Elk River Hiking Trail

MODERATE 53 reviews
#1 of 3 trails in

Elk River Hiking Trail is a 11.4 mile moderately trafficked point-to-point trail located near Elk City, Kansas 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 1374 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 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.

hiking
11 minutes ago

backpacking
3 days ago

This is hands down my favorite trail in Kansas. Lots of great inclines, flats. Water sources for filtration are readily accessible. Trail is very secluded.
Many different sections to hike if you arent up to the full 15.+ mile trail.
Would rate more stars if I could.

hiking
7 days ago

7 days ago

hiking
13 days ago

hiking
19 days ago

Due to time constraints, we were only able to do a 5 mile round trip hike.
It was a warm day in February, so it was a perfect time to go.
brush was still dormant, and no bugs.
There was a little water at the crossings. It was quiet. We are the only ones there.
Our pup really enjoyed it. I would Donnelly come back to hike and wild like to check out the primitive camping.

hiking
21 days ago

This trail is actually 15 miles long on way. Took us 6.5 hours. Trail is well marked in blue paint. No bugs or ivy since its February but of course there will be during the summer months, its nature! We love this trail.

backpacking
1 month ago

Beautiful, rugged and superbly maintained and well marked trail. Abundant water. Countless primitive camp locations. Old growth hardwoods and pine, cedars. Clear water streams. Wildlife viewers paradise. Hiked from west trailhead to east camped around 8mile marker. Returning later to do east trailhead to west. Drove 3hrs to get here...but would have been happy to drive 6hrs, cause its that awesome.

backpacking
2 months ago

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.

hiking
3 months 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.

3 months ago

sweeeeeeeeet

backpacking
3 months 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
3 months 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
4 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
4 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
4 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
4 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
4 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
5 months ago

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