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Experience Council Grove : The Main Street of the Flint Hills

OUTDOOR RECREATION

Getting outside and up close to nature is easy in the
Flint Hills... whether you walk, ride, or paddle, there are recreational opportunities for all desires and abilities.

With two lakes and wide-open spaces, Council Grove is bursting with recreational activities. Some favorites include camping, hiking, biking, hunting, fishing, disc golf, and more. 

Council Grove City Recreation has many opportunities for youth sports for our area residents. They have numerous clinics and programs for preschool age to 18 years old, including basketball, soccer, baseball, softball, T-ball, flag football, and volleyball.

Read on for all the outdoor recreation details. We have a lot to share!

TWIN LAKES

Landlocked Kansas isn’t known for its water-based recreation, but we sure are! Council Grove boasts not one, but two lakes!

A non-detailed image of our Council Grove Federal Reservoir as seen from above

Council Grove Federal Reservoir was built by the Tulsa District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers between 1960 and 1964 at a cost of $11.5 million.  It was authorized by the Flood Control Act of 1950, and construction was prompted by the devastating flood of 1951. The lake was built for the purposes of flood damage reduction, water storage, water quality enhancement, fish and wildlife conservation, and recreation.  To date, the lake is credited with preventing an estimated $175 million in flood damages.​

 

The lake is near the headwaters of the Neosho River. “Neosho” is an Osage Indian word meaning “water within.” The names of many of our campgrounds, such as Neosho Park, Kanza View, and Kit Carson, reflect the area's early history.​

Interested in hiking while you visit the lake?  Pioneer Nature Trail is a beautiful 1.24-mile trail!

Council Grove Marina — Pontoon boats, kayaks, and paddle boards can be rented, and live bait and tackle are for sale.  Hang out on the Rusty Parrot Patio for drinks, snacks, and fun with family and friends.

Book a lakeside campsite or RV hookup HERE!

A non-detailed image of our Council Grove City Lake as seen from above

Council Grove City Lake is the smaller of Council Grove's twin lakes and is located 3.5 miles northwest of Council Grove, Kansas. This 434-acre multi-use lake is surrounded by 348 waterfront cabins and homes. 

 

The Council Grove City Lake also includes five public park areas, boat ramps, and city-owned common areas. This community is home to both permanent and weekend residents who enjoy water sports, fishing, wildlife and beautiful scenic views.

HIKING & EXPLORING

Neosho Riverwalk

 

The Neosho Riverwalk connects the Flint Hills Trail State Park with the Madonna of the Trail statue, the Guardian of the Grove statue, the Neosho River Crossing, and the Kaw Mission State Historic Site.

 

Enjoy the stroll while visiting the crossing of Old Santa Fe Road. Meander across the pedestrian bridge that spans the Neosho River and the walkway continues on up among thousands of wildflowers, plants, and native grasses to the Kaw Mission Historic Site. At night, lights from the Riverwalk reflect in the water, causing us to reflect on nature and history along the river. It is also ADA-accessible because inclusion and accessibility matter in Council Grove. 

The Neosho River at sunset

Flint Hills Nature Trail

 

Explore our growing Flint Hills Nature Trail system. The Flint Hills represent one of the world's last remaining tallgrass prairie ecosystems. It is home to abundant prairie plant and wildlife species, spectacular views, national historic sites, and diverse recreational areas. 

 

On foot, bike, or horseback, this trail offers an ever-changing, close glimpse of our area's tall grasses and diverse plant species. And the views change with every season. The Flint Hills Trail is the eighth-longest rail trail in America and the longest trail in Kansas. It follows the general route of the Santa Fe National Historic Trail and forms a component of the coast-to-coast American Discovery Trail.

 

Access and parking near Downtown Council Grove at Walnut Street & Donnon Street. Trail parking is also available at Allegawaho Park (X Avenue & South 525 Road)

Pioneer Nature Trail

 

The Pioneer Nature Trail is located three miles northwest of the Historic town of Council Grove, near the Neosho River, which is nestled in the scenic east Kansas prairie known as the Flint Hills. The 1.25-mile-long trail offers many wildlife viewing opportunities due to the abundance of wildflowers, butterflies, birds, mammals, and reptiles that make their home along and in the area of the trail.

Another very interesting feature along this trail that is explained in more detail by an interpretive wayside sign that is located on the trail is the presence of buffalo wallows. The wallows were created back in the 1800s when millions of buffalo roamed the tall grass prairie region of the United States. Some wallows were 30 feet across and more than 2 feet deep, and the remnants of the wallows that remain along the trail still benefit wildlife by providing protection, a nesting area to raise young, and a source of water during the rainy season. 

The Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve

 

Just 18 miles south of Council Grove is the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve, one of over 390 parks in the National Park System. The preserve has nearly 11,000 acres to be explored. Take a bus tour, tour the historic buildings, go on a hike, or use our cell phone tour. 

Konza Prairie Trails

 

32 miles North of Council Grove is the Konza Prairie Trails. Konza Prairie's hiking trails wind through lowland gallery forest, cross Kings Creek, and climb over ancient limestone ledges into the native tallgrass prairie. At the highest points, enjoy spectacular views of the Flint Hills and the Kansas River Valley.

Enjoy a moderate walk with occasional steep climbs, uneven footing, and narrow pathways. To protect the trail and hikers, the trail is occasionally closed during wet conditions or controlled burning.

