CHALK trails

Tired of running the same sidewalks over and over? Wanting to switch up your scenery? Allow us to help. Lawrence and the surrounding areas are teeming with hiking, running and biking spots, ranging from urban pathways to woodsy hiking trails. Some Lawrence trails also border coffee shops, restaurants and breweries for convenient after-trail treats.

Friends of Lawrence Area Trails is a nonprofit organization that works to advocate for the public funding of trails, build a community of local trail lovers and fundraise for trails in the Lawrence area. They helped us find the area's best loved spots. 

“You can have a varied trail experience because of the different types of trails that we have in the area,” says Marilyn Hull, a board member of FLAT.

Whether you’re looking for a short walk through Eastern Lawrence or a 9-mile run or bike ride along the Kansas River, Lawrence has several trail options for you. Here are six trails in Lawrence and the surrounding areas.

Lawrence Loop | 17 miles | Various access points throughout the city

The Lawrence Loop currently connects about 17 miles of continuous paved trail throughout the city. The paved trail is a good place for people of all ages and abilities to walk, run, hike and bike, Hull says.  

“Pretty much anybody can get on the Lawrence Loop and have a good trail experience,” Hull says.

FLAT’s current focus is to see the completion of the Lawrence Loop. Lawrence Public Works and the Parks and Recreation Department are working on finishing the Lawrence Loop, a project that will eventually provide 22 miles of paved continuous paths throughout Lawrence.

Clinton Lake North Shore Trails | 29 miles of trails | Clinton State Park 798 N 1415 Rd

Just a few miles outside of Lawrence are the Clinton Lake North Shore Trails, which have more than 29 miles of hiking trails that run near the lake. Three trails in particular allow for hiking, running and biking.

The blue trail runs for about eight miles and is technically the easiest. The white trail runs for about 13 miles and is more technical with ups, downs and tree roots to maneuver. The red trail is only 1.25 miles but is the most technical, with about half of the trail featuring table-sized rocks that are about one-foot-thick and weigh 2,000 pounds.

The trails are open year round, but Clinton Lake North Shore Trail Coordinator Mike Goodwin says he prefers hiking the trails in the winter after a fresh 2 or 3-inch snow. “It’s one of the really quiet outdoor experiences that is just refreshing,” Goodwin said.

Burroughs Creek Trail | 1.7 miles | E 11th Street between Haskell Ave and Oregon St to Haskell Rail-Trail at N Perimeter Rd just south of E. 23rd St

Looking to take a shorter stroll through Eastern Lawrence on a flat path? Try The Burroughs Creek Trail that makes up a section of the Lawrence Loop. It runs for 1.7 miles, with starting points at 11th Street and 23rd Street. The trail allows for walking, running and biking.

The Lawrence Parks and Recreation Department also recently installed exercise equipment along the trail, including an elliptical machine and a pull-up and sit-up station.

Lawrence River Trails | 9-mile loop | 8th Street and Oak Street

If you’re looking for a wooded trail experience inside the city, try the Lawrence River Trails. The 9-mile loop runs along the Kansas River in North Lawrence. There are separate entrances for bicyclers and pedestrians at the beginning of the trail, so be alert for other hikers, runners and bikers moving in opposite directions.

Lawrence Levee Trail | 10 miles | E 1250 Rd and N 2000 Rd and Alexander Rd

The Lawrence Levee Trail is located on the north bank of the Kansas River and runs along the top of the bank of the flood-control levee. The trail is an out-and-back roughly 10 miles. It’s good for hiking, running and biking and allows for views of neighboring farmland, downtown Lawrence and the Kansas River.

KU Field Station | 5 miles of trails | North of Lawrence Municipal Airport  

Looking for a place to hike, set up a hammock and enjoy the wilderness? Try the public nature trails the KU Field Station maintains just north of the Lawrence Municipal Airport located at 1930 Airport Rd. These trails allow for foot-traffic only. It’s also a Kansas Biological Survey research area, so pets aren’t allowed on the trails.

One of the trails, the Rockefeller Prairie Trail, provides a lookout point to the city of Lawrence with campus clearly visible.

Follow the driving directions on the Kansas Biology Survey’s website to reach the trails.