The "Friends of the Prairie Spirit" welcome you to the
first major rail-trail development in the state of Kansas.
The Prairie Spirit Rail Trail offers biking and hiking
enthusiasts, runners, bird watchers and nature lovers a
new Kansas outdoor adventure. From Ottawa to Welda,
the Prairie Spirit Trail is currently more than 33 miles.
Kansas' first rail-trail, converted from two former
railbeds that have been "railbanked", meanders through golden prairies,
quiet woodlands, beautiful lakeside scenery, and travels
through charmingly inviting communities. Upon
completion the Prairie Spirit Rail Trail will span from
Ottawa to Iola and total more than 50 miles. The trail is
operated under the management of the Kansas
Department of Wildlife and Parks. Similarly, the Flint Hills Nature
Trail, an equestrian/hiking/bicycling trail, when completed from
Osawatomie, KS to Herrington, KS, will be a
150-mile trail, one of the longest rail-trails in
the United States. Both trails will intersect in
The trail outside the communities of Garnett and Ottawa
is of a hard packed surface created by mixing calcium
chloride with limestone screenings. It is 12 feet wide,
varying in some areas. Inside the city limits of Garnett and
Ottawa the surface is asphalt and is adorned with native
landscaping and ornamental lighting.
Built upon a railway bed, the trail grades are very
moderate and most stretches are level making this trail
ideal for maintaining steady speeds on long rides. The trail
passes over several bridges overlooking ponds, creeks,
and the Marais Des Cygnes River. Trailheads providing
amenities such as restrooms and picnic areas are located
in each community along the trail, while rest areas with
bench seating are strategically placed along the trail.
The Prairie Spirit Rail Trail is open during
daylight hours (outside of Garnett and Ottawa
city limits). Special-use permits may be
obtained for group evening rides or night
events from the trail manager. These events
must be approved and planned in advance for
notification of local law enforcement agencies.
UPDATED TRAIL PERMIT INFORMATION:
Daily permits are $2.50, and can be obtained at any of the
trailheads. Annual permits are $10.50, and can be
purchased at the Garnett Area Chamber of Commerce,
Garnett City Hall, Franklin County Clerk's Office (Ottawa)
and Country Mart in Ottawa.
Come visit us in Ottawa, Kansas