Close up of a map of the state of Kansas.

Top 10 Bike Trails in Kansas

Map of the top 10 bike routes in Kansas.

The Sunflower State is known for its scenic flat grasslands and gently rolling hills, but did you know it’s also a fantastic place to bike? If you’re headed to Kansas, there are plenty of great trails to explore and enjoy. Whether you’re looking for mountain bike trails, multi-use urban trails, or scenic and smooth pathways through grassy meadows and farmland, our list features some of the best bike trails in Kansas.

1. Prairie Sunset Trail – Wichita, KS

A bridge going over a creek on the Prairie Sunset Trail in KS.

Previously an unused railroad track, the Prairie Sunset Trail is a 15-mile gravel trail that meanders through Garden Plain, Goddard, and eventually into the city of Wichita. It passes through woodlands, farmlands, and over streams, offering a tranquil place to bike just 5 miles outside the city. It’s also a popular route for bird watching and features a variety of native Kansas plants and animals.

Tips: The vision for this trail is to continue it east and west as other railways become abandoned. So, you can expect it to grow and expand over the coming years.

2. Flint Hills Nature Trail – Osawatomie, KS

Flint Hills as dusk with the moon shining over the field.

The Flint Hills Nature Trail is a massive 117-mile rail trail in eastern Kansas that extends from the Marais des Cygnes river valley near Osawatomie to the Flint Hills, southeast of Wichita. It’s a linear state park that winds through small-town communities and beautiful rural landscapes. As its name suggests, it also passes through the beautiful Flint Hills, one of the world’s last remaining tallgrass prairie ecosystems. Along the way, you’ll experience plenty of native plants and wildlife, gorgeous views, national historic sites, and several recreation areas. This popular path is well-loved by cyclists, walkers, runners, and horseback riders alike.

Tips: The Flint Hills Nature Trail intersects with another linear state park in Kansas: Prairie Spirit Trail State Park.

3. Scott State Park – Scott, KS

A male cyclists on his bike on the Scott State Park during a cool fall day.

Scott State Park is a beautiful and historic nature area along the Western Vistas Historic Byway. Several of the park’s mountain biking trails curve around the large lake, featuring open meadows, quick drops, challenging climbs, and pretty lake views. The state park is also home to plenty of cultural attractions, including El Cuartelejo, a Native American pueblo and National Historic Landmark, and the Steele home, the home of original settlers in the area.

Tips: The surrounding region is full of unusual and beautiful rock formations with lots of fossils to discover, so definitely spend some time exploring!

4. Fancy Creek State Park – Manhattan, KS

A group of mountain bikers going over some rocks on the Fancy Creek State Park trail.

Fancy Creek State Park is located in northeast Kansas, near Manhattan. Although you wouldn’t expect it, this state park is home to one of the best mountain bike trails in the state: the Fancy Creek Trail. This rugged cycling route is about 5.5 miles and features a rocky upper section that carves through cedars and a heavily forested lower section with several creek crossings. With flowy sections, more challenging, technical areas, and switchbacks, this trail has a little bit of everything, including stunning views of the nearby hills, meadows, and Tuttle Creek Lake.

Tips: While you’re in the area, check out the Kansas State University campus, the city of Manhattan, and the nearby Tuttle Creek State Park for more recreational fun.

5. Prairie Spirit Trail – Ottawa, KS

Prairie Spirit Trail during the fall with the leaves all different colors from orange, yellow and red.

The Prairie Spirit Trail is a 52-mile trail that passes through several rural communities, including Richmond, Welda, and Iola, connecting Ottawa to Humboldt. Before the path existed, the land was a largely untouched prairie, home to bison, bobcats, coyotes, jackrabbits, and more. Today, it is made of crushed limestone and follows the route of an old railroad that fell out of commission. It boasts scenery of exceptional natural beauty that you can only find in Kansas, and you’re bound to see plenty of wildlife along the way. This route is the perfect way to experience the heartland of America and come face-to-face with the natural and cultural history of the area.

Tips: In Iola, the Prairie Spirit Trail connects with the Southwind Rail Trail (9 miles), offering an extended ride if you’re up for it.

6. Wilson State Park – Sylvan Grove, KS

Official state park welcome sign into the Wilson State Park area.

Wilson State Park is home to the famous Switchgrass mountain bike trail, one of Kansas’s most well-known and revered mountain biking trails. The Switchgrass trail is wild and remote, offering cyclists more than 20 miles of enjoyable singletrack through the hills above the beautiful Lake Wilson. Whether you’re new to mountain biking or you’re an experienced rider, you’ll enjoy the diversity this trail system provides, from fast and furious to rough and rocky. 

