Slightly less than 2% of Kansas' approximately 52.657 million acres of land is accessible to the public. This ranks Kansas at 48th or 49th in the United States for public lands. Before you head to Colorado, and burn all of those fossil fuels, consider hiking Kansas instead. The public lands we have here are not […]

Slightly less than 2% of Kansas' approximately 52.657 million acres of land is accessible to the public. This ranks Kansas at 48th or 49th in the United States for public lands.
Before you head to Colorado, and burn all of those fossil fuels, consider hiking Kansas instead. The public lands we have here are not overrun with visitors and offer an ideal way to reconnect with nature, whether this be hiking, biking, or horseback riding. Not only does Kansas have federal lands like Quivira National Wildlife Refuge or state parks like Wilson with well-marked trails, but many municipalities, particularly in the Kansas City area, have developed trails that are open to the general public.
A year or so ago, I purchased a book which is highly recommended for anyone who wants to access our state's public lands. Kansas Trail Guide: The Best Hiking, Biking, and Riding in the Sunflower State was written by a brother and sister, Jonathan and Kristin Conard. The book details some of the best trails you'll find in the state, whether you prefer your journey to be on two feet, two tires, or four legs. In the book, you'll find directions to the trailhead, as well as an address, in case you have a GPS.
Since my wife and I began traveling to Kansas City once a month to visit the LDS Temple there, we have made it a goal to hike as many trails as possible, which are listed in the book, on our return trip to Pratt. Particularly, we have been focusing upon the trails in the Kansas City area and so far have hike three trails there, including one at the Ernie Miller Park and Nature Center in Olathe this past weekend. Incidentally, Miller was a newspaper columnist and editor for the Olathe Mirror, as well as an active community member.
We have also hiked a trail just off of Kellogg Avenue in Wichita (Air Capital Memorial Park), another west of Emporia (Camp Alexander), and West Trail at Cheney State Park.
We would have likely never known about these trails, or how to get there, without the book. The trails we've hiked thus far have been relatively short, two to five miles, which fits in well with our time constraints.
Anyway, we always look forward to venturing out on a new trail, which provides a nice break during a long drive back from Kansas City (or some other location). This has been a joyful and fun way to discover natural Kansas, winter, spring, summer, and fall.