Step Outside - Kansas WELCOME TO STEP OUTSIDE! Find the best outdoor fun near you! en-us 30 http://stepoutside.org/ Step Outside - Kansas 144 144 http://stepoutside.org/ https://cdnstep-americantownscom.netdna-ssl.com/img/stepoutside_logo.gif Sun, 22 Jul 2018 15:37:57 -0500 Camping Done Right: 7 Best Outdoor Stores in Kansas The motto for camping is to always be prepared. Camping and sleeping out in the wilderness allows you to be close to nature and experience the outdoors in a way that no other outdoor activity can. It’s essential that to have a fun and safe experience that you are well stocked with all the necessary camping gear. The following stores are known for carrying the best brands of camping gear and having expert staff who will make sure your upcoming camping trip is well supplied for fun outdoors. 

With over 40 years of excellent service, Sunflower Outdoor and Bike is prepared to outfit you with the very best for your next camping experience. Find all of your favorite trustworthy brands like Mountain Hardwear, Marmot, Osprey, Merrell, Smartwool, and more. 

Cabela’s is one of the best known outdoor stores where you can find everything you could ever need for your outdoor adventure. Their camping section is one of the best around and offers gear from all the major brands. Here you can pick up everything for your upcoming trip including relaxing ENO hammocks, Eureka! tents, and a high-quality Benchmade knife which always comes in handy. 

This is a cool store! #CabelasWichita

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With 11 different departments to choose from, this outdoor store really has it all. This is the largest locally-owned and operated sports store in Kansas. Find all the camping gear you’ll need from brands like ALPS Mountaineering and Coleman. You’ll also find dehydrators from Open Country for delicious cooking outdoors. 

Einstein’s Outdoor Outfitters has been providing the Topeka area with all of the proper gear for a safe and enjoyable camping experience for over 100 years. That’s right. A century of excellent service. Not only will you find footwear, Coleman camping goods, and other outdoor appliances, but you’ll find the complete selection of military surplus in Topeka. 

This independent specialty outdoor equipment store in Manhattan, Kansas, has been outfitting campers and outdoors people since 1975. Find top-quality packs from Osprey and Deuter, as well as tents, sleeping bags, camp cookware, tools and gadgets, safety gear, gear repair products, and much more! 

Bass Pro Shops is another leader in providing high-quality outdoor equipment including great camping accessories. Stroll through their huge store and you are bound to find some great new gear including Lodge Cast Iron cookware, the super comfortable Big Agnes camping chairs, and a nearly unlimited supply of fishing equipment to add some extra fun to your upcoming camping trip. 

Mickey’s Surplus is an army surplus store that is jam packed with all kinds of outdoor gear and military-grade equipment. Here you can find an enormous selection of camouflage clothing along with standard outdoor clothing brands like Carhartt and Dickies. Military is the main theme but you are sure to find all of your basic camping supplies here as well. 

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http://stepoutside.org/article/camping-done-right-7-best-outdoor-stores-in-kansas http://stepoutside.org/article/camping-done-right-7-best-outdoor-stores-in-kansas Tue, 17 Jul 2018 00:00:00 -0500
5 Cool Spots for ATV Off-Roading in Kansas If you’re a thrill seeker in Kansas, checking out one of the state’s excellent ATV off-roading trails is a must. With so much expansive space and awesome terrain for the sport, you’ll have plenty of high-quality options. Here are five great off-roading spots in the state. 

Grab your ATV and head to the Syracuse Sand Dunes to enjoy the best off-roading. This park has over 1,300 acres of off-roading opportunities that every member of the family will enjoy. Be sure to register all off-highway vehicles at the Syracuse City Hall or Sand Park Office.

The Tuttle Creek area north of Manhattan has over 310 acres of rugged terrain with several miles of trails for the novice-level to expert hill climbs. Picnic tables and a loading ramp are located next to the entrance parking lot. The area is also open to bicycles and two, three and four-wheeled motorized vehicles. 

Several trails wind through the Riverside East section of the John Redmond Reservoir near Burlington. Riverside East Campground is located on the east bank of the Neosho River in Kansas and is open to ATV and other off road vehicles. 

The Perry Lake ATV and Motorcycle Trail covers more than 140 acres of space—with difficulty suitable for beginners and those who are more experienced. You can spend hours at this place. Just make sure to check out the map before heading out! 

