• Angie Kunze

Fancy Creek Hiking Trail, Randolph Kansas: nature's beauty in the Flint Hills of Kansas

Updated: Jul 12

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.

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.

Tuttle Creek Lake State Park, Fancy Creek State Park, Randolph, Riley County Kansas, mile long bridge, Randolph Bridge, the longest bridge in 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!

Trail signs, Fancy Creek Trail, Fancy Creek Park, Tuttle Creek Lake Park, Randolph, Riley County Kansas

There is plenty of tree cover on this trail to shade you from the sun.

Fancy Creek hiking trail near Randolph Kansas
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.

Mile long bridge, Randolph Bridge, Tuttle Creek Lake, Randolph, Riley County Kansas, longest bridge in Kansas.

The trail also takes you over the road leading down to Tuttle Creek Lake (this is a good opportunity to find bathrooms!)

As with most things in life, hikes are most enjoyable with friends.

Angie Kunze, Travel blogger, creative photographer, Toto, We're Not in Kansas Anymore


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.

Kansas noxious weed identification: Musk Thistle Carduus nutans, Randolph, Riley County Kansas
Musk Thistle

The following are all pictures that I have taken on this trail, at various times of the year. I think it's a bit like a treasure hunt, you never know what you are going to find out there!

Kansas Wildflower identification: Musk Thistle, Purple Prairie Clover, wild petuniaPlains Prickly Pear
Top L: Musk Thistle, Top R: Purple Prairie Clover, Bottom L: wild petunia, Bottom R: Plains Prickly Pear

Kansas wild flower identification: Plains Prickly Pear, Fourvalve Mimosa , Plains Prickly Pear
L: Plains Prickly Pear, Top R: Fourvalve Mimosa, Bottom R: Plains Prickly Pear

Kansas nature observations: mushrooms, birds nest, leadplant (wildflower)
Mushrooms, bird nests and leadplant, oh my!

Giant Blue Sage, American Asters, Fragrant Sumac Fancy Creek Hiking Trail, Randolph Kansas
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:

  • Trail type: 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.

  • Trail length: 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 this map of Fancy Creek Trail from alltrails.com.

  • Bathrooms: 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 out 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.

  • Safety: 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 hiking options: 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.

Now.....who's up for a hike!?

Worked up an appetite on the trail, and looking for somewhere to eat in Randolph?

Emerald City Grill and BBQ, just down the road, is "A unique scratch-made kitchen and family restaurant in small town America. Offering an assortment of classic diner food & the best BBQ in the Midwest. Serving breakfast, lunch and dinner."

Emerald City Grill and BBQ, Randolph Kansas

plant identification:

I'm no expert on plant identification, but I do have a great resource for identifying them. I upload my photos to inaturalist.org, and those who know, identify them for me!

Other fun things go do in the area: click the title to open the post

Home on the Range in Kansas, at Plumlee Buffalo Ranch

photos from Plumlee Ranch:

I'm off to see the Wizard, in Wamego Kansas, because sometimes, there really is no place like home!

photos from Wamego Kansas:

All things Oz...The Oz Museum, Wamego Kansas

Photos from the Oz Museum:

Wamego City Park, Wamego Kansas

photos of City Park in Wamego:

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Angie Kunze, Creative Photographer, Travel Blogger, Toto, We're Not in Kansas Anymore

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