. What a beautiful trail! Unfortunately some people are not hauling out their own trash. The hike along the Elk River Trail to Landslide Lake is a classic Strathcona Provincial Park hike. I was two years out from a knee replacement, it was my goal to walk this trail again. If you pick up a trail map at the east trailhead you can easily find the mid trailhead. Elk River Hiking Trail – a part of Kansas you need to know January 28, 2017 November 14, 2016 by Jason Seriously, if you have never visited the Elk River Hiking Trail, near Independence, you are cheating yourself and your life isn’t quite all it could be. Colonel Foster all the easier. The trail treats the walker to an adventure in southeast Kansas on the cusp of the Chautauqua Hills and Osage Cuestas region. Elk City Lake is well known for its seven scenic trails: the Eagle Rock Mountain Bike Trail, Table Mound Hiking Trail, Post Oak Self-Guided Nature Trail, Green Thumb Nature Trail, Elk River Hiking Trail, Timber Ridge Hiking Trail, and Squaw Creek Trail which is a multi-purpose, all-weather trail. Elk River, river of southeastern Kansas, U.S. Kanawha County’s Elk River Trail provides access to Coonskin Park, a large park originally built by local residents in the 1950s and now managed by the Kanawha County Parks and Recreation Commission. Our goal is to maintain a complete inventory of trails in the state. ... Get the Official Kansas Travel Guide and find listings of attractions, accommodations and featured articles to help you plan your trip. . The Northeastern trailhead is located below the west end of the dam across from the Fish & Wildlife Office. Mile marker 6t on the right next to the rock bluff. We waited til July because last time I hiked around elk city lake there were parts of the trail that were washed out/muddy but I’d be okay with that is it means there’s water. 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Weather was perfect for November. It was hot as all get out and apparently hadn’t rained much in a while so I’m guessing what would have normally been easy water access points were all dry. It is the crown jewel of the Elk River Park system. › Kansas › Elk City State Park › Elk River Hiking Trail › Photos Photos of Elk River Hiking Trail Elk River Hiking Trail. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash. The Southwestern trailhead can be reached from Highway 160 south of Elk City, Kansas. The river is dammed at Elk City to form a reservoir for flood control and Camp site had a beautiful view and a nice breeze on a warm day. The trail was muddy for the 1st 2 miles and then it was ok. Hiked the entire 15 mile trail, point to point, starting on the east side. With more than 2 Elk City trails covering 15 miles, you’re bound to find a perfect trail like the Pathfinder Parkway or Southwind Rail Trail. The Southwestern trailhead can be reached from Highway 160 south of Elk City. There are also several gravel roads intersecting the trail which can be accessed from County Roads north of the lake. Woodland Trails Regional Park includes the Great Northern Trail, a 4.75 mile paved regional trail that begins at County Road 1 and runs through the park before continuing north to the city corporate limit. It crosses several small streams and ravines and winds through narrow canyons and under rock overhangs. The trail zig-zags along the river for roughly ten miles before you reach the lakeshore of Elk City Lake. The trail is located at Elk City Lake which is approximately one mile west of Independence, north of U.S. 160. Parking can be done at either of the trailheads or at any of the gravel roads intersecting the trail. This trail is consistently ranked among the top trails in the state and so after hiking my way across the trails of Kansas for the past year I … 4825 Squaw Creek Rd The trail has blue trail blazes and mile markers for traveling both directions. Less than 100 people live here in town, but those 100 are a great bunch to meet if you run into any of them during your visit. which is a trail head. The trail has blue trail blazes and mile markers. If was a less rugged trail. The Elk River Hiking Trail is located on the northwest side of Elk City Lake. The pink line is the GPS track log from a backpack trip of the Chapel Oaks KC Explorers Pathfinder Club superimposed on extracts from the USGS Elk City, KS and Table Mound,KS 7 ½ Minute Quadrangles. Well worth the trip. Be sure to go into the ranger station at the trail head to get some advice. It is a beautiful area. Continuing along the lakeshore for another 4 miles give or take, be sure to take opportunities to