Prairie Spirit Trail News

Check out  This is an open site for public discussion which can include updates on trail conditions and other interesting sites on the trails from visitors.

Prairie Spirit Trail restroom closings and water shut off: 

  • October 30th Richmond Restroom Closed, 
  • November 16th All Water Shut Off, 
  • November 30th through December 5th All Restrooms Closed
  • Garnett Depot restroom will remain open through the winter. 
  • Ottawa Depot restroom will be open when depot is open to the public.

It's a great day to visit a trail and it's even better now that the Prairie Spirit Trail State Park is FREE.  That's right trail enthusiasts, starting January of 2019 there are no permits required to enjoy the Prairie Spirit Trail.

Wildlife, wildflowers, and diverse habitats and communities await your viewing pleasure out on the Prairie Spirit Trail.  On your journey be sure to stop at the rest benches along the trail and take a look at the trail information guides helped placed by local Eagle Scouts.  Each guide gives visitors three things that they may be able to see on the trail. 

Keep in mind the Prairie Spirit Trail hooks into two other trails which will lead you into yet more trails and communities. To the South in Iola, the Southwind trail hooks to the Prairie Spirit and travels from Iola to Humboldt in Allen County.  This trail is fully complete and well maintained.  Allen County also has the Missouri Pacific Recreational Trail, Centennial Trail and the Lehigh Portland Trail.

To the North the Prairie Spirit connects with the Flint Hills Trail State Park in Ottawa.  The Flint Hills Trail travels from Osawatomie to Herrington.  This trail is open in many areas, and where open is well maintained.  There are currently no restrooms or water fountains next to the Flint Hills Trail and some of it is still under construction so plan accordingly.  Some of the most beautiful landscapes, bridges, and wildlife can be seen from these trail systems.

If you haven't seen the new work that the three large communities (Ottawa, Garnett, Iola) along the Prairie Spirit Trail have put into their systems, I urge you to investigate.  New signs, trails, primitive camping, a bicycle repair station, a farmer's market, and trail access have been placed in these destinations.  The amount of work that volunteers and the cities do for these areas is astounding.

Timer Guys offers Ultra Marathon races on the trail in the Spring and Fall.  Some of the most positive and determined people I have ever met have participated in these runs.  Many distances are offered.  If you are looking for a challenge, this would be one to put on your list.


Jim Manning

Ranger, Prairie Spirit Trail

February 22, 2022

During the Spring of 2021, Garnett’s Ronin Stande Calley organized his first Eagle Scout project to incorporate more interpretive learning along the trail. Ronin, who had started out as a Tiger Cub Scout at age seven and is now an Eagle Scout, met with one of our trail’s Park Rangers to discuss ideas for the trail. Together, they agreed to implement an interpretative sign displaying some of the natural wildflowers that can be seen in the state of Kansas, many of which can be seen along the trail! An area on the side of the trail was cleared of trees, tilled, and then planted with the wildflowers depicted on the sign. Extensive research and coordination was required between Ronin and representatives of the USDA and Horticulture Department to decide which flowers would be best to plant. Fashion Inc., out of Ottawa was responsible for donating the materials to build the sign.  

After 65 hours of hard work and determination between Ronin and his fellow scouts of Troop 74 out of Ottawa, a frame was built and the sign was anchored into the ground. You can admire Ronin and the Troop’s work along the west side of the trail between Scipio Rd. And highway 59. A special thank you to Ronin, as well as his brother Nathan (who implemented the other wildlife kiosks along the trail), for their desire to improve the trail for members of the community to enjoy for years to come!