5 Energizing Hikes in Kansas

By Cindy Lockstone

5 Energizing Hikes in Kansas

Take some time away from your busy life to decompress among nature. Trekking your way through Kansas’ many delightfully picturesque hiking trails is a great way to soak in the beauty of nature while getting a workout. These energizing hikes in Kansas offer a bit more of a heart-pumping experience than your leisurely stroll. 

1. Windmill Pasture at Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve

This nature preserve in Kansas looks like a dream, maybe even the classic verdant computer background that Windows is known by. It is a sight to be seen. Over 40 miles of a luscious sea of grassy hills, wild bison roaming, over 500 species of plants are all yours to explore in this land preserve right in the Kansas Flint Hills. What makes this preserve special is the wildlife that it is rich in. See this rustic terrain in this pocket of the Tallgrass Prairie and your thirst for exploration will be quenched.

2. Elk River Trail

Over 15 miles of these occasionally challenging blue-blazed trails will have you feeling connected at the hip with nature. The varied terrain offers an immense number of scenic features, such as panoramic views, narrow canyons, rock overhangs, beautiful foliage in the fall, lush greenery, and much more. Feel a rush of adrenaline as you trek through these canyons and over the hilly, rocky land.

3. Chautauqua Hills at Cross Timbers State Park

The Chautauqua Hills hike travels through centuries-old oak trees and boasts some of the most scenic views in Cross Timbers State Park. The hills are covered in black jack oaks, scrub oaks, as well as other hardwood species. Cross Timbers is characterized by its grasslands and beautiful deciduous trees. The 11-mile Chautauqua Hills hike is challenging because of its length, and is open year-round.

4. Chaplin Nature Center

Chaplin Nature Center is for those who want to get a taste of everything Kansas wildlife has to offer. Over 230 species of bird can be seen here, as well bobcats, wild turkeys, white-tailed deer, and for reptile lovers, you might catch a glimpse of some snakes. Not only is the ecosystem thriving, but so are the wetlands and forest. There isn’t a dull area here, that is for sure. Walk this roughly five-mile trail along the Arkansas River and experience the vivid wildlife right in Arkansas City.  

5. Konza Prairie Natural Trail

This immersive and historic nature trail is one of the more invigorating hiking experiences you’ll have in Kansas. This first loop of the nature trail spans 2.6 miles. The Konza Prairie Biological Station covers 8,600 acres with native tallgrass. Along the way, you’ll observe fields that featured a working cattle ranch in 1977, excellent spots to see beautiful wildflowers, and if you’re really lucky, you might get to see a wonderful bison herd. 

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