Best Hiking Trails In and Around Kansas City

scott asner hiking

Hi all, Scott Asner here. As many of you know, I’m a big fan of everything related to nature – whether it’s green workplace initiatives or all the greenery in and around Kansas City. I love being outside in the great outdoors.

I recently went on a hike. I find the best way to clear my mind and get some exercise is making my way through our beautiful landscape. It occurred to me how fortunate I am to live in Kansas City and have access to such spectacular hiking trails. As a way to remember my past adventures more vividly, I thought I’d write about my favorite hiking trails in and around Kansas City.

These are my top five favorite places to hike:

White Tail Trail at the Parkville Nature Sanctuary

This mesmerizing White Tail Trail at the Parkville Nature Sanctuary spans a 3-mile loop. It features a waterfall and truly has an urban forest-type of feel to it. As you know, Kansas City is famous for its waterfalls and this trail has a reputation to keep. I greatly enjoy this trail though I rarely have it to myself. The waterfall lures locals and travelers from far and wide. While it’s a relatively short trail and you will likely complete it in less than an hour and a half. Still, the bench conveniently situated by the waterfall makes it an ideal place to sit in awe at the beauty that abounds. I love that it’s open year-round.

Maple Woods Natural Area Trail at Maple Woods Nature Preserve

Moss-lined paths and towering maple wood trees are in full splendor at the Maple Woods Natural Area Trail at the Maple Woods Nature Preserve. This 1-mile loop is dog-friendly, though dogs must be leashed. It’s also well-traveled and can be completed during your lunch break since it’s about a 30-minute hike. I like how quickly it’s as if you’re transported to a different world and the humbling feel one finds beside the tall, tall, trees. Sometimes I’ll hike this path twice in a row and I never tire of its beauty.

Larry Mattenon Memorial Trail at South Prairie Lee Park

Depending on what my morning looks like, the 4.8-mile Larry Mattenon Memorial Trail loop at South Prairie Lee Park can be my very first stop. It’s incredible if you get there early enough to see the sunrise through the leaves. I have one particular trail I like, but there are a few to choose from and all have their special glory. Check your phone from time to time and if you’re lucky enough to find your next meeting is rescheduled, stay a little longer and explore some more.

Buckeye Creek Trail at Buckeye Greenway

Buckeye Creek Trail at Buckeye Greenway is less than 2-miles but it’s mighty cute and offers quite the change in scenery, particularly considering its size.  This hike features a picturesque bridge and ample views of wildlife. The trail itself is easy to traverse but finding it might be another matter. Some people think finding the trail is part of the adventure. If it’s your first time, you’ll want to bring a trail buddy. It’s not as popular as some of the other trails but I’m still rather fond of it.

Orange, Violet, and Red Trail at Shawnee Mission Park

There are many varied paths to explore at Shawnee Mission Park and many are paved and accessible by most everyone. This is a go-to for team building activities and family outings. The Orange, Violet, and Red Trail is a good workout at 7-miles around a moderately challenging loop. You’ll see a lake, horseback riders, and mountain bikers along the way too. This trail is best to visit April through October.

I hope if you visit one or more of these trails after reading this, you enjoy every moment. Kansas City and the surrounding areas have much beauty and grandeur. There really is nothing quite like the great outdoors – especially here.

~ Scott Asner, Founding Principal of Eighteen Capital Group (18CG) in Kansas City, Missouri.

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