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.
Hiked this the last day of 2016. Two friends and myself that haven't done much hiking in a few years had a blast. For Kansas it's hard to beat, very well marked trail with blue paint. I believe there is enough here for any level of hiker. Highly recommended.
This is a scenic trail with a lot of woods and cool rock formations. This trail is very well marked and has plenty of water filtering possibilities. I've never felt the need to carry more than two quarts on this trail. In a pinch you would never have to go off trail more than half a mile and far less most of the time to reach the lake or river. This trail does have a lot of up and down and in places is rocky. I suggest wearing good boots. I've seen thin soles and lack of ankle support steal a little joy from this trip in the past. Over all this is an excellent trail that would be very difficult to become lost on and has endless places to hang a hammock. Great trail.
Great day of hiking, my girlfriend and I just through hiked this trail 11-05-16. We park a vehicle at both ends and started at the end ( mile 15 ) and made our way to the beginning near the dame. We packed light and managed to make it all the way through in right at 7 hour. The entire trail is very well-marked and great for a long one day or 2 day hike.
Miles 1-3 are definitely the hardest. There's a fare amount of steep hill with loose rock ( easy to twist aankle when the rocks are covered with leaves). Miles 4-15 stay pretty close to the river and are flat and easy hiking for the most part.
Backpacked this trail with a girlfriend recently. Parked one car at the west end and drove to other car to the east end to begin our hike. Hiked 10 miles the first day and had the primitive campground next to a lovely creek all to ourselves. Then hiked the remaining 5 miles the next day. There were plenty of water crossings for filtering water. Trail was VERY well marked. Almost overly marked, but I'm not complaining. The scenery and rock formations were beautiful. We had to constantly remind ourselves we were in Kansas. Walking through some of the big rock formation corridors reminded us of the movie Labyrinth. Very cool.
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.