Kansas Badlands offers 254 acres of ATV riding trails and tracks. Riding is open daily during daylight hours all year round. The cost is $5 per person for the week from Monday-Sunday and $10 per weekend for special events.

gettin' muddy at the Mudruns (Baby bro really hates pictures)

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tamarabegucheva/Shutterstock.com http://stepoutside.org/article/5-cool-spots-for-atv-offroading-in-kansas http://stepoutside.org/article/5-cool-spots-for-atv-offroading-in-kansas Thu, 05 Jul 2018 00:00:00 -0500
7 Best Birdwatching Hikes in Kansas Kansas’ landscape of wide-open plains and untouched prairies makes for an impeccable birdwatching destination. Whether you’re searching for an elegant heron or sprightly goldfinch, these birdwatching hikes will provide a blissful retreat into nature. Here are our favorites. 

Cheyenne Bottoms Wildlife Area is a 41,000-acre lowland that is home to hundreds of Kansas’ bird species. It’s estimated that over 45 percent of North America’s shorebird population stops in the basin during their migration north in the spring. It’s primarily a wetland habitat and offers endless birdwatching for the more than 60,000 people who visit annually. 

Quivira National Wildlife Refuge is constantly rated as one of the top birdwatching destinations in the United States. Over 344 species have been recorded in this massive wetland and being in the middle of the country, it offers birdwatchers a mix of western and eastern species. Hike along one of the many mudflats or shorelines and you are sure to see tons of long-legged waders like herons and cranes. 

The Jamestown Wildlife Area offers over 3,000 acres of beautiful wetlands and uplands full of a variety of bird species. A popular area to visit is the Jamestown Lake where you can go on a quick hike. The area offers excellent wildlife viewing and photographing opportunities. Be on the lookout for a variety of waterfowl and other migrating shorebirds! 

The George Stumps Nature Trail is a great place to bring friends or family for a leisurely stroll through southeastern side of the Cheyenne Bottoms Wildlife Area. The paved trail is located at the Kansas Wetlands Education Center, next to the center, and offers over a half mile hike through Kansas wildlife such as woodrats, deer, and many species of birds. 

The Emporia Cottonwood River Trail a great natural trail that runs along the Cottonwood River and offers a secluded area great for birdwatching. The trail is just under a mile long and easily hiked or can also be accessed by bike. You can access the trail from Peter Pan Park and quickly spend a few hours there observing beautiful Kansas bird species. 

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The Ernie Miller Nature Center was the first nature center in Kansas and has a great hiking trail called the Ernie Miller Bittersweet Trail that is home to varying species of birds including chickadees and goldfinch. The 116-acre nature preserve also has an education center with exhibits and programs for the whole family to enjoy. 

The George Latham Trail can be found along the western side of Clinton Lake and is a 4.5-mile trail open solely for hikers. The trail offers a mix of wooded areas and open grasslands that are filled with hundreds of species of native Kansas birds. Trailheads are found along the northwest corner and southeast corner of the parking area. 

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http://stepoutside.org/article/7-best-birdwatching-hikes-in-kansas http://stepoutside.org/article/7-best-birdwatching-hikes-in-kansas Wed, 27 Jun 2018 00:00:00 -0500
5 Best Fishing Holes in Kansas Kick back, relax, and enjoy a tranquil day of fishing in Kansas. The state is home to some first-rate fishing opportunities, from expansive reservoirs to sparkling and serene lakes. Whether you’re fishing for largemouth bass or catfish, you’re sure to find it at the five best fishing holes in Kansas. 

One of the best-stocked fishing holes in Kansas is the Larned Fishing Pond. When you fish here, you can expect to catch black crappie, bluegill, carp, channel catfish, or largemouth bass. Make sure to bring along a bucket for your catch! Be sure you have your Kansas fishing license, as well. 

Bone Creek Reservoir is a young body of water recognized in 1996 when the Bone Creek Valley flooded to supply water for the residents of Crawford and Cherokee Counties. This fishing hole is stocked with largemouth bass, catfish, walleye, and crappie. 

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Gridley City Lake is just north of Gridley and is home to an impressive fish management program. Kansas licensed fisherman may cast their hook into a fish population of sunfish, channel catfish, crappie, largemouth bass, small mouth bass, walleye, and wiper.

These two city lakes can provide any angler with a full day of fishing fun. These lakes have been cared for and attended to and will bring anyone who visits a comfortable, quiet place to enjoy a day by the water. Be sure you have your fishing license.  

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In the covered hills of western Kansas, Sheridan State Fishing Lake is a great place to relax and fish near Hoxie. Fisherman can hook a bluegill, channel catfish, crappie, largemouth bass, or a red ear sunfish from one of the lake’s floating piers. 

