Elk City State Park is located in Montgomery County, approximately 5 miles northwest of Independence, Kansas. The State Park was leased from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 1967 and the lease area involved 1,127 acres for the period of 25 years, for Public Park and recreational purposes. The Elk City project maintains approximately 4,500 water acres at normal flood pool. The lease has since been amended and presently the lease agreement is for 857 acres.
You would never think you are in Kansas. This is a awesome trail. We started at the state park side this is the most aggressive part I would say miles 1-4 are the toughest but also very scenic. Day 1 we made it to the 12 mile marker we then back tracked a couple miles to a water source to filter some bottles. Day 2 we hiked out from the about 10 1/2 to the parking lot. We averaged about 1 1/2 to 2 miles a hour. If you are planning to filter water it is very limited from about 1 to 7 keep plenty on you and filter any time you came. It is a very cool trail but can be taxing. We saw deer, coyote, snakes pheasant many birds. I highly recommend pants not shorts.
Started at the east trailhead and hiked in about 4 miles and then back to around the 2.5 mile mark where there is a nice camping spot with a bench overlooking the lake. Camped one night and then hiked out the next morning. Great trail with very unique terrain for Kansas. Excellent trail markings. Poison ivy everywhere - would not recommend wearing shorts. Did not find any water (other than the lake) for filtering in the first 4 miles, however I had made a water drop down an access road around mile 3 - worked great, but the road was very rough (would recommend 4x4). Take bug spray! Mosquito swarms close to the lake.
Our hike got cut short due to high water on 6/6/15, however, the tall grass at the beginning of the trail had been recently cut so we had no problems with ticks (plus being prepared). Last time here in 2012 (no GPS then) the grass was tall and didn't realize the ticks until we got back to the car.
I hiked /backpacked the whole 15 miles over labor day weekend 2016.There are several tent and hammock friendly camp sites along the way. Fresh water is only accessible at a few creek crossings..I would not suggest the lake water. The ledges and rocks are the highlight of the trail..would probably be best hiking in fall or spring...over all a good experience.
Overgrown with grass. Is not maintained. Left covered in seed ticks after having to walk through all the overgrown grass. There was also poison ivy all over the trail and right in the path you had to walk on. I will not be going back. I am miserable from all the tick bites.
So......this is a beautiful place, but be forewarned that they are not maintained trails. You must walk through very tall grass, with lots of poison ivy and other things to get into the pretty part of the trail. I would definitely come prepared with long pants and shirts, lots of bug spray, and poison ivy soap. We will be back when we are more prepared, but could t even make it in 10 minutes before we turned around. Definitely learned a lesson!!!
Just completed the full trail.
Thru hike with some incredible views for the first 4 miles. After that it is pretty heavily wooded until you reach the river, in which there isn't much to see.
I brought a water purifier and a 3l camelback. I'm glad I did because the lack of easily accessible fresh water sources was amazing. Throughout the entire 15 miles I came across 6 adequate water resupply creeks.
500ml of water every 2 miles in 100 degree heat was not enough and I was very dehydrated.
With that being said this is an excellent double digit trail that is easily marked. the 9.5 break where there is an entry point is sort of confusing. I'll be back. Next time with more water and probably in the winter!
What a great trail. We hiked the 15 miles west to east over two days. Terrain had a surprise waiting around every corner. Tons of wildlife along the way. It was May, so there were tons of wildflowers everywhere too.
Good camping spot near a water source at mile 7. If you don't want to lug water in your pack, bring a filter. There were springs all along the way. Or, leave yourself refills where the county roads intersect the trail (one spot near mile 9.5 and another around mile 3.5).
Definitely deserves its "rugged" rating, but you get a sense that whenever the trail takes yet another unexpected turn, it's because it has something cool to show you. I'll be back for sure.
Really enjoyed this rocky but scenic hike between the two trail heads on the day of the Flat Rock 101K event. We thought it would be fun to go all the way to the 15 mile endpoint to see what the runners had to endure, so we decided to cut thru on the way back via the county roads in order to get back quicker to the starting point near the dam. We essentially made it a 22 mile loop (approx 1.5 mile backtrack and then 5+ miles via the more direct county roads) - a VERY long 14 mile second day, but glad we did it that way. We camped first night around the 8 miles mark, but another good camp spot was at approx 7 mile mark. Found plenty of good stream water sources throughout, so didn't feel we needed to pack all our water in.