• Angie Kunze

Lawrence River Hiking (and biking) Trails in Kansas: a guide for hikers

The Lawrence River Trail is maintained by the Lawrence Mountain Bike Club.

It's an 8.75 mile extremely well maintained, mostly shaded trail that follows along the Kansas River in Lawrence Kansas. (alltrails.com has it listed as Kansas River Trail.) This is a very nice trail, that has been well planned out, constructed, and maintained.



Lawrence Riverfront Park Mountain Bike and hiking trail


Trail Length

At 8.75 miles for the entire loop, the trail is a bit on the longer side, but it is mostly flat so not too bad. Unfortunately, the inclines that are on the trail are mostly at the end of the hike, but you're nearly there so just push through it!


IMPORTANT: Direction of travel on the Lawrence River Trail/Kansas River Trail

You will likely meet bikes on this trail, LOTS of bikes, but serious props go out to the Lawrence Mountain Bike Club for an extremely well planned out one-way loop trail design that makes it possible for hikers and bikers alike to enjoy the same trail. If you have ever been on a trail shared by hikers and bikers, you may be familiar with the frustrations that can ensue. With great forethought, they have arranged the direction of this trail so that hikers and bikers are meeting each other head on. So instead of running the risk of being run over from behind by a stealthy rider on a fast-moving bike, you'll be approached from the front instead. Be sure to enter the trail marked "hikers."


FYI: The sign at the beginning of the trail does state that bikers should yield to hikers. However, I did not relish the idea of finding myself on the losing end of a game of chicken with a fast-moving mountain bike. Just step to side and let them pass.



navigating the trail

The trail is extremely well marked, with plenty of signs throughout the hike. While on the trail, I was able to pull it up on google maps (which I personally thought was more accurate than the map on the alltrails app.) There are also scannable QR codes located throughout the hike that allow you to access the bike club's trail map.


trail signs Lawrence River Trail, Kansas River Trail hiking and biking trail, Lawrence Kansas
LOTS of signs on this trail. It would be difficult to get lost but if in doubt you should be able to pull up a map.

The trail in photos:

Lawrence Kansas River biking and hiking trail

Hiking Trail in Lawrence Kansas, River Trail

wildflowers Lawrence River Trail, Kansas River Trail hiking and biking, Lawrence Kansas. wild blue phlox and star-of-Bethlehem bloom time early May
wildflowers on the trail found blooming in early May. (wild blue phlox and star-of-Bethlehem)


Wildlife on the Lawrence Kansas River biking and hiking trail, small deer
a cute little deer on the trail, photo credit: Tabatha Neubert


Lawrence Kansas River Trail


Lawrence Kansas River Trail
don't forget to look up!

Kansas River, Lawrence Kansas as seen from the Lawrence River Hiking and Biking trail
at the midway/turn around point you'll get great views of the Kansas River

trail hiking traffic

Although we met lots of bikers, we only saw maybe two other hikers during the 3-4 hours we spent on the trail, and they were running so lapped us pretty quickly. I assume that this is due to the one-way direction of the hiking trail, and possibly because we started out fairly early in the morning. (10:00 am on an almost perfect weather-wise Saturday morning)


additional hiking options:

Sugar Loop is an add on loop located a little less than half-way through the hike. It adds another 1.7 miles to your hike total. It can also be reached from the Levee trail. We didn't make it onto this trail this time around so I can't provide any further information at this time.


The Kansas River Levee trail also has an access point/trail head at this parking area.


Location:

The park entrance and parking lot are just off 8th & Oak streets in North Lawrence.


restrooms

Nope. Best use the port-a-potty at the parking area entrance before you set out. If you're a squatter (female, to take a tinkle) you may find it difficult to find a place to do so. While the trail is well maintained, just off the trail is pretty weedy. If you don't mind getting off into the tall weeds and grass you MIGHT find an opportunity between bike traffic.


dogs

yes! must be leashed and for their safety it would be best to adhere to this particular rule. Those bikes can come around a bend quite fast.


safety

Due to the near constant bike traffic, as a female, I would feel safe hiking this trail alone.



The Lawrence River Trails are a great way to spend a few hours and you should be able to hike it almost any time of the year. A special thank you to Lawrence Mountain Bike Club for keeping this trail so well maintained and allowing us to hike your bike trail! Now get out there and get moving!


other hikes around Kansas:


Fancy Creek Hiking Trail, Randolph Kansas: Nature's Beauty in the Flint Hills of Kansas



Want to hear more about my travels around Kansas and the rest of our amazing planet? Be sure to submit your email address to my subscriber sign up at the end of the page and be the first to know when a new blog publishes!


Angie Kunze, blogger, writer, photographer



15 views0 comments
BeFunky-design (11).jpg
Toto We're Not in Kansas Anymore Blog logo by Angie Kunze
©Copyrighted by Angie Kunze