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http://stepoutside.org/article/5-best-fishing-holes-in-kansas http://stepoutside.org/article/5-best-fishing-holes-in-kansas Tue, 06 Mar 2018 00:00:00 -0600
A beginner’s guide: Ice fishing Vin T. Sparano, as excerpted from Complete Outdoors Encyclopedia: Camping, Fishing, Hunting, Boating, Wilderness Survival, First Aid

 

 

Ice fishing differs greatly from open-water fishing, and it is a demanding sport. It requires an understanding of and an ability to cope with winter weather, knowledge of the cold-weather habits of the fish, and the use of an unusual assortment of gear, most of it unique to ice fishing.

There are two basic ice-fishing methods: tip-up fishing and jigging. In general, tip-ups are usually used on larger fish—pike, pickerel, walleyes, trout, and such—that prefer bait and require the angler to play the waiting game. Jigging is usually preferred for smaller fish that tend to school up—bluegills, perch, crappies, and the like. But these are merely generalizations, not hard-and-fast rules. For example, jigging (sometimes called chugging) is often quite productive on big lake trout and salmon in the Great Lakes. 

Also called tilts, these come in various styles, but they all perform two basic functions: they hold a baited line leading from a revolving-type reel spool, and they signal the bite of a fish. The most common type of tip-up consists of three strips of wood, each about 18 inches long. Two are cross pieces that form an X as they span the hole. The third piece is an upright; at its bottom end is attached a simple line-holding spool, while the upper end holds the signaling device. The signal is usually a piece of very flexible spring steel with a red (some anglers prefer black) flag on the end. After the hook is baited and lowered to the desired depth, the steel arm is “cocked”—bent over and down and hooked onto a “trigger.” When a fish strikes, an arm on the revolving spool releases the steel arm and it flies erect.

In this type of tip-up, the reel is positioned underwater. In other variations, the reel is positioned above the ice. Each type has its advantages. The above-the-ice reel can be more sensitively adjusted for light-biting fish, but the line tends to freeze on the reel once it gets wet. The underwater reel largely eliminates the problem of freezing, but the fisherman must remove the tip-up from the hole before he can grab the line.

Baits for tip-up fishing are usually live. In general, it pays to match the size of the bait to the size of the fish you’re after. Baits range from tiny maggots (often called mousies) and grubs for panfish, to worms and small minnows for walleyes, and up to 6-inch baitfish for pike. 

As done by ice fishermen, jigging is simply a method of imparting an up-and-down movement to a lure or bait. Jigging can be—and is—done with any sort of line-holding rod or stick. 

Some jigging rods—more appropriately called sticks—are simply pieces of wood 18 inches or so long, with U-shaped notches in each end. The line—10-pound-test monofilament is very popular—is wound lengthwise onto the stick around the U-shaped notches and is paid out as needed. There are other types of jigging sticks of varying designs, and many ice anglers use standard spinning or spincast rods or the butt half of a fly rod. 

Rods made specially for ice jigging are simple affairs consisting of a fiberglass tip section that is 2 or 3 feet long seated in a short butt. The butt may have a simple revolving-spool reel or merely a pair of heavy-wire projections around which the line is wound. The tip section may have two to four guides, including the tip guide. The shortness of such a rod lets the user fish up close to the hole and have better control over the lure or bait at the end of his line. 

There are many and varied jigging lures and baits, but flashiness is built into most of them. Others produce best when “sweetened” with bait. Two popular jigging lures are: an ungainly looking critter with a heavy body shaped and painted to resemble a baitfish, a hook at each end and a treble hook in the middle of its underside, and a line-tie ring in the middle of its upper surface; and a long, slim, three- or four-sided, silvery model with a treble hook at one end and a line-tie ring at the other. 

Jigging methods vary with the fisherman and with the fish being sought. However, a productive way to fish many jigging lures, especially flashier types, is to twitch the lure slightly and then jerk it suddenly upward with a quick upward movement of the arm. The proper interval between jerks is learned with experience. 

Popular jigging baits include a single perch eye (either impaled on a small hook or used to sweeten a tiny hair or rubber-bodied ice fly), worms, grubs, maggots, insect larvae, minnows, and cut bait (pieces of skin or flesh that are cut from the tail or body of such fish as smelt and perch). 

Jiggers tend to move around more than tip-up fishermen, boring holes in different areas until they find a productive spot. 

Like most other forms of fishing, ice angling requires some auxiliary equipment. Most ice anglers prefer to keep such gear to a minimum, for they have to haul it with them wherever they go on the ice. 

