Where it happened first in Kansas:The Prairie Spirit Trail between Ottawa and Iola running through Garnett
LOCATION OF THE TRAIL
The trail spans across the three Kansas
counties of Allen, Anderson and Franklin and connects the communities of Ottawa,
Scipio, Garnett, Welda, Colony, Carlyle and Iola.
ABOUT THE TRAIL
The 51-mile Prairie Spirit Trail leads the state as the
first and the longest rail-trail in Kansas
providing hundreds of visitors each year a glimpse of Kansas'
natural treasures and best kept secrets. In fact, in July 2010, the trail became Kansas' 25th state park and it got a new name -- Prairie Spirit Rail Trail State Park. The trail, a part of the National Rail Trail
Network, is a multi-use trail designed for hiking and biking; non-motorized use and is
open year round.
The trail's surface is approximately 12-feet wide and
outside the city limits of Garnett, Iola and Ottawa it is composed of a hard-packed
mixture of limestone and calcium chloride. Inside Garnett, Iola and Ottawa the surface of the trail is asphalt. No permits are required inside these city
limits. Trail passes are required for persons 16 years and older who
travel outside these aforementioned city limits.
Photo courtesy Garnett Tourism
PHASES OF CONSTRUCTION
Created in 3 phases, Phase I
to Welda opened to the public on March 30, 1996. Phase 2, Ottawa
to Richmond was completed in the sprint of 1998. Phase 3, Iola to Welda was
opened for public use in the fall of 2008. The trail is managed and
maintained by the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks. Through
agreements with the cities of Iola, Garnett and Ottawa, trail maintenance within city limits are provided by those cities.
WHAT YOU'LL SEE ALONG THE TRAIL
As the seasons change in Kansas, the Prairie
Spirit displays an ongoing change of beautiful scenery. From tall grasses to
towering trees, the countryside shows off a variety of vibrant colors. The Prairie Spirit Trail
is lined with lush wildflowers, such as the famous Kansas
sunflowers which are brilliant in August, May apple, Dutchman breeches, Queen Anne's lace, butterfly milkweed, ox-eye daises, and
Commonly seen along the trail are white-tailed deer, quail,
cottontail rabbits, great horned owls, and a variety of songbirds.
Whether an avid cyclist, a cross country snow skier, or the
casual small town explorer, the Prairie Spirit Trail has
something for everyone. Trail trekkers enjoy venturing over the many bridges which cross ponds, creeks, and the Marias De Cygne River and beside unique barns and other structures. Another feature is the lakeside scenery found on both sides of Garnett -- Crystal Lake to the south and LakeGarnett
to the north. RV camping and picnic areas are readily accessible at these lakes for trail users.
To the casual explorer, the communities along the Prairie
Spirit are home to many
unique shops, eateries, historical sites and cultural
experiences to enjoy. Those staying the
night can find rest at one of many lodging venues including
motels, bed and breakfasts or scenic camping areas.
GEOCACHING! Geocaching is also an entertaining outdoor adventure
opportunity on the Prairie Spirit Trail.
The trail is supported by an active group, the Friends of
the Prairie Spirit Trail.