Prairie Spirit Trail

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Prairie Spirit TrailThe Prairie Spirit Trail offers biking and hiking enthusiasts, runners, bird watchers and nature lovers a new Kansas outdoor adventure. From Ottawa to Iola, the Prairie Spirit Trail encompasses 50 miles of trail.

The Rail-Trail was constructed as one of the first north-south rail lines in Kansas in the early 1860’s. The line ran from Leavenworth, Kansas, to Galveston, Texas. The right-of-way has been railbanked under the National Trails System Act. Railbanking is a voluntary agreement between a railroad company and a privateor governmental entity to use an out-of-service rail line as a trail or “linear park.” The Prairie Spirit Rail Trail is one of three major railbanked corridors in Kansas and the only corridor managed by the State of Kansas.

The trail meanders through golden prairies, quiet woodlands, beautiful lakeside scenery, and travels through charmingly inviting communities. The trail is operated under the management of the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks.

The trail is hard-packed surface created by mixing calcium chloride with limestone screenings. Inside the city limits of Garnett and Ottawa, the surface is asphalt and is adorned with native landscaping and ornamental lighting. The trail is approximately 10 feet wide including the trail shoulders, and trail grades are very moderate since it is build upon a railway bed. There are some areas with steep slopes off the trail and care should be taken not to travel off the improved surface.

The trail is designed for non-motorized transportation, and the only motorized vehicles allowed on the trail (other than motorized wheelchairs) are for law enforcement, medical emergencies and maintenance. The trail is routinely patrolled by the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks and other local law enforcement agencies.

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