Tips: With so much to experience on the Switchgrass trail, you might want to stay longer than a single day. Fortunately, there’s plenty of camping nearby, so you can easily make it a fun weekend trip with friends.

7. Gary L. Haller Trail – Kansas City, KS

Shaded part of the path on Gary L. Haller bike path.

The Gary L. Haller Trail is a 17-mile paved trail in the Kansas City Metro area. The route runs through the Mill Creek Valley, beginning in Olathe. It continues north through Lenexa, Shawnee, and ends at Nelson Island on the Kansas River. The trail is very scenic, with parts overlooking tranquil hills and farmland or riverside views. It’s also very shady, offering a cool and quiet place to cycle amidst the busyness of Kansas City. You can access the trail via several access points, and water fountains and restrooms are readily available.

Tips: The Gary L. Haller Trail also connects to several other short trails that will each add about a mile to your overall trip.

8. Blue River Rail Trail – Marysville, KS

Shaded bike path with overgrown trees covering the path on the Blue River Rail Trail in KS.

The Blue River Rail Trail is a rail trail that follows the Big Blue River. The route begins in Marysville and winds north to Beatrice, Nebraska, where it meets with Chief Standing Bear Trail. Eventually, it connects with the Homestead Trail and the Jamaica North Trail as it continues to Lincoln, Nebraska. Together, the four trails form an uninterrupted route from Marysville, Kansas, to Lincoln, Nebraska. Along the Blue River Rail Trail portion, you’ll enjoy cycling past river views and limestone cliffs, through heavily wooded areas, and along a scenic covered bridge. 

Tips: After biking the trail, make a stop in Marysville, where you’ll find quaint shops on Broadway Street and Alcove Spring Historic Park, a beautiful natural spring first discovered in 1846. The city was also the first home station on the Pony Express route west of St. Joseph, Missouri. Today, it’s the Pony Express Home Station and Museum, where you can learn more about it.

9. Landon Nature Trail – Topeka, KS

A female cyclists on the Landon Nature Trail in the summer time with bright blue skies behind her.

The Landon Nature Trail is a beautiful 38-mile bike trail that begins at the Shunga Trail in Topeka and stretches to the Flint Hills Trail near Quenemo. As its name suggests, this historic rail trail is full of natural beauty and is one of the most breathtaking bike trails in the Sunflower State! The northern end of the route follows the stunning Camp Creek, offering peaceful water views and plenty of waterfowl sightings. The entire trail is shaded by a thick blanket of oak and hickory-covered hills, and the trail passes by wetlands, home to two pristine waterfalls, tall grasses, and wildflowers.

Tips: Don’t forget to check out the Clinton Wildlife Area along this route, too.

10. Indian Creek Greenway Trail – Kansas City, KS

A young girl cyclists on the Indiana Creek Greenway Trail in Kansas.

The Indian Creek Greenway Trail is a popular biking route crossing the Missouri and Kansas state lines. The path begins in Missouri, where the Indian Creek and Blue Rivers meet. If you follow the trail west, it meanders through Leawood and into Overland Park, where you’ll find 17 miles of smooth, paved, and shady trail. Perfect for cyclists of all experience levels, the path is relatively flat and winds through a beautiful, natural landscape. The Kansas side of the route tends to be busier, with plenty of cyclists and other pedestrians making their way along the trail. For a more quiet ride, try the Missouri side of the path.

Tips: If you start your ride at Leawood Park, you’ll have access to a bike station with a tire pump and tools.

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  1. https://prairiesunsettrail.org/about-the-prairie-sunset-trail/
  2. https://www.kanzatrails.org/flint-hills-trail
  3. https://www.travelks.com/things-to-do/parks-and-nature/state-parks/flint-hills-trail-state-park/
  4. https://ksoutdoors.com/State-Parks/Locations/Historic-Lake-Scott
  5. https://www.trailforks.com/trails/fancy-creek-trail/
  6. https://bikeprairiespirit.com/
  7. https://www.mtbproject.com/trail/5382478/switchgrass-epic-mountain-bike-trail
  8. https://www.americantrails.org/resources/gary-l-haller-national-recreation-trail-kansas
  9. https://www.blueriverrailtrail.org/visit
  10. https://www.kanzatrails.org/landon-trail
  11. https://kcparks.org/places/indian-creek-greenway/
  12. https://kcparks.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/Indian-Creek-Blue-River-Trail-Map1.pdf

Photo Sources:

Sesamehoneytart, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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