Fancy Creek Trail, just outside of Randolph Kansas, is my favorite local trail. If you like shade, it is one of the best hiking trails in Kansas with tree cover and is accessible almost year round.
Fancy Creek Hiking Trail guide: Let’s talk about the trail!
Fancy Creek trail is located in Fancy Creek State Park, a unit of Tuttle Creek Lake State Park, in Riley County, just outside of Randolph Kansas.
The mile long bridge: looking east, leaving the big town of Randolph, heading toward the big town of Olsburg.
They have recently added these cute signs all along the trail. I haven’t yet figured out what they are about, but I like them! I have walked this trail innumerable times. They recently cut in some new trails and has caused me to find myself a little lost more than once. They have not posted any new maps for the area which is frustration. Be sure to take notice whenever the trail spits off so you don’t end up wandering around aimlessly.
is the trail shaded?
There is plenty of tree cover on this trail to shade you from the sun.
My favorite thing about this trail is the tree cover!
Along the trail, there is a overlook, that looks out over the Randolph Bridge, the longest bridge in Kansas. Locals call it the mile long bridge. Here are a few photos, that I have taken over the years.
bathrooms along the way:
The trail also takes you over the road leading down to Tuttle Creek Lake (this is a good opportunity to find bathrooms!)
video of the trail:
You know, I just can’t seem to capture the actual trail in photos. Follow this link to my Youtube channel, for some video uploads of the Fancy Creek Trail. They aren’t great, but I like to get a feel for a trail before I decide if I want to try it out.
Flora, fauna and all of the pretty stuff
This is one of my favorite pictures, that I have taken, ever. It is a musk thistle, and apparently listed as a noxious weed in Kansas, but look how beautiful! Now maybe it’s the Scottish in me (the thistle is the National flower of Scotland), or maybe it is because, on the surface I am a bit prickly, but either way, I’m kind of partial to it! It is just one of the many things you are likely to find in bloom on the trail.
The following are all pictures that I have taken on this trail, at various times of the year.
Plant identification: I’m no expert on plant identification, but I do have a great online resource for identifying them. I upload my photos to inaturalist.org, and those who know their plants identify them for me! OR simply use your favorite plant identification app.
I think it’s a bit like a treasure hunt, you never know what you are going to find out there!
Top L: Musk Thistle, Top R: Purple Prairie Clover, Bottom L: wild petunia, Bottom R: Plains Prickly Pear
L: Plains Prickly Pear, Top R: Fourvalve Mimosa, Bottom R: Plains Prickly Pear
Mushrooms, bird nests and leadplant, oh my!
Top L: Giant Blue Sage, Top R: (and Bottom R:) American Asters, Bottom L: Fragrant Sumac
top L. wild bergamot
top r: and bottom l: butterfly milkweed
Speaking of treasure hunts, I occasionally run across geocache boxes along this trail. Just call us accidental geocache’ers! (these are two different boxes, how about trying to find them on you own?)
Know before you go, more important information about the trail
This trail is heavily wooded, and gives you a good incline work out. The trees are mostly evergreen, so you will have some shade year round, unless you go midday.
The total length of the loop is 6 miles. If I don’t have time to do the whole trail, I simply walk a ways, and turn around. Here is a descent map of Fancy Creek Trail as well as other area trails, or you might prefer the map of Fancy Creek Trail on alltrails.
Because the trail runs by campgrounds, and the lake, there are bathrooms to be found along the way. They are not exactly on the trail, but if you need them, you should be able to find them.
Watch your step
This trail is good for anyone, but watch your step. Rocks and branches often give way under my feet while going down the inclines. Sometimes I manage to stay on my feet, sometimes I do not.
watch for bikes
This is also a mountain bike trail. No worries, there’s room for everyone, just let them pass and they will be off, and gone, in an instant.
This trail is secluded, and foot traffic can be non existent at times, you may find you have the trail all to yourself. When I go alone, I carry pepper spray.
More area hiking options:
Randolph State Park
There are also trails across the lake, at the Randolph State Park. They are almost 15 miles long, and the parts that I have been on are VERY hilly. In addition to being a hiking trail, the trail in the Randolph SP is also an equestrian trail. More info here, a map is included. One of these days I plan to explore them a bit more.
There you have it, the Fancy Creek Hiking Trail guide. Now…..who’s up for a hike!?
Other fun things go do in the area:
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