Flint Hills Trail Access Points
The Flint Hills Nature 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. This list is updated continually, so check back often for the latest developments!
- Osawatomie--go 2 miles west on John Brown Hwy (Parker Ave.), and then north on Indianapolis Rd. 1/2 mile.
- Ottawa East-- go 1 mile East on 7th St. from US 59 (Main St.) to S. Mason St.
- Ottawa West--go 3 blocks West of the Prairie Spirit Trail (which is one block west of Main St.) on First Street. to Maple Street where the trail veers off to the right and passes under 68 Hwy.
- Council Grove East—from Main St. (US 56) go to S. 8th Street. Then go South 2 blocks to Donnon Street and then go West (right) for 2 blocks.
- Vassar (Gateway to Lake Pomona) – trailhead is 1 block South of the Vassar Methodist Church on Croco Road.
Flint Hills Nature Trail 7th Longest in the United States!
As of 2011, the Rails To Trails Conservancy in Washington, D.C. reports the Flint Hills Nature Trail to be 7th longest in the nation. This illustrates what an important project this is. It has gained national status and recognition. Kansas and the rural communities through which the Flint Hills Nature Trail runs are the beneficiaries.
Latest Trail Condition Report
The trail from Herington to Council Grove is under development and would not be suitable for riding at this time. At the southeast end of Council Grove, between Quality Profile and the Dunlap Rd. There is a 3.5 mile section that is completed and open. There is also 11.5 miles completed from Rd D in Lyon County to Admire. From Admire you will want to take Rd 330 East about 2 miles to where the trail intersects Rd S5. (Rd 330 basically runs parallel to the trail.) You can then get back on the trail on Rd S5 and ride 28 miles through Osage City, over 75 Highway, through Vassar and under 68 Highway to where the trail intersects E 245th St. and S. Ratner Rd in Osage County.There are a total of 6 gates across the trail in Lyon County but the trail is OPEN. Please close the gates behind you. Two of the gates between Rd S5 and Rd U (the Turnpike) in Lyon County are locked but the trail is still OPEN. You will need to lift your bike over the fence and climb over the gate. A large portion of the section of trail from Rd S5 in Lyon County to 245th and S. Ratner Rd in Osage County has not had screenings applied to the surface but the heavy ballast has been removed and the trail can easily be traveled on a mountain or cross bike. I would not recommend a road bike on this section. There is a section about 2.5 miles long beginning at Rd U (the Turnpike) in Lyon County in which the ballast is a little soft but not any worse than most gravel roads. There are also a couple of sections where the ballast and fines have been completely removed and the trail is dirt. There are a few pot holes in these areas and it may be a little muddy when wet but you should be able to easily traverse it on a mountain or cross bike. There are 6 miles of screenings from S. Adams Rd in Osage County through Vassar and under 68 Highway to S. Ratner Rd and E 245th St. Also note that with the exception of the bridge over 75 Highway none of the bridges have railings and all but 4 bridges are open tie. They are short bridges and one can basically coast across them. The trail is also complete with limestone screenings from Ottawa 17.5 miles southeast to the intersection with the John Brown Highway just west of Osawatomie.
The sections that are NOT suitable for riding at this time are (west to east):
- Herington to Council Grove. 27 miles
- S Rd 525 in Morris County (Kaw Heritage Park) to the Morris-Lyon County Line. 6 miles
- Admire to Rd. S5 1.5 mi. (see aforementioned Rd 330 detour)
- S. Ratner Rd and E245th St in Osage County to the east end of Ottawa 18 miles
Scott Allen - Kanza Rail Trails Conservancy
Scott Allen is the Morris County Director on the Flint Hills Nature Trail. This is his onsite Trail Conditions Report.