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.

backpacking
19 days ago

The Elk River Hiking Trail is a very technical trail that runs from Independence, KS to Elk City, KS. It follows the Elk City Lake and the Elk River through some of the most beautiful rock formations in the Midwest. The trail is well marked with blue blazings. The campsites along the trail are ideal and provide some access to Elk City Lake where you can get water to filter. I started at the Independence trailhead but only completed 3.5 miles due to a bum knee. You can also start or end at the Elk City trailhead. The entire trail is 14 miles. The trail and campsites are free for the public to use.

Went on this hike with a friend of mine yesterday. We parked one car at the start and one car at the finish. The hike is 15 miles long and took us 6 hours and 57 minutes. We breaked for lunch (10 mins) and 3 pee breaks. It was a beautiful hike with a lot of incline changes. It definitely resulted in sore muscles (especially calves) today. I was impressed with the scenery (rock walls and formations, tall rock corridors, very old abandoned cars on a hill, tons of deer and wildlife, pretty lake views, a bench with a wind chime in the tree, streams and steep hills to climb). It was easy to forget you were in Kansas. There was only one sketchy part of the trail. It was kind of in a ravine area that was washed out so we ended up just grabbing onto trees and pulling ourselves up the landslide hill. I would recommend sturdy hiking boots/shoes if you’re planning to hike the entire trail. I would do this hike again and definitely recommend it to others.

Great trail. Moderate to easy. Lots of elevation changes and really neat rock formations! Not what you’d expect in Kansas.

Just did a day hike this time - 9 miles in and out from the east trail head. Excellent trail and beautiful weather! Trail was in good shape. There were some branches in the trail and I pushed quite a few to the side. A couple small streams had some moving water - they were dry on my last hike of this trail. Great day!

hiking
2 months ago

backpacking
2 months ago

Backpacked from the east to west trail heads Oct 7-8, 2017.It's a moderate to strenuous hike. We made it to the 10 mile campsite 1st day only to find the stream we'd gotten water from the previous year was completely dry. Be prepared to carry water or cache mid-way 9-10 mil parking. mile 10-15 is a bit more treacherous than 1-10. Beautiful, scenic hike.

Now this is hiking!! We really enjoyed the trails! Quiet, serene, beautiful, well maintained.
We'll be back for sure!

Excellent adventure! We loved the quiet, well marked trails!! Absolutely beautiful hiking path!

backpacking
2 months ago

Great trail, very well marked and maintained. Moderate difficulty, water access if your planning on filtering is spotty. Overall very, very cool trail, forget your in Kansas

backpacking
2 months ago

just got done with this trail, it was 90 degrees and high humidity which made hiking a very muggy experience. we hiked 6.5 miles in on Friday afternoon and found a campsite, it's pretty difficult to find a good rock free site. then Saturday we hiked another 2.5 miles to mile marker 6, then we turned around and hiked the 9 miles back out, very pretty but EXTREMELY Rocky, we were constantly worried about twisting an ankle and there are several sections with VERY VERY steep Rocky climbs and descents

backpacking
5 months ago

I set out from the western most trailhead on 7/6/17. The recent floods have eroded overhangs to collapse, left deep, mucky mud along the lower portions along the trail and caused a small landslide 2 miles in, at the waterfall. I was carrying a 60lb pack, set for a couple days on the trail and planned to hike the full 15 miles of it. However, I underestimated the difficulty. There were VERY sleep inclines and descents. I'm in pretty good shape, work out every day and it took me 4 hours to get two miles in, at the waterfall. The trail was compromised by a landslide and someone had created an alternate crossing. So, I took off my pack to scout the best way to proceed. Standing at the edge of a 20 some foot, steep slope into algae covered rock, I was attacked by wasps and instinctively bolted, leaping in bounds down into the ravine. In the process, my left big toenail was torn from the nail bed and I was forced to go back the way I came. It's an absolutely beautiful trail, but be aware, it's physically demanding, I saw fresh mountain lion scat, bear tracks & on hot days, it's dangerous to over exert yourself. Pack light and know that, there is no outside access until you're about 9 miles in, if you want out. That being said, I will most definitely return, once my foot heals, because it's just an incredible area.

hiking
5 months ago

Beautiful view and peaceful hike. Check for ticks.

Absolutely love this trail, been hiking it for over 10 years