Kansas Backpacking

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Dacker89
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Kansas Backpacking

Post by Dacker89 » Fri Nov 27, 2020 8:59 am

Hi all,
I know this isn't exactly a "14ers" topic but I was wondering if anyone had any suggestions for a backpacking trip somewhere in Kansas. 1 or 2 days, under 30 miles, planning for spring time.

Thank you,
81go
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Re: Kansas Backpacking

Post by 81go » Fri Nov 27, 2020 9:33 am

Almost Kansas...

A quarter century ago, we did a multiday April backpacking trip in the Bessey Ranger District of the Nebraska National Forest, near Halsey Nebraska, in the Sandhills. It was a very neat trip. Much of the District is forested with pines, planted in early 1900s as an experiment that created that largest man-made forest in the USA. Endless sand dunes; no trails. Because of the dunes, hiking is slow but very interesting. We were completely alone except the wildlife. We saw numerous Sandhill cranes. The area is scattered with old windmills and watering tanks, enough were in working condition to restock our water (no surface water). Probably worth a call to the ranger station to inquire how many are still working before backpacking.
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Conor
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Re: Kansas Backpacking

Post by Conor » Fri Nov 27, 2020 9:50 am

I have no personal experience in kansas specifically. But, a few suggestions to help you look.

1) use the land management layer either here on the map, LoJ or caltopo to identify public lands.
2) the US forest service has an interactive map. https://www.fs.fed.us/ivm/
3) there is an arcgis "BLM" map. not quite as intuitive as the USFS map....https://blm-egis.maps.arcgis.com/apps/w ... 20eddd7550

All I really see with a few minute peek is the Cimarron grasslands in SW Kansas. Everything else is just small BLM land that you could maybe do 30 laps around to get to 30 miles. There may be some private access, not sure how to look for it?? I know my grandparents in Iowa all you had to do is stop by the farm house, have a cup of coffee with them and listen to my grandpa for about 15 minutes. I'm sure today is much different....
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Tornadoman
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Re: Kansas Backpacking

Post by Tornadoman » Fri Nov 27, 2020 10:22 am

The Elk River Trail for sure! I never did the entirety of it, but it's 15 miles one way (so 30 miles RT if you went the whole way out and back). It's in an open forest, so a fair amount of shade, some ups and downs/rocky. I noticed several places that would have been find to set up a tent, although I was never looking for that. One note- the area does have a lot of snakes, including the venomous copperhead. I love snakes and this didn't bother me at all, but just something to let you know of as I know not everyone feels the same. *Edited to add external link for some more information.

https://www.travelks.com/blog/post/elk-river-trail/
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Re: Kansas Backpacking

Post by Trotter » Fri Nov 27, 2020 10:37 am

Flint hills has a 100 mile trail. I've never hiked it specifically, but the flint hills are a pretty area of kansas
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RckyMntnHgh
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Re: Kansas Backpacking

Post by RckyMntnHgh » Fri Nov 27, 2020 10:38 am

Possibly consider Clinton Lake trails - north shore and south shore combination with camping available -
https://usace.contentdm.oclc.org/digita ... 5/download
While you are in that area, the levee trail on the north side of Lawrence (Rock Chalk) provides solitude after you get out a mile or two from town ... with several trail options off the paved system.
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Re: Kansas Backpacking

Post by nunns » Fri Nov 27, 2020 3:37 pm

Tornadoman wrote:
Fri Nov 27, 2020 10:22 am
The Elk River Trail for sure! I never did the entirety of it, but it's 15 miles one way (so 30 miles RT if you went the whole way out and back). It's in an open forest, so a fair amount of shade, some ups and downs/rocky. I noticed several places that would have been find to set up a tent, although I was never looking for that. One note- the area does have a lot of snakes, including the venomous copperhead. I love snakes and this didn't bother me at all, but just something to let you know of as I know not everyone feels the same. *Edited to add external link for some more information.

https://www.travelks.com/blog/post/elk-river-trail/
There is a really nice trail in Independence KS (just west of the KS-MO state line near Joplin MO). I ran an out and back 50K there about 15 years ago. I am sorry but I don't remember the name.