If you’re going to fish through holes in the ice, you need something to make those holes. The ice auger is a popular tool for this job. Augers come in different designs. One has a long handle with a U-shaped bend at the top, and a rounded cutting blade at the bottom. The handle is turned much like that of a manual drill, and the blade cuts a round hole through the ice. Another type looks like a giant ice drill with sharp, widely spaced threads. It is used in the same way. Gasoline-powered ice drills are also available. 

Then there’s the ice spud or chisel. This is a heavy metal handle with a large, chisel-type blade at the bottom. The spud’s weight helps the angler punch down through the ice, but the user must shape the hole once he has broken through. 

An indispensable item of accessory gear is the ice skimmer, a ladle-type device that is used to keep the hole clear of ice chips and chunks and to skim ice. A heavy sinker will serve the same purpose. 

Many ice anglers like to use an attached spring clip. It is attached to the fishing line and used to determine the water depth—an important factor because in winter most game fish are found on or near the bottom. 

Winter is the time of year when ice fishermen venture out onto frozen waters. Most will have fun, but a few will get into trouble because they don’t know how to make sure that the ice is safe. The first rule is never take chances. There are two periods when accidents are likely to happen: early in the season when slush ice doesn’t freeze uniformly and late in the season when ice melts at an uneven rate. It takes prolonged periods of freezing to make ice safe. Here are some rules to remember: 

Be cautious of heavy snowfalls while ice is forming. Snow acts as an insulator. The result is a layer of slush and snow on top of treacherous ice. 

Clear, solid river ice is 15 percent weaker than clear lake ice. 

River ice is thinner midstream than near the banks. 

River mouths are dangerous because currents create pockets of unsafe ice. 

When walking with friends, stay 10 yards apart. 

Lakes that have a lot of springs will have weak spots of ice. 

 

 

 

 

About the author:

Vin T. Sparano is the author of Complete Outdoors Encyclopedia as well as three other guides for Rizzoli

He has been an outdoor editor and writer for more than fifty years. He is editor emeritus of Outdoor Life, and has written and edited more than fifteen books about the outdoors. In 2013, he was inducted into the Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame.

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http://stepoutside.org/article/a-beginners-guide-ice-fishing http://stepoutside.org/article/a-beginners-guide-ice-fishing Tue, 26 Dec 2017 00:00:00 -0600
8 Best Archery Outfitters in Kansas Archery is one of the oldest and most skillful sports. If you’re in need of replacement arrows, targets for practicing before a big hunt, or a complete new bow setup, you will be able to find top-notch gear at the great archery outfitters of Kansas. Here are our favorites.

Diamond Archery in Wichita is a combination indoor/outdoor archery range that also sells some of the top brands of archery supplies. They serve everyone from beginners to pro and have an archery range that goes out to 80 yards where you can practice with your new gear. 

32 is ready to kill a turkey. New strings look awesome

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Overton’s Archery Center in Lawrence and Overton provides archery equipment, archery lessons, and great advice to get you set up for a successful experience. Their dedicated staff has years of experience and can help you find the perfect bow. No matter the location you choose, you'll find high-quality bow services and an impressive selection to fit any archer's needs. 

Bowhunter Archery was started by Jerry Howarter and has been providing high-quality bow hunting products and service since 1980. With expertise in hunting, the Bowhunter Archery store can help you get setup with a new rig that will be reliable and accurate to take on your next outdoor hunting excursion. 

The outdoorsman and woman will be totally blown away by the selection at Smoky Valley Shooting Sports in Lindsborg, Kansas. Find bows from brands like Hoyt, Mathews, Bowtech, and all of the other top producers. You’ll also find a great selection of accessories like sights, rests, stabilizers, quivers, broadheads, and more.  

It’s time to “maximize your potential,” as they put it at Impulse Archery. Find all the best from Bear, Elite, Trophy Ridge, and more. Customers will also find an impressive range with life-size replica Rinehart 3D targets along with BullDog range targets. Get all of your gear and practice right here. 

Votruba Archery is an amazing local archery shop that offers great gear and bow services to keep your equipment working at its peak potential. Their shop also includes two indoor ranges, one of which has 3D targets where you can test out your new equipment. 

A true archer’s haven, Boone’s Outdoors has all you’ll need in one place. This family-owned shop carries compound bows, recurve bows, crossbows, arrows, broadheads, quivers, and more. They even have three certified bow technicians on staff! You’re in good hands at Boone’s Outdoors. 

At Jimbows n Arrows, the staff is dedicated to advancing the sport of archery and bow hunting. Find first-rate equipment, competitive prices, and unmatched services. This authorized Hoyt and PSE dealer will provide basic and advanced bow set up, maintenance and repair, custom arrows, and much more. 

