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.

Great trail, went out for a short day hike today and it didn't disappoint. Beautiful bluffs over looking the lake, lot's of ups and downs. I look forward to completing the whole trail.

fun trail. some parts were a little steep but manageable nothing to bad . was a very well maintained path .

Great first hike at Elk City. My boys and I ages 12, 9 and 7 took 33 minutes to complete.

hiking
17 days ago

This trail is awesome, and not just for the area. It has enough challenging elements to keep it from being boring. The trail crosses a main road, if you want to skip the really challenging parts then just turn around there. If you are looking for an adventure cross the road and party on. I have athletic dogs built for trails and they had a blast. Wouldn't recommend older dogs or dogs that can't jump anymore to do the highest point of the trail across the road. We had to go off leash to naviagte some parts safely so a definite no if your dog has poor recall or has not been trained in recall.

Enjoyed this trail with my 4 year old daughter. Not hard but beautiful and fun to hike.

Really a beautiful trail. Lots of sights that you won't find commonly in Kansas. Some rock climbs here and there added to the fun and brought the challenge level up a bit. Picked up a few ticks, but not that big of an issue. Only real complaint is the cow crap. It's all over the trail and in some parts is hard to avoid.

I've been hiking/backpacking on this Trail for years, it was the first Trail my kids backpacked on when they were little. Hiked it from end to end today with a couple of friends, and it didn't disappoint. Wildlife sightings, beautiful views, mostly shaded. Sturdy boots highly recommended, and plenty of water is a must. (Don't depend on water sources along the trail.) Trail is very clearly marked!

This was my first moderate trail and I loved it. Never got boring and beautiful scenery. I will definatley be back!

backpacking
2 months ago

Very cool trail. More technical/steep rocks sections than expected. Lots of creek crossings. Many turtles spotted on the trail. The trail is well marked with blue paint and metal sign mile markers on trees. When we decided not to go further we went up the hillside and there was plenty of flat shady area to set up camp. Try not to go right after any kind of rain if you’re not prepared for lots of mud. If your intent is to swim at any point you should start at the end point because the river water is stagnant dirty water.

hiking
3 months ago

Easily One of the best trails in the area. Enough rocks and rough to terrain to stay entertained but not so much that family can’t come along. Good views. Fun afternoon!

hiking
3 months ago

This was my first "moderate" trail and it was so much fun! Gorgeous views and trail was well-marked.

Great trail. It definitely didn't seem like Kansas. My daughter and I spent two nights on the trail. Hiking poles and good boots are needed.

My friend was on the Elk city trails and had put his Glock 30S 45Cal. down on a rock last night,4-30-18. If anyone finds it please call me at 316-806-1545.
Thank you

hiking
3 months ago

Took the boys on this trail on a perfect weekend (weather). Didn't realize this was the same weekend as the FlatRock 101K Trail race weekend. Although many trail runners were encountered, everyone was really cool. We hiked in from the east trailhead and camped overnight at the 9.5 mile marker. Completed a short hike to west trail head the next morning and left feeling great!

Terrific hike and camping. Everyone had a great time. Definitely will be back. The views were amazing, the trail is a great shape.

backpacking
3 months ago

Love it, will make a return trip when weather conditions are better.

backpacking
3 months ago

Had a great time, picked a crappy weekend to go as far as the weather, it was raining the entire time, still enjoyed this trail, we were planning on camping but due to the rain we just went ahead and hiked the whole 15 miles and left, I’m sure I will revisit, hopefully on a nice weekend, in my opinion the better camp spots and views are in the 1st half, would like to go back and go through backwards from 15 to 1 next time, as far as the terrain goes I loved it, not to hard, not to easy, I highly recommend this trail

backpacking
4 months ago

Best long hike in Kansas hands down. Not even close. Have done the entire length of the trail three times, once a year the past three years. Great camping spots, moderate amounts of water you'll need to filter and sterilize. You can cache water and food carefully if you know the location between the 9 and 10 mile markers on the trail where an old paved road ends.

Directions to both ends of the trail are very poorly marked and can be difficult to find but very worth the effort. Campfires are allowed, a real plus. Very small waterfall near 12 mile mark is a welcome respite but watch for snakes, saw a Copperhead sunning there a few years ago in late March.

backpacking
4 months ago

It’s occasionally muddy, but still lots of fun! It is one of our favorites.

backpacking
4 months ago

My husband and I just hiked 13 miles here in 5.5 hours. It was a beautiful trail. Very well marked. We were glad to have found this little gym in Kansas. We would recommend this trail.

backpacking
4 months ago

Did a backpacking trip with the Boy Scout troop, very scenic trail. Definitely doesn't feel like you're in Kansas.

backpacking
6 months ago

Just did an out and back camping trip..hiked in five miles from East end and camped overlooking lake..nice scenery even in winter..trail was good exercise too.Fyi the lake was really the only water available for filtering

Simple hike when camping. Good for kids.

backpacking
7 months ago

Just finished a quick winter overnighter and the trip was great! Very unique Kansas trail and rugged enough to keep things interesting. Quick heads-up, there are a few spots where the trail passes through rock formations/cuts that could make for a difficult passage if carrying a larger pack....still doable, just worth noting that packs "may" need to be removed and lowered/lifted depending on what direction you are traveling. I also encountered quail, turkey and deer on the trail. I look forward to taking the kiddos once the weather warms a bit. 1/12/18

backpacking
7 months ago

It's hard to believe you're in the middle of Kansas while hiking this trail. Our Boy Scout troop used this as a winter break shakedown hike for our upcoming Philmont trip and it definitely did not disappoint.

There aren't any huge hills but there are still some good short climbs. The scenery changes by the mile so there's plenty to see.

We started from the east trailhead, hiked 10 miles one day, camped at the trailhead there, then hiked 5 the next day.

Water is scarce so make sure you bring plenty or have a filter system.

Overall we had a great time and can't wait to visit this trail again soon!

backpacking
8 months 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.

hiking
9 months ago

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!

backpacking
10 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!

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