Sean Nunn
"Thy righteousness is like the great mountains." --Psalms 36:6
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Tornadoman
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Re: Kansas Backpacking

Post by Tornadoman » Fri Nov 27, 2020 4:38 pm

nunns wrote:
Fri Nov 27, 2020 3:37 pm
Tornadoman wrote:
Fri Nov 27, 2020 10:22 am
The Elk River Trail for sure! I never did the entirety of it, but it's 15 miles one way (so 30 miles RT if you went the whole way out and back). It's in an open forest, so a fair amount of shade, some ups and downs/rocky. I noticed several places that would have been find to set up a tent, although I was never looking for that. One note- the area does have a lot of snakes, including the venomous copperhead. I love snakes and this didn't bother me at all, but just something to let you know of as I know not everyone feels the same. *Edited to add external link for some more information.

https://www.travelks.com/blog/post/elk-river-trail/
There is a really nice trail in Independence KS (just west of the KS-MO state line near Joplin MO). I ran an out and back 50K there about 15 years ago. I am sorry but I don't remember the name.

Sean Nunn
I am almost certain your race was on the Elk River Trail, everything seems to fit. I know that there are occasional races there, its in the Independence area, and an out and back would be about 50k.
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invisiblebear
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Re: Kansas Backpacking

Post by invisiblebear » Fri Nov 27, 2020 5:03 pm

The Elk River Trail would be nice in Spring and there are a lot of excellent primitive campsites to choose from. The trail is mostly on higher ground through rocky bluffs away from the lakeshore and river. At the East terminus there is a water spigot and there are a few intermittent streams along the trail for water.
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Re: Kansas Backpacking

Post by wineguy » Fri Nov 27, 2020 5:03 pm

+1 on the Elk River Trail. I've day-hiked it from both ends but haven't done the middle section. Far and away my favorite trail in KS. The east end is definitely more interesting, lots of up and down, great views of the reservoir. My GPS said 1000' vertical last time I hiked the east end.
"Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world's great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of the rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs. I am haunted by waters." - Norman Maclean
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Re: Kansas Backpacking

Post by nunns » Sat Nov 28, 2020 10:23 am

Tornadoman wrote:
Fri Nov 27, 2020 4:38 pm
nunns wrote:
Fri Nov 27, 2020 3:37 pm
Tornadoman wrote:
Fri Nov 27, 2020 10:22 am
The Elk River Trail for sure! I never did the entirety of it, but it's 15 miles one way (so 30 miles RT if you went the whole way out and back). It's in an open forest, so a fair amount of shade, some ups and downs/rocky. I noticed several places that would have been find to set up a tent, although I was never looking for that. One note- the area does have a lot of snakes, including the venomous copperhead. I love snakes and this didn't bother me at all, but just something to let you know of as I know not everyone feels the same. *Edited to add external link for some more information.

https://www.travelks.com/blog/post/elk-river-trail/
There is a really nice trail in Independence KS (just west of the KS-MO state line near Joplin MO). I ran an out and back 50K there about 15 years ago. I am sorry but I don't remember the name.

Sean Nunn
I am almost certain your race was on the Elk River Trail, everything seems to fit. I know that there are occasional races there, its in the Independence area, and an out and back would be about 50k.
Yep, I am pretty sure you are right now that I looked it up. I wish I could remember the name of that race.

Sean Nunn
"Thy righteousness is like the great mountains." --Psalms 36:6
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Conor
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Re: Kansas Backpacking

Post by Conor » Sat Nov 28, 2020 10:45 am

following up on more resources for trails in Kansas...there is a lot more than I thought!

https://www.getoutdoorskansas.org/
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