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http://stepoutside.org/article/8-best-archery-outfitters-in-kansas http://stepoutside.org/article/8-best-archery-outfitters-in-kansas Thu, 21 Dec 2017 00:00:00 -0600
10 Best Bait and Tackle Shops in Kansas Nothing is more peaceful than casting out a line across your favorite lake and enjoying the calm sounds of nature while you wait for a fish to take your bait. If you love to fish, then you probably have an old tackle box full of different hooks, bait, and gear, so you know it’s essential to stay stocked up for a fishing trip. For all of the best equipment from high-quality brands, check out these 10 awesome bait and tackle shops in the state. 

Angler’s Bait & Tackle is a premier outdoor outfitter and their huge shop is the one-stop place to find all of the fishing gear you need. The staff is known for their welcoming attitude and they’ll always ensure customers have a great experience. 

Minnesota Bait & Fly has great service and selection of bait that will help you land your next big fish. The store has all the fishing needs for anglers including an excellent supply of lines, rods, tackle, and much more. 

“Home of the jumping worm,” Outback Bait & Tackle has been providing bait and tackle to the South Central Kansas area for many years. The shop has a huge selection of live bait and tackle and even offer services for rod & reel repairs. 

Webster Bait & Tackle is a quick place to stop and grab some bait, tackle, and snacks on your way to your next fishing adventure. They also have some camping equipment, drinks, and expert advice on where you might find your next big catch. 

Zeiner’s Bass Shop is a year round fishing store with over 64 years in business. They have been in business for so long because of their dedication to providing high-quality fishing gear and the highest level of service to their customers. 

Done & Tom’s Bait and Tackle is a fantastic little store that offers a wide selection of bait, tackle, and trapping supplies. The store is named after the two owners who have combined over 80 years of fishing experience and will help you find the perfect gear for your fishing trip. 

P&P Seed & Bait has everything you need to have a great fishing experience for you and your family. They carry fresh bait such as bloodworms, sandworms, fresh-shucked skimmer clams, and much more. Their huge bait selection is unmatched and will help you have a successful day of fishing. 

Mike’s Bait and Tackle is a family-owned business that will happily supply you with all of your fishing needs. Their shop has live bait including minnows, goldfish, worms, and a great selection of artificial bait as well. 

Mondo Tackle is a mom and pop store that serves fishing enthusiasts. They have the best selection of hard-to-find tackle that is essential to catching your next big one. Their staff is always friendly and helpful and has everything you need to take your fishing game to the next level. 

The Happy Joy Acres Store located on Lake Perry is a great little store that will help you get stocked up on fishing supplies which come in handy for the nearby lake. The shop has a tremendous selection of live bait such as minnows, shrimp, worms, and much more. Along with fishing gear they have other camping and water sport necessities. 

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http://stepoutside.org/article/10-best-bait-and-tackle-shops-in-kansas http://stepoutside.org/article/10-best-bait-and-tackle-shops-in-kansas Thu, 21 Dec 2017 00:00:00 -0600
Start Your Trek: 8 Best Hiking Retailers in Kansas One of the most peaceful and relaxing ways to appreciate nature is by going on a hike through spaces teeming with wildlife and fresh air. Nothing relieves the stress better than disconnecting from the daily grind and heading out into nature. But in order to get the most out of your hiking experiences, you always want to make sure you carry the right gear and are well equipped for different types of terrain and obstacles. The following hiking retailers are the best for providing essential gear and expertise that will help guide you to having a perfect hiking adventure! 

Sitzmark Sports is a family-owned outdoor sports shop that has some great deals on outerwear and equipment. Their expert staff has a ton of experience using all types of gear so they will be able to help you with high-quality recommendations on equipment for your upcoming hiking trips. 

This renowned sporting goods store is one of the largest in the state that sells almost everything you could ever need outdoors. Their huge store has an indoor Ferris wheel and a selection of outdoor hiking gear that is unmatched. With hundreds of options for outdoor clothing and boots, you will find exactly what you need to take on your next adventure. 

This is a paradise for hikers, bikers, campers, and other wilderness explorers. Find water bottles, backpacks, and more, from top brands like Sea to Summit, Patagonia, and Eagle Creek

Worth the drive.

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Eddie Bauer is one of the best known names when you think about going on outdoor adventures. Their store is packed with high-quality outerwear, boots, and even casual clothing. Their excellent staff has a ton of knowledge on their different types of gear and what will be optimal for all types of weather and terrain conditions. 

If you are looking for super tough and durable gear than nothing beats the military quality equipment that you can find at Mickey’s Surplus. Their army surplus store is full of outdoor specialty gear and military-grade equipment. Their store carries many top brands and tons of camouflage patterned gear that will last through even the toughest outdoor hikes. 