stop and soak in your surroundings. Started at the east end and walked 5 miles in before returning to the camp site 1 mile in from the start. Courtesy: Anthony Schlinsog, February 2012 Elk River Hiking Trail Independence, KS The Northeastern trailhead is located below the west end of the dam across from the Fish & Wildlife Office. Remaining relatively level along a well-maintained trail makes the trek out to see the stunning Mt. No sources of water, so bring your own. The trail offers panoramic views from the tops of the many limestone bluffs on the northwestern shores of Elk City Lake. Just don’t understand littering!! The Elk River Hiking Trail offers panoramic views from the tops of the many limestone bluffs on the northwestern shores of Elk City Lake. The trail is in need of maintenance. This trail has no videos associated with it. We did encounter two large wasp nests, a tarantula, two small green snakes and a larger snake that slithered off the side of trail. It is a magnificent place to visit, any time of the year. Be careful! We hiked from the East side (Dam) starting at 1. Elk Falls Annual Open House. Continuing along the lakeshore for another 4 miles give or take, be sure to take opportunities to stop and soak in your surroundings. 53 were here. https://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/kansas/elk-river-hiking-trail But it is actually 15.25 miles. With its rocky ledges and outcroppings, it actually reminds me a bit more of trails you might find in the Ozarks or even portions of Appalachia. Located along the Elk River in the beautiful Ozark mountains, you can truly experience the outdoors with friends and family at Elk River Floats & Resort of the Ozarks, which includes three campgrounds: Wayside, Kozy Kamp, and Trestle Park. This trail is rated moderate but I would share that starting at the east trailhead at the start is rugged for the until Mile three. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Started on the east side.. veryyyy beautiful hike! It was a nice trail but full of spiders. ELK RIVER TRAIL The trail along the Elk River is one of the most popular in the state. Rated 4.0 /5 based on 1 customer reviews 14.1 miles 866 ft gain - Point-to-Point Trail Save Add Review Get Directions Add Photo. Beautiful & challenging trail. Great Fall colors. Had a very enjoyable hike. In fact, the Elk River trail is rugged enough to continually host Kansas’ first and largest ultra trail run – the FlatRock 50/25-K race held each September since 1995. Great views! With the aid of hand carved walking stick, and a patient husband, I made my goal. Some backpackers consider this the best hike in Kansas because there is so much to see in this tough route. They were huge and let us pass without any problems. The Elk River is a tributary of the Verdigris River in southeastern Kansas in the United States. Currently, the state park operates Four foot trails totaling 8 miles and one mountain bike trail which is approximately 4 miles in length. The Northeastern trailhead is located below the west end of the dam across from the Fish & Wildlife Office. We started at mile 15 and hiked in about 4 miles, camped for the night and hiked back out. These trails meander through the colorful oak and hickory forest surrounding the lake and lead the hiker through some of the most interesting rock formations in Kansas while providing spectacular views of the lake and Elk River. Started on the eastern side and was planning 7mi in and back for 14mi but turned around a little past 4mi due to spiders - just got tired of having to clear them. Beautiful views and love those big rocks. … it has become one of our favorites! About a mile in we came face to face with two immature vultures, not flying yet. We hiked through several areas that had flowers and beautiful purple thistles. It's pretty moderate terrain with some easy and some hard spots along the way, The trail is in bad shape lots of trees are down and obscuring the trail most of the markers were on fallen trees, finally gave up and cut up hill could not find the trail. The Elk River Hiking Trail is located on the northwest side of Elk City Lake. Rocky terrain. The Elk River Hiking Trail is a scenic 15-mile route that begins at the west edge of the dam and ends near the U. S. Highway 160 bridge on the Elk River. The Elk River Hiking Trail is located on the northwest side of Elk City Lake. The trail runs alongside the Elk River for its entire length, although views … There is flat rock everywhere along the trail so you must be careful with every step. 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