Bod Magazine: Topeka parks and trailways

Topeka has an abundance of outdoor venues for the outdoor enthusiast. Whether you are a runner, cyclist, hiker, skater or just looking for a serene place to take a stroll, Topeka has something to fill your needs.

Kaw River State Park Kaw

River State Park is the newest and only free state park in Kansas. It offers forested trails and access to the Kansas (Kaw) River. Hiking and mountain-biking trails are interwoven through an oak-hickory forest that offers steep hills and surprising viewpoints.

The park spans an extensive 76 acres of land on the south bank of the Kansas River in west Topeka. The park is adjacent to MacLennan Park and Cedar Crest to the east, providing a view of the Kansas governor’s residence.

MacLennan Park

MacLennan Park is a 277-acre park and wildlife refuge adjacent to Kaw River State Park and Cedar Crest. A 2.7 mile crushed limestone trail leads up to the Governor’s Mansion.

There are also smaller dirt trails that wind through meadows over hills and around a pond. The park blends manicured landscapes with natural grass meadows and forests. Wildlife and wildflowers can be spotted during an outing at this park.

Kansas Historical Society’s Nature Trail

If you are interested in taking a peaceful stroll, western Topeka’s Kansas Historical Society’s Nature Trail is for you. No biking, skating or horseback riding is allowed on the trail. Any dogs must be on a leash. The trail is 2.5 miles long and divided into four sections. Throughout the trail are signs explaining the cultural and historical significance of the area.

Shunga Trail

The Shunga Trail is a concrete path running parallel to Shunga Creek. The trail is ideal for walking, running, bicycling or skating and is wide enough to support two-way traffic.

The trail is 7.63 miles long, with endpoints at Crestview Park at SW Fairlawn Road and SW 28th Street to Deer Creek Trail at SE Golden Avenue. Smaller dirt trails are accessible from the concrete portions of the trails.

SkyLine Park

A must-see for the outdoor enthusiast, Skyline Park is a 106-acre park. There, dirt trails lead to the top of Burnett’s Mound, the highest point in the city. The climb to the top varies in grade from gradual to steep.

The question for park visitors is whether they are looking for a high intensity work out, the best view of the city, or both. From the top of Burnett’s Mound you can look over the entire city of Topeka. The scenic park is currently being renovated back to its native state.

This is an article from the Spring/Summer 2016 Bod Magazine. Pick up your FREE copy today WITH additional content in front of the Student Media Office located on the lower level of Memorial Union.