Bass Pro Shops is one of the most well-known names in outdoor equipment. Their incredible outdoor supply store is bursting full of great deals on hiking gear. The boot selection here is top-notch and you are sure to find all of the outdoor clothing and accessories you could ever need.

If you are looking for a fun shopping experience, then you have to check out Cabela’s, which has locations in Kansas City and Wichita. Their store is enormous and full of outdoor gear and wildlife on display. Boasting one of the biggest selections of outerwear and gear, this place has everything you could ever need for hiking and probably some things you didn’t even know existed. Make sure you plan a few hours to wander their huge store, pick up gear from your favorite brands, and check out the amazing wildlife exhibits as well. 

Nothing compares to the down-home feel and selection at Sunflower Outdoor and Bike. This Lawrence shop features all the greatest brands like the North Face, Smartwool, Osprey, Marmot, MSR, and much more. 

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http://stepoutside.org/article/start-your-trek-8-best-hiking-retailers-in-kansas http://stepoutside.org/article/start-your-trek-8-best-hiking-retailers-in-kansas Tue, 19 Dec 2017 00:00:00 -0600
5 Best Ice Skating Rinks in Kansas Nothing is quite as blissful as gliding across a freshly-cleaned sheet of ice in the middle of winter. From city parks to cozy down-home rinks, Kansas is home to a variety of ice skating opportunities welcome to all levels of skill. Here are the best rinks in the state. 

The Ice Rink in City Park is located at the Jon & Ruth Ann Wefald Pavilion and is a beautiful family-friendly ice skating rink. Their ice rink is always kept in great condition and you can rent a pair of skates for only $3 or feel free to bring your own. 

"if you fall pls let go of me" sorry chan

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The Kansas Expo Centre opens up during the winter for some of the best ice skating around. They have an excellent selection of figure skates and hockey skates available for rent. The huge ice rink provides tons of space for everyone to enjoy their time on the ice regardless of skill level. 

Kansas City Ice Center is a professional-quality ice rink that offers top-notch public skating and ice skating lessons. You can also learn how to play ice hockey here and their huge selection of classes offers something for everyone. 

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Wichita Ice Center is the ultimate place to come for all activities on ice. They have Olympic and NHL-size rinks and large viewing windows. In addition to ice skating, they have hockey leagues and figure skating classes available. 

The Ice at Park Place is known as the premier outdoor ice skating rink in the area. The ice skating rink is surrounded by holiday festivities, shopping, and warm food and drink are available as well. Make sure to check for some of their fun special events such as the Skating with Santa and Princess Skate. 

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http://stepoutside.org/article/5-best-ice-skating-rinks-in-kansas http://stepoutside.org/article/5-best-ice-skating-rinks-in-kansas Mon, 18 Dec 2017 00:00:00 -0600
5 Best Ski Destinations for Families Around Kansas The Midwest is home to some of the country’s best ski resorts featuring great terrain and freshly-fallen snow. Some of the snowiest resorts can be found in Missouri or just a drive away in Colorado. Whether you are looking for an expert level skiing experience or just a fun family weekend on the slopes, the following ski resorts are some of the best places to get out into nature and enjoy the thrilling experience of racing through snow covered terrain.

Snow Creek is a fantastic ski resort located just a short drive from Kansas City. The location features a drop over 300 feet and a great mix of beginner, intermediate, and expert level runs that will fit everyone’s skill level. The 10,000-square-foot ski lodge features a great bar and lounge to keep you fueled up between runs. 

If you are looking for a great ski resort to check out this winter season than take the roughly four-hour drive from Overland Park, Kansas, to Wildwood, Missouri, and check out Hidden Valley Ski. The resort features over a dozen runs of varying levels and offers skiing, snowboarding, and snow tubing. Check them out on a Friday or Saturday night this winter when they turn on the flood lights for night time skiing.

Mt. Crescent Ski Area has been open every year since 1961 offering family-friendly ski experiences. The location and design for the ski resort was chosen by the famous Olympian gold medalist skier Stein Eriksen. The ski runs are over seven football fields long, giving you all day fun. The ski resort is also constantly voted as one of the best places to learn how to ski. 

started from the bottom...we're still there β›·

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Seven Oaks located in central Iowa is an outdoor recreation area that features skiing, snowboarding, and snow tubing in the winter. Their slopes contain 11 different runs, a diverse terrain park, and even a rail yard. Their chair lifts will keep you moving along quickly so you can spend all day racing down the slopes. 

