Sunday, February 12, 2012

Gorgeous Kansas Terrain - Viewed Via The Bike Trails

English: Enjoying in Papuk riding bikeImage via Wikipedia
By Patricia J Walker

While Kansas is generally thought of as a large flat state, there are some areas around the perimeter of the state that do offer a little more variety of terrain, and these are the perfect locations for some great biking trails. Since many of these trails are also located near the state's border, they are a great draw for bikers in nearby states who want to check out the trails in Kansas. Consider visiting some of these trails for bikers from beginners to intermediate and advanced riders.

Many of the trails in Wilderness Park began as fire roads from a nearby coal mine by Pittsburg, Kansas-now abandoned. Most of this park is thick forest with a few lakes, making for some gorgeous scenic views. Trails range in difficulty with many of the more technical trails being somewhat out of the way and not very well-marked, but this does make the perfect place to go exploring. Choose from routes with flat terrain or rocky, hilly areas with lots of twists, turns, and rocks to navigate.

Jackson Park near Atchison has some fairly new trails with new stuff being added all the time. You can maps in town. These will help since not all the trails are well-marked. There are gravel sections, log climbs, and other technical things to make for an interesting ride. On top of that, the park itself is gorgeous! This area has a lot of potential.

Camp Horizon near Arkansas City is a network of trails overlooking the Arkansas River. There are some steep, technical climbs; very fast descents; rocky sections to navigate; drops; ramps; and much, much more! These trails are best suited for intermediate to advanced riders. Be sure to bring bug spray because the mosquitoes can be brutal!

Nine miles of fairly flat terrain at the River Trail will make speed demons ecstatic. Near Lawrence, this route is well ridden by lots of bikers, so stay alert for others, and plan to enjoy a few switchbacks, small climbs, and muddy spots thrown in for variety and good measure. If you choose not to go the complete 9-mile route, there are bail out areas along the way, as well.

Did you know that Perry State Park includes 15 miles of fantastic new biking trails-many of which overlook Lake Perry itself? Not many people do-yet! But this new area is sure to gain popularity rapidly with mounting biking fans. These trails weave through the forest and offer lots of exciting challenges-like roller coaster hills, tons of rocks, twists and turns, bone-chilling descents, and even creek crossings. With such an offering, these trails are made even more attractive by the fact that they are marked as to the difficulty and experience level riders should have before tackling each section and a great map to help you select the best route for you.

For another extreme biking adventure, head over to Manhattan to the Tuttle Spillway Cycle Area. This trail-set up originally for ATVs and motorcycles-is one of the best in Kansas and will give you a ride you'll never forget. Lots of steep drops will have you catching lots of air and loving every minute of it. Watch out for other trail users, though!

Try to avoid riding trails when the weather is wet and trails are muddy. Many of these trails can easily deteriorate, as they will erode if navigated while wet and muddy. Stay safe and safeguard the trails so you and other visitors can enjoy these trails for years to come!

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