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West Flint Hills Nature Trail

Intermediate

Trail

75.0 mile 120.8 kilometer point to point
Doubletrack
Intermediate

Elevation

Ascent: 683' 208 m
Descent: -1,025' -312 m
High: 1,440' 439 m
Low: 889' 271 m

Grade

Avg Grade: 0% (0°)
Max Grade: 1% (1°)

Dogs

Leashed
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Map Key

Trail shared by Andy Cramb

A magnificent Rails to Trails section through the Flint Hills of Kansas from Council Grove to Ottawa!

Andy Cramb

Electric Mountain Bikes Unknown

Features -none-

Family Friendly The full distance is asking a lot of kids (and maybe your spouse), but small sections would make for a great family ride!

I saw two signs shot up by 9mm and 5.56mm...listen for illegal activity as such and report it to 911. Also, be aware of Kansas rifle deer hunting season...I wouldn't recommend riding in early December for this reason.

Description

This is an amazing rail-to-trail experience! Council Grove to Osage City is a very secluded and rural experience. You're one with the trail out there...nothing else matters. As far as you can see, you're the only one out there.

The little towns might offer support if you're in need of water or help, but I didn't have time to venture into them as I had lots of trail to cover in one day. I have a few friends on Facebook who bikepack and this would be the best way to digest this trail and the Prairie Spirit Rail Trail which connects to this one in Ottawa, KS.

I rode this trail on a super cold day; 42 degrees with 30mph NW winds. It offered a great tailwind, but the pictures were lackluster after sunrise. I aspired to do this trail for eight months or so and this was the day it had to happen...to overcome the problem of a super long trail such as this.

How do you get back to your car?! My parents had business in Council Grove and offered to move my car to Vassar mid-day. So even with frigid weather conditions, I felt I was up to the challenge and took them up on their offer.

Don't underestimate this trail...the climb from Council Grove to Bushong is the only challenging uphill, but the sheer distance is quite a challenge if you're not used to that type of energy draw. Be sure to take plenty of food and water. I drank three liters of water and a thermos of hot coffee and a small lunch spread out across a few stops and was still spent after exploring to Vassar.

East of Vassar, I drove to specific points on the trail to see if Google Maps was correct. They aren't. As of November 2016, this is the most accurate map of this trail online that I'm aware of. Even though I drove around exploring the last 60 miles of trail, I still enjoyed finding the true end of the trail, and documenting as much of the trail as I could. I'm sure others can get some awesome pics I missed and I highly recommend they upload them!

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Trail Ratings

  5.0 from 1 vote

#1951

Overall
  5.0 from 1 vote
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Trail Rankings

#14

in Kansas

#1,951

Overall
15 Views Last Month
620 Since Nov 17, 2016
Intermediate

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Photos

These amazing views are all along the trail!
Nov 20, 2016 near Council…, KS
The first of many sections carved out to maintain the grade of the railbed.  Some of these are 50' deep!
Nov 20, 2016 near Council…, KS
More great views along the trail
Nov 20, 2016 near Council…, KS
This bridge is the start of a climb up to the next town...get ready!
Nov 20, 2016 near Council…, KS
A neat mural where the Flint Hills Trail meets the Prairie Spirit Trail.
Nov 25, 2016 near Ottawa, KS
Another great fossil hunting location
Nov 20, 2016 near Council…, KS

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