Flint Hills Trail

Seeking an inexpensive outdoor adventure for the whole family?

Look no further than an exciting trail experience in southeast Kansas.  The Flint Hills Trail State Park navigates travelers over a timeworn railroad bed, covering lands traversed by Native Americans, pioneers and Civil War soldiers. Plentiful fresh air is afforded even on a short hike.



The Flint Hills Trail State Park was originally developed as a regional Kansas railroad route and eventually became part of the Missouri Pacific line.  Service on the line was discontinued in the 1980s, and in 1995 the national Rails-to-Trails Conservancy bought the corridor and deeded it to the Kanza Rail-Trails Conservancy. Since then, energized volunteers have been improving new sections for use while maintaining popular stretches for public recreation. 

This trail spans almost 120 miles, making it one of the longest in the country. Reaching from Herington in the west, to easternmost Miami County, the trail intersects various landscapes, especially Kansas’ own irreplaceable Flint Hills. Near Osawatomie, the trail meanders alongside the Marais des Cygnes River, offering cool shade in the adjacent forested stream banks. 

From sunrise to sundown, the trail is open to hikers, bikers and equestrians, but not motorized vehicles. Leashed pets are welcome, too, as long as owners pick up after them. No hunting or camping opportunities are offered, but wildlife viewing abounds and the scenery is spectacular.  There are about 15 trailheads, some with convenient parking and nearby access to lodging, food and other services. 

Day hikers should carry water and snacks. For trekkers wayfaring multiple miles, appropriate footwear is recommended. Bikers would be wise to pack necessary supplies to fix a flat as the trail is mostly gravel. Cyclists should practice common trail etiquette and yield to horses and pedestrians. Users should have a cell phone for emergencies as some stretches cross primitive expanses. Always let someone know your proposed start and end points and estimated times of arrival at those points. 


  • Osawatomie to Council Grove (from Council Grove to Herrington is in development)
  • 117 miles
  • Open sunrise to sunset  365 days per year

More Outdoor Articles You'll Enjoy

View ALl

The Kansas Wetlands

May 28, 2024

Two neighboring wildlife areas in central Kansas offer some of the nation’s best viewing for… Read More

Native Grasses in Kansas

May 28, 2024

Save money and the planet with these backyard grasses The subtle beauty of dusk is one of the best… Read More

Botanical Gardens Light Up for the Holidays

Nov 29, 2023

Imagine strolling down candlelit paths through tranquil, snow-covered woods as the stresses of the… Read More

Ode to Kansas Sunups and Sundowns

Mar 13, 2023

Ask any Kansan about our sunsets or sunrises and they are likely to begin waxing poetic. One case in… Read More

Why Kansas Has The Best Exotic Animal Experiences in the USA

Feb 17, 2023

Ever dreamt of swimming with penguins? Well, there are only two places in the world you can do it… Read More