Trails and Parkways – DON’T PUBLISH

terry richardson

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. Walking, running and biking enthusiasts can enjoy the variety of trails offered. 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. A concrete trail winds around the east side of the park. 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.  The trail winds through grasslands, woodlands and along creek banks on the KHS property and crosses three bridges including an old style rope bridge. The trail opens and closes with the sun year round.

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 trail

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.