Echo Mountain is located less than an hour from Denver and their ski resort offers incredible views along the Continental Divide. The resort is nestled among beautiful mountains and offers breathtaking vistas in every direction. Their trails are always covered in freshly-fallen snow that is just waiting to be carved by your skis! 

Evergroms on a Wednesday afternoon! #evergroms #echomtn

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http://stepoutside.org/article/5-best-ski-destinations-for-families-around-kansas http://stepoutside.org/article/5-best-ski-destinations-for-families-around-kansas Thu, 07 Dec 2017 00:00:00 -0600
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. 

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.

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.

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.

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.  

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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http://stepoutside.org/article/5-energizing-hikes-in-kansas http://stepoutside.org/article/5-energizing-hikes-in-kansas Thu, 26 Oct 2017 00:00:00 -0500
ATV Off-Roading Adventure at Otter Creek Recreation Area Kansas is known for its beautiful rolling hills and scenery that make it the perfect place to go on an off-roading adventure. There is nothing better than getting your ATV ready for a day of exploration and adventures across the vast prairies of Kansas. Experience the thrilling twists and turns of diverse terrains and enjoy some interesting stops along the way.

Start your day early by heading to the Otter Creek ATV Area which is located on the south side of the John Redmond Reservoir and offers over 140 acres of wooded trail to explore with your ATV. The trails contain diverse foliage and varying wildlife such as turkey and deer. 

After riding, you’re going to be hungry. Fill up your belly at the classic Diners’ Kafe in Burlington, Kansas. Their Monday-Friday menu features satisfying sandwiches such as shrimp po’boys, breaded chicken sandwiches, and burgers. Be sure to check out their daily specials. 

Make the most of your opportunity outdoors and head out towards the north side of the recreation area to cast your reel out along one of the many banks of the John Redmond Reservoir. The lake offers many species of fish such as crappie and catfish and it’s great place to hang out and enjoy the peaceful sounds of water and wildlife. 

Head northeast along Embankment Road until you reach the John Redmond Reservoir dam. Here you can pull off and catch a glimpse one of nature’s wonders which comes in the form of a beautiful Kansas sunset along the rolling grassy hills. 

Just down the road from the reservoir you can find the Riverside East Campground which is the perfect place to set up camp and call it a day. With over 43 campsites, it’s the perfect place to wind down after a long hard day on the trails. Pitching your tent and enjoying time around the campfire is the ultimate way to cap off a great ATV off-roading adventure. 

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5 Beautiful Backpack Camping Spots in Kansas It is time to pack up your backpack, throw it over your shoulder and explore the Kansas outdoor landscapes. As diverse and wonderful as the citizens, backpacking can provide a necessary item to all adventure seekers, stillness, calming and incredible sceneries. It won’t matter where you start you will always find home again in Kansas. 

Cedar Bluff State Park near WaKeeney offers backpackers two unique areas to explore and camp. Backpack along the shorelines of the Cedar Bluff Reservoir and the wide-open spaces of the Bluffton area on the north shore. The second area is the Page Creek south shoreline. This side is not as developed, but offers large shade trees and sandier shorelines with both designated and undesignated primitive campsites. Both areas can provide outdoor adventure and relaxing solitude.

Backpackers will enjoy the hiking trails and camping areas the John Redmond Reservoir offers throughout the year. Located in the Neosho River Valley, the area’s rolling hills offer backpackers acres of wheat, corn, and maize fields. The native tall-grass prairies and rolling hilltops open to seas of waving grasses and bottomlands that are coved by trees. Three recreation areas provide beautiful campsites.  

When life gets too hectic, head to southwest Kansas and backpack the Pike and San Isabel National Forests and the Cimarron and Comanche National Grasslands near Elkhart. Birdwatch, fish, find an oasis all your own. After you spend time backpacking the area’s scenic, unspoiled grasslands, camp for the night at one of the 12 primitive campsites. Pitch your tent for a small fee under the park’s tall cottonwood trees and take in the peace and tranquility this park offers. 

Pomona State Park, east of Pomona, welcomes any skill level of backpacker. You are invited to leave the hustling metro plex of Kansas City and travel southeast to this quiet, serene spot and take in the view of the lake, the park, the grassy areas and the abundant trees. Perch yourself along one of the park trails and watch red-bellied woodpeckers, black-capped chickadees, and purple finches spend their days. Recreational activities during your stay could include fishing and boating, and enjoying a variety of wildlife. The park is open year-round. 

Bring your camera, your binoculars, and set your backpack down and relax at Kaw River State Park near Topeka. Wooded trails follow alongside the Kaw River and provide incredible viewing of wildlife and even seasonal eagle viewing. Relax and enjoy the beauty this park has to offer as you backpack the river and the remote areas of the park, which are full of stunning natural wonders. 

