Bicycling – Public Biking and Hiking Trails in the Greater Kansas City Region, No Excuses

In the KC-Metro region, bike trails have been developed along the tributary valleys joining the two large rivers here, the Kansas and the Missouri. Additionally, for the benefit of cross-country and local bicyclists, two new bike lanes have been installed over two busy Missouri-River road bridges: the Mid-America, which connects North Kansas City directly to the KC downtown, and the Chouteau, two-miles further east from there. Furthermore, a MetroGreen Plan will build and connect 1400 miles of trails in this region.

Here is a list of popular bike/hike trails in the KC-Metro and its suburban regions.

On the Kansas side of the border

Indian Creek Trail (20-miles, paved). It is part of the Johnson County Streamway Trails project. It tuns from 159th Street & Ridgeview Road northeastward through Olathe, Overland Park, Corporate Woods, and Leawood plus a mile or so into KCMO.

Gary L Haller Trail aka Mill Creek Streamway (17.5-miles, paved). Runs from Nelson Island in the Kansas River southward through Lenexa to Olathe, KS. Follows the Mill Creek Valley. Has trailhead facilities and picnic shelters and an intertwining horseback pathway. Users can also connect to the Indian Creek Trail further east via roadways. Note: I ride this round trip often.

Tomahawk Creek Greenway (15-miles, paved). Connects to the Indian Creek Trail in Leawood, and runs southwestward toward Olathe via park greenery from there.

Wyandotte Lake Park (9-miles, dirt, horse/mountain-bike). Surrounds a 400-acre lake near KCKS.

Kill Creek Park (6-miles, mixed). This fairly new park is located toward the western end of the metro region near De Soto.

Shawnee Mission Park (4-miles, paved). Runs through and borders this 150-acre park in Shawnee.

Turkey Creek (4-miles, paved). Follows Turkey Creek and I-35 from 75th Street northeastward through Merriam. It is gradually being extended toward downtown KCMO for a commuter corridor.

Antioch Park (short multi-use pathways). This 44-acre public park is in the Merriam/Mission suburb.

Jersey Creek Trail (2-miles, paved). Runs east/west through the parks in KCKS. Its east-end is a few blocks from the west-end of the east/west MO-KS Riverfront Heritage Trail, shown below.

On the Missouri side of the border

Smithville Lake Trail (23-miles, paved). Borders the lakeshore together with an intertwining single-lane mountain bike trail. Expansions are planned.

Little Blue Trace (15-miles, limestone). Borders the Little Blue River from Blue Mills Road southward to Lee’s Summit Road just east of Independence.

Landahl Park Reserve (15-miles, mountain biking). 1400-acres located two-miles east of Hwy-7 on Truman Road.

Riverfront Heritage Trail (10-miles, paved). Borders the Missouri River together with some service roadway between KCMO-KCKS. It also runs under a lengthy viaduck over the west bottoms which crosses the Kansas River into KCKS.

Blue River Parkway (10-miles, dirt/gravel, mountain bike). Borders both sides of the Blue River). From Red Bridge Road southward to 139th Street in Martin City.

Cliff Drive (6.5-miles, paved road). Runs through the wooded Kessler Park overlooking the south-side Missouri River bluffs. Is car-free on most weekends.

Trolley Track Trail (6-miles, paved) Runs over the old country-club streetcar line linking Westport, Country Club Plaza, Brookside, and Waldo in south KC.

Longview Lake (6-miles, paved). Borders the west side of the lake plus an extra roadway loop if desired.

Downtown Airport Loop (6-miles, paved road). Flat road circles the downtown airport in North Kansas City.

Adams Dairy Parkway (6-miles, mixed). Runs north-south from Roanoke Drive to Wyatt Road in Blue Springs.

Lakewood Loop (5-miles). Circles the Lakewood Lakes near Lee’s Summit.

Legacy Park Trail (5-miles, paved). Borders this park near Lee’s Summit. Note: the metro region has many small parks with trails like this one.

Swope Park Trail (5-miles, mountain bike). Runs across a hillside in this large south KC park.

Prairie Creek Greenway (4-miles, paved) Runs through a 120-acre greenway just south of Platte City.

English Landing Park (3-mile, paved). Borders the Missouri River in Parkville.

Missouri Riverfront Trail (3-miles, paved). Borders the Missouri River near Riverside. Will be 11-miles long when completed.

Line Creek Park (2-miles). Is in a park north of Riverside. It is being extended 2-miles southward where it will connect to another trail.

83rd Street Bike Lane (2-miles, road lane). A lane added to a wide road in Raytown. Note: the entire region has many road lanes like this one, many of them longer.

Pleasant Hill Trail (2-miles, mixed). From downtown Pleasant Hill to the Rock Island Trail which is being built toward the Missouri Katy Trail at Windsor.

South Platte Pass (2-miles, paved). Runs from Parkville eastward along Hwy-45, both sides.

Loose Park (paved trail runs through this famous rose-garden park at 51st and Wornall Road, KC).

Downtown Kansas City (several designated paved roads and self-service bicycle rental/sharing stations).

Conclusion. Even though budgeting is an issue for developing urban and off-road trails, the Kansas City Metro Region, which is a top-50 bike-friendly region, has built hundreds of street lanes and park trails over the past decade or longer. Once its main trails are interconnected, this region will become super bike-friendly with lengthy ride-to-work and recreational trails. For information on the trails in your region or this one, see these websites.