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The Top 8 Trails In Kansas City

National Trails Day is a holiday happening this Saturday that is sure to bring together KC's outdoor enthusiasts for a celebration of outdoor enthusiasm.

Chris Prewitt, KCUR's resident trail expert, adventurer & systems administrator, put together a Top 8 list (ranked in order of distance) for those trying to decide which trails to hike, bike, 'blade or blaze for the holiday. Click on the links for more information.

  1. Loose Park Trails
    Location: 51st & Main, KCMO
    Length: 2 trails each less than 2 miles
    Best for: City lovers, casual walkers & joggers, dog walkers

    There are two different loops around the 75-acre Loose Park. Both loops are paved trails less than 2 miles long that will take you past playgrounds, tennis courts, the lake, rose garden and historical structures. There is a lot to see along these, and they are heavily used.
  2. Cave Spring Trails
    Location: 8701 E. Gregory, KCMO
    Length: 3 loops: .25-.5 miles, 1.5 miles & 2-3 miles
    Best For: Kids that like to explore nature and history, people who want a short trip

     These dirt hiking trails are located at the Cave Spring Historic Site & Nature Center. They advertise 3 loops -- but once on the trail it feels like the trails all loop and cross so much you can take a different route each trip. Along the trail you will see remains of old cabins, creeks, ponds and -- of course -- a small cave with a spring in it.
  3. Wyandotte Co. Park Trails
    Location: State Ave. & 126th St., Bonner Springs, Kan.
    Length: 8.9 mile loop or more

    Best For: Trail runners or hikers looking to challenge themselves
    The 1500-acre Wyandotte Co. Park has an 8.85-mile loop circling the park and other trails inside. These are rocky trails with some big hills and water to cross. You may see horses or, twice a year, the Psychodelic 5K Race on the hottest and coldest weekends.
  4. Trolley Track Trail
    Location: Mostly along Wornall & Brookside Blvd., KCMO
    Length: 10 miles
    Best For: City runners with sensitive knees, family bikers

    This gentle-on-the-knees crushed limestone path runs from the Country Club Plaza to Brookside to Waldo. Farther south and east it changes to asphalt. From one end to the other it is more than 10 miles. Popular for walkers, runners, strollers, dogs and bikes.  Before this was a trail, as the name suggests, it was part of a trolley system, but the tracks were removed and this great trail took their place.
  5. Blue River Parkway Trail
    Location: Along the Blue River in south KCMO
    Length: 12+ miles
    Best For: Mountain bikers, horses, trail runners

    Minor Park is the best known trailhead on this 12-plus-mile dirt trail. It is a good location for hikers, runners, bikes, horses and nature lovers.  The trail mostly follows along both sides of the Blue River, but sections of it get into some pretty hilly and rocky terrain.
  6. Indian Creek Bike Trail 
    Location: Overland Park, Olathe, KCMO
    Length: 17 miles in Overland Park & more beyond
    Best For: Families

    This asphalt trail is great for bikes and dogs and stretches from East of Troost at Bannister Road on the Missouri side through Leawood City Park. It connects to the Tomahawk Creek Trail and runs south to 143rd & Pflumm Rd. or West to 159th & Ridgeview Rd. There are many parks and playgrounds along the way.
  7. Katy Trail
    Location: Clinton, Mo. to Portage des Sioux, Mo.
    Length: 237 miles
    Best For: Long-distance runners & bikers

    The Katy trail is a 237-mile crushed limestone path through most of Missouri. Trailgoers appreciate the flat, scenic former train track for running, walking and biking. Many small towns are along the trail, but there are some large stretches with no drinking water, so be sure to bring your own. More than half the trail follows Lewis & Clark's trail, and even more is along the Missouri river.
  8. Ozark Trail
    Location: South-Central, Mo.
    Length: 360 miles
    Best For: Backpackers

    The still-expanding Ozark Trail currently covers more than 360 miles and is expected to go for more. Being in the Ozarks, there are lots of hills and water. The terrain changes along the way and trailgoers can visit various sections at different times. The trail is not yet contiguous and is divided into 13 sections.

What are some of your favorite trails? What are your favorite trail-related activities? Submit your picks in our comments section.

Chris Prewitt is the Director of Technology and Broadcast Operations for KCUR 89.3. Email him at chris@kcur.org.
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