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http://stepoutside.org/article/5-beautiful-backpack-camping-spots-in-kansas http://stepoutside.org/article/5-beautiful-backpack-camping-spots-in-kansas Fri, 13 Oct 2017 00:00:00 -0500
5 Stunning Foliage Hikes in Kansas Fall foliage hikes are the best in Kansas. Cool temperatures, amazing colors and active wildlife combined with scenic vistas and views. Pack your camera, binoculars, lunch and blanket and spend fall deep in the beauty of Kansas. 

The River Walk trails near Junction City offer a nine-mile loop and a three to four-mile, point to point, hiking trail that leads explorers through beautiful fall foliage during late October and early November. The fall colors are spectacular and the trails are available for all skill levels. The trails offer scenic tree lined paths, a lake, a river and forest views.

Wilderness Park near Pittsburg offers almost four miles of nature trails and great fall foliage hiking. Hike alone, with family, or in a group and enjoy the naturally shaded hiking trails which provide beautiful views of the many crisp colors of fall. There are several hiking trails to choose from, but the Casseletto Loop is a favorite. The Casseletto Loop offers creek views, picturesque bridges, and wide paths.

Any time of the year is a great time to visit Chase Lake Falls near Cottonwood Falls but fall is particularly wonderful, after the temperatures have cooled and the autumn colors emerge. Crisp oranges, yellows and browns canvas the quaint two-lane road that takes you to the park. Enjoy the lake views, hike to the falls, gaze over the hillsides and enjoy the wildlife. 

Get lost in fall colors hiking the Ernie Miller Nature Center in Olathe and enjoy the vibrancy that turn this nature center into an awesome retreat from daily life. Quiet trails let you hike through peaceful nature settings. Make sure to stop to take in the beauty of this nature reserve and the opportunities to learn more about this unique Kansas environment. 

Discover the beauty of fall at the Great Plains Nature Center in Chisholm Creek Park. This is a dedicated nature park which expands into almost 300 acres of native and restored prairies, wetlands, ponds and wooded areas that are beautiful when wrapped in fall colors. Hike the 2.5 miles of paved trails and view the 38 species of trees and shrubbery. 

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http://stepoutside.org/article/5-stunning-foliage-hikes-in-kansas http://stepoutside.org/article/5-stunning-foliage-hikes-in-kansas Tue, 03 Oct 2017 00:00:00 -0500
5 Perfect Fall Camping Spots in Kansas As summer ends across Kansas the welcome fall weather begins to transform landscapes to rich oranges, reds, yellows and browns. Cooler temperatures make for cozy fall campsites. Experience the beauty of Kansas at these five perfect fall camping spots in the state.  

A great out-of-the-way fall campsite perfect for crisp weather is Drury Park near Caldwell. This is an excellent spot to observe the changing colors of fall and listen to nature. This camping location is perfect for nature lovers—no swimming, alcohol, or guns are permitted at this park, which skirts a portion of the Chikaskia River. Your view also includes the Drury Dam and waterfall, operated by the Drury Recreation Area Inc. 

One of Kansas’ oldest state parks is Kanopolis near Marquette. It has more than 200 primitive campsites where you can find your own personal space. More than 15,000 acres of rolling hills, majestic bluffs, and wooded areas make this lake’s campsites extra special in the fall. Nature trails, wildlife viewing, fishing, waterfalls add to the beauty of this state park. 

Canning Creek Cove Park is located near Council Grove Lake in eastern Kansas. This campsite park is by Council Grove Lake and is part of the rolling Flint Hills and grassy prairies of eastern Kansas. During the fall, you can step outside your tent and enjoy the first light of the day, taking in the breathtaking colors painted by this landscape.

The Blackjack Campground is in the Cross Timbers State Park near Toronto. This is a wooded camping area by Toronto Lake situated along the hills of the Verdigris River Valley in southeastern Kansas. Its canopy of trees allows sunlight to highlight the park’s fall colors and dance off the native wildflowers. Lake activities, hiking, biking, and walking trails provide scenic tranquility. 

Located near Fall River, Kansas, this state park is truly something to experience in the fall. There are six hiking trails located within the park, so there is plenty of opportunity for a scenic foliage hike. This is a favorite spot among bird watchers, photographers, and naturalists, due to its immense natural diversity. 

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http://stepoutside.org/article/5-perfect-fall-camping-spots-in-kansas http://stepoutside.org/article/5-perfect-fall-camping-spots-in-kansas Mon, 02 Oct 2017 00:00:00 -0500