The following are general descriptions of the state of the Flint Hills Nature Trail, west to east. The “MP” numbers refer to the original Missouri Pacific mile markers. See also: Current Trail Conditions
Information current as of September 28, 2016.
Herington (MP451) to Council Grove (MP425)
The trail from Herington to Council Grove has not been developed and trail users will certainly encounter many obstacles such as downed trees, fences, and heavy vegetation blocking the trail. This section of trail is not suitable for bicycle riding and will in many areas be tough going for hikers.
Council Grove (MP425) to Admire (MP402)
The trail is completed with limestone screenings for 25 miles from the east edge of Council Grove to the east edge of Admire.
Admire (MP402) to Osage City (MP387)
Please note that from Admire to Osage City there are several unimproved bridges. These bridges do not have railings and many are surfaced with railroad ties with gaps between the ties. These bridges are rideable but use caution when crossing.
From Admire for the next 1.5 miles east the trail is unimproved and does not have screenings but is easily passable except for a ¼ mile stretch with heavy ballast on the surface. The heavy ballast is rideable but very difficult on a bicycle. So if you are up for a good 2 or 3-minute cardo workout this will be a good ride. If you aren’t up for the cardio but don’t mind pushing your bicycle for ¼ mile through the ballast the rest of this section is a nice ride. If you don’t want to tackle the ballast, then you need to detour east of Admire on Rd. 330 for 1 ½ mile where you can get back onto the trail at Rd. S5.
From Rd. S5 east for the next 14 miles to Osage City the trail is unimproved and does not have limestone screenings but the heavy ballast has been removed and the trail can be easily ridden. There are a few short sections that can be a little muddy after rains and in some areas trees and brush might be encroaching upon the edges of the trail.
Once inside the city limits of Osage City the trail crosses the BNSF railroad and you will need to detour around the crossing by going south on 6th St. to Lakin, then east on Lakin to 9th St. and north on 9th back to the trail.
Osage City (MP387) to 68 Hwy. Lomax (MP369)
East of the railroad crossing and for the nest 6 miles to S. Morrell Rd. the trail is much the same as it was before with a few wet spots and some brush and tree encroachment on the trail.
From S. Morrill Rd. for 1 ¼ mile to the bridge over 75 Highway the trail is surfaced with screenings and is easily passable.
From 75 Highway for ½ mile to S. Adams Rd. the trail surface is dirt so it will be muddy after rains. The biggest issue with this ½ mile section is a problem with goat head thorns which will flatten bicycle tires. Check the current conditions section for the latest updates on the goat heads. If this section needs to be detoured, you can enter the Crossroads RV Park from the west edge of the 75 highway bridge and use 75 Highway south to 268 Highway east to S. Adams Rd. north back to the trail.
From S. Adams Rd. for 10 miles to 68 Highway near Lomax the trail is surfaced with limestone screenings and is easily passable.
68 Hwy. Lomax (MP369) to Ottawa (MP353)
From 68 Highway east to Colorado Road in the town of Pomona the trail is closed for construction and will remain so till sometime in early 2017. To detour go north on 68 Hwy for ½ mile and then go east on 68 Hwy for 4 miles to Madison St. in Pomona. Go South on Madison just past the edge of town to get back onto the trail.
From Pomona the trail is completed with limestone screenings for the next 6 miles to Iowa Rd.
From Iowa Rd. to Louisiana Terr. the trail is closed due to a BNSF railroad crossing. To detour go north on Iowa and Iowa Terr. for ½ mile to Osborne Terr. Go east on Osborne Terr. For 2 miles to Louisiana Terr. And then north on Louisiana Terr. for ¾ mile back to the trail.
From there the trail is surfaced with screenings for 1 3/4 miles east to the intersection with the Prairie Spirit Trail at 1st and Walnut. From there continue east on First Street for two blocks to Hickory street where the trail will once again be surfaced with screenings. Continue east on the trail for 3 blocks to Poplar St.
The trail is not developed along the east edge of Ottawa where it follows the levy around to 7th St. This section of undeveloped trail might look inviting but it contains goat head thorns so do not attempt riding it on a bicycle.
To detour from Poplar St. to the trail at 7th St, go south on Poplar St. for 7 blocks to 7th St. and take 7th St east back to the trail just at the edge of town.
Ottawa (MP353) to Osawatomie (MP336)
From 7th St. in Ottawa, the trail is completed with limestone screenings for 17 miles to John Brown Road crossing located 1 mile west of Osawatomie.