Kansas July 30, 2019
9 Of The Best Historic Stops Along Kansas’ Longest Hiking Trail
This huge and beautiful nature trail is currently around 90 miles and counting, but we can’t wait to keep adding more to it as we go. The history of our state stretches across this trail and we’ve picked out some of the highlights for you to see. The longest hiking trail in Kansas is also the most historic, even if it takes a long time to travel.
Nothing can pack more history than the longest trail in Kansas, the Flint Hills Nature Trail.
From east to west, there are so many historic locations that it would take weeks to stop at each one and spend the time they deserve.
First stop on the trail is the Osawatomie Railroad Museum. The railroad reached this little town in 1879 with what is today called the Union Pacific.
Today, you can learn anything and everything about their local railroad history at this museum.
Next along our long and beautiful trail, we have the gorgeous Marais Des Cygnes River, meaning "marsh of the swans" in French.
The Flint Hills Nature Trail follows this scenic river for a while, named by French explorers and appreciated by every Kansan since.
Next up is somewhat of a local legend, but rooted in history as well. According to legend, the infamous Jesse James and his gang used this overhang to hide during the 1860s and 70s.
Traveling in, you can imagine just how quiet things were when there were no cars or planes around, but this cool cave is perfect for a band of infamous men. Thanks to YouTube uploader
for this lovely video that helps everyone find just where it is.
Later on, another bridge catches your eye, which is the 110 Mile Creek Bridge.
Over 200 feet long and very striking, this steel beam bridge is a wonder to behold. We don't get to see many like this these days, and it's a great piece of railroad history to boot.
After that, later on you'll come across Allegawaho (Kaw) Heritage Park, 168 acres owned by the Kaw Nation.
It contains historic ruins of both homes and important buildings, and a noticeable Monument to the Unknown Indian on top of the tallgrass hill you see here. The Kaw lived here until they were forcibly removed in the 1870s, and today we can only see faint traces of the marks they left behind.
If you're traveling and looking for something to eat, another great stop along the trail is the Hays House we all know and love.
This spot is the oldest continuously-operating restaurant west of the Mississippi, founded by the first settler in Council Grove, Seth Hays, the grandson of Daniel Boone himself.
After that, you can see a monument to the Santa Fe Trail, the Last Chance Store, one of our registered historic places.
Though it's no longer a store, you can imagine what it was like to have one last stop to make before heading further west than you'd ever been.
Next up is more of that nature we love, spread out over the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve.
Eleven thousand acres in the park, the trail is lucky enough to cross part of it. Though you can't see all of it, there may be plans to implement a side trail from the FHNT to the preserve.
Last on our list but not on the trail is Diamond Spring, one of the most widely known camping sites on the Santa Fe Trail.
It's two miles south of the FHNT itself, but we count it because of how useful it was along the Santa Fe. The beauty of a small abandoned town is always surrounded with mystery, though we know it was pivotal in their journeys.
If you were to take the long trip to travel this whole trail, how would you do it? I think camping along the way would be an amazing adventure. Share how you’d do it in the comments below! For a much, much, shorter outing, check out
this beautiful waterfall you can find after the shortest hike from the road.