Elk River Hiking Trail

MODERATE 37 reviews
#1 of 4 trails in

Elk River Hiking Trail is a 11.4 mile moderately trafficked point-to-point trail located near Elk City, KS that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

11.4 miles 1377 feet Point to Point

dogs on leash

backpacking

birding

camping

fishing

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

forest

lake

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

bugs

muddy

rocky

scramble

The Elk River Hiking Trail is located on the northwest side of Elk City Lake. The trail is a 15 mile point-to-point trail which can be accessed from two main trailheads. Primitive campsites are located all along the length of the trail. The Elk River Hiking Trail offers panoramic views from the tops of the many limestone bluffs on the northwestern shores of Elk City Lake. The trail crosses several small streams and ravines and winds through narrow canyons and under rock overhangs. The trail has blue trail blazes and mile markers for traveling both directions on the trail.

hiking
1 month ago

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.

1 month ago

sweeeeeeeeet

backpacking
1 month ago

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.

backpacking
1 month ago

Hiked through last weekend with my son and a good friend.I have hiked parts of it other times too it is a great trail well marked good hammock camping spots!

hiking
2 months ago

Fell in love with this trail. One of the best marked trails I have ever been on and very well maintained. Will be returning to this one. Beautiful trail.

hiking
2 months ago

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.

backpacking
2 months ago

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.

hiking
2 months ago

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.

backpacking
2 months ago

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.

backpacking
2 months ago

Good time went over father's day weekend. Had plenty of places to get water.

3 months ago

Good hike! Lots of things to see

backpacking
3 months ago

3 months ago

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.

hiking
3 months ago

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!!!

backpacking
4 months ago

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!

hiking
4 months ago

Great trail took 5 Tornado Alley Young Marines ages 13 - 16 males & females. We all complete the trail west to east all 15 miles in a little under 10 hours.

5 months ago

Even though it was a very warm day, we really enjoyed this trail due to the river view, remoteness, and beautiful trees! If you want solitude this is a great place to go, and the trails are very well marked!

hiking
6 months ago

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.

camping
6 months ago

Very nice trail lots to see with moderate terrain.

hiking
7 months ago

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.