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.
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!
There is plenty of tree cover on this trail to shade you from the sun.
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.
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.
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. I think it's a bit like a treasure hunt, you never know what you are going to find out there!
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
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
photos from Plumlee Ranch:
photos from Wamego Kansas:
Photos from the Oz Museum:
photos of City Park in Wamego: