It’s National Take a Hike Day, and you finally have an excuse to tell all your friends to “Take a hike!” (in the most loving way possible of course). All jokes aside, hiking is an excellent way to stay healthy, explore the area around you and have fun by yourself or with your family for very little money, or for free. What’s better than that? There are a lot of great trails right here in Kansas and Nebraska, so we’ve compiled a list of ten of them, ranging in length and difficulty.
Not seeing a trail that you’d like to explore? Looking for one that’s a bit closer to home? Check out hiking site, All Trails. There you can search for trails by location, and then filter based on your own personal criteria.
This kid friendly walk is a great one to take the whole family on. You’ll see prairie, river, wild flowers and wild life as well. If you decide to hike the Konza Godwin Hill Loop, or any of the trails on the Konza, be aware that this is a research area, so there are a couple rules. 1) Stay on the trails; 2) No pets; 3) Trails close between sunset and sunrise. Other than that, have fun!
This is another kid friendly hike that’s perfect for introducing your children to the activity. In addition to hiking, this trail allows camping, fishing, mountain biking, birding, trail running and horseback riding. There’s something for everyone, and it’s a perfect setting to spark interest in new outdoor activities.
While dogs aren’t allowed, kids definitely are! The Fontanelle Forest Trails contain multiple trails that span over 20 miles. The area includes a nature center, gift shop, picnic facilities and multiple children’s camps. Keep in mind that it does cost $10 per day, however you can also opt for a $45 yearly pass.
Wilderness Park Trails contains multiple trails, and while it’s rated as being slightly more difficult in some areas than the previously mentioned trails, it’s still kid friendly. Each trail is best suited to a certain activity, including hiking, trail running, snowshoeing, cross country skiing, horseback riding, biking and birding.
This trail is kid friendly and loops by the Clinton Lake. It also includes various rock formations and wild life, and is available to visitors for hiking, mountain biking, trail running and birding. Be aware that there is a $5 parking fee, so make sure to have some cash on hand before you go.
The Cedar Crest Trail also connects to multiple other trails and features scenic glimpses of forest, lake and wild flower areas. Available activities include hiking, mountain biking and trail running. Because it connects to so many different trails, trail demarcation can get confusing at times, so snap a photo of the map at the beginning to avoid getting turned around.
This kid friendly, enjoyable hike also permits camping, should you wish to do so. While walking through, you’ll see multiple terrains including river area, a lake and forest lands. Watch out for bugs on this one, as this appears to be a particularly bug-heavy area. Definitely bring your bug spray!
The Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve Trail is great for anyone who wants to go hiking, birding or trail running. It also connects to additional other trails, one of which takes a scenic route by some old historical buildings. November is the perfect time to walk this one as there is limited shade available throughout the trail.
Rated as one of the more strenuous hikes on this list, it might be best to limit it to the older kids in your family. This hike features a variety of sights including forests, a lake, river, waterfall, various rock formations and wildlife. Some areas can flood depending on the season, so plan accordingly.
This lightly traveled loop is ideal for mountain biking, but also makes for great hiking. You’ll see some beautiful forests and wild flowers while you’re there, but be careful as some areas can be overgrown in spots and there are a lot of spider webs to watch out for!
Hopefully this post has inspired you to get out there and explore all the wonderful trails Kansas and Nebraska have to offer. And if it’s a little bit cold out for your tastes? Just keep this list in mind for next spring and summer. After all, National Trails Day is June 3. In the meantime, there’s a ton of hiking you can do in between!