SPORTS & FITNESS

Golf

The Council Grove Country Club boasts a beautiful 9-hole golf course and is perfect for beginners and the most experienced golfers. 

Buffalo Grass fairways, mostly native roughs, water hazards on seven of the holes, and two holes have sand traps.  Bentgrass greens were established in 1970. Par is 36 and yardage is 2,662 both nines and 5,324 total yards for women and 2,870 front; 2,948 back for 5,818 total yards for men.  Rental golf carts are available. The clubhouse has vending machines for snacks and drinks.

Council Grove Country Club grasses

Disc Golf

Disc Golf is a fun, family-friendly, easy-to-learn way to enjoy the out-of-doors in Council Grove. We have three Disc-Golf courses to challenge you while you enjoy time with friends and family.

A Disc Golf Target

Fairgrounds Park Disc Golf Course is a 12-hole disc golf course with 2 pin locations for each hole for a total of 24 holes. The course was redesigned in 2016 by Council Grove Disc Golf Club member Adam Boyd. The course features DGA Mach V baskets. The course winds through the park, taking advantage of natural and man-made obstacles. While most holes range from 250’-350’, holes 8A and 12A are over 500’ and will push most players for long, accurate drives. The course is located blocks away from the heart of historic Council Grove!

Kanza View Park Disc Golf Course, located just north of town at the Council Grove Federal Lake, was installed in 2016. Designed by 2010 world champion Eric McCabe, this 18-hole course will challenge players of every skill level. Hole distances range from 257’ to a monster 739’ par 5 shot. The course has a good mix of open and technical shots. The course is equipped with DGA Veterans Baskets. Kanza View Disc Golf Course offers a great disc golf experience with sweeping views of Council Grove Lake!

White Memorial 9-Hole Disc Golf Course is a fun camp course. The White Memorial Camp is an ongoing adventure for building social skills and creating lifetime memories in a safe, beautiful, natural environment. The course is surrounded on three sides by a scenic reservoir. Running throughout our central campus is a newly updated 9-hole disc golf course. Contact White Memorial Camp for more details...

Swimming & Fitness

Council Grove Aquatic Center's seasonal outdoor pool is located in Fairgrounds Park, east of the baseball fields. The pool features water slides, diving boards, raindrop, duck slide, water table, basketball goals, spray features, and an 8-lane, 25-yard competition pool. The facility has a bathhouse, concession stand, and lounge chairs on the pool deck. Swimming lessons and private parties are available!

Our Council Grove Public Pool in the Summer
The indoor pool at the Council Grove Life Center

Our Council Grove Life Center is a non-profit, family health, and fitness facility in with drop-in rates for all Council Grove visitors and residents. The staff at the Life Center strives to keep our facility in top shape, provide a comfortable and friendly environment for your exercise and activity needs, and accommodate a wide range of interests and current fitness trends.

 

We strongly encourage you to visit the Life Center and see for yourself what we have to offer. We think you will be pleased with our facility, and we hope you will want to be a part of its many activities!

CAMPING & ADVENTURE

White Memorial Camp

White Memorial Camp is located on beautiful, scenic, native prairie land with the original strains of native grasses growing on the slopes of the gently rolling hills and is nestled in the heart of the Flint Hills. Set on a beautiful peninsula, it is surrounded on three sides by the water of the Council Grove Federal Reservoir.

White Memorial Camp Ropes Course

The camp is part of the original Kaw Reservation and has several historical sites, which were the ceremonial Grounds of the Kaw Indians. It also was part of their hunting grounds, which supplied their food and shelter. The buildings are constructed of native limestone, all of which came from structure sites inundated by the water of the lake.

 

Camp White is an excellent spot for hosting private events on the lake, with many activities for adults and kids, including kayaking, zip-lining, rock wall climbing, 9-hole disc golf, and much more. 

Hunting
    & Fishing

Council Grove & Morris County are home to thousands of acres of whitetail deer and turkey hunting land. Our Flint Hills land consists of creek and river bottoms, rolling hills with draws, and cropland. Hunters and fishers from far and wide travel to the Flint Hills to fill their tags and their freezers. We offer an abundance of guide and lodging options for hunters and fishers of all skill levels and desires. 

A hunter and his dog in the Flint Hills of Kansas

The Council Grove Reservoir has a combination of steep rocky shorelines and shallow mudflats. Two good fishing streams, Munkers Creek on the east and the Neosho River on the west, feed the lake. Two boat ramps and handicap-accessible sidewalks provide access to these streams. Fair to excellent populations of crappie, channel catfish, saugeye, white bass, wiper, and largemouth bass are found in the lake. Wildlife area lands primarily consist of woodlands, cropland, and small native grass tracts. Hunting is allowed, and hunters may find fair to excellent populations of white-tailed deer, wild turkey, quail, squirrel, rabbit, dove, and waterfowl. Frequent flooding events, however, may limit upland wildlife populations in some years.

Read more about Kansas Hunting and Fishing.

Kansas fishing licenses can be obtained locally at the following locations...

Adams Lumber & Homestore(620) 767-5818

Council Grove Marina(620) 767-5924

Morris County Clerk's Office : (800) 918-2877

ROAD TRIPS

Welcome, Motorcyclists!

The Flint Hills National Scenic Byway runs straight through downtown Council Grove. This makes our city an ideal stopping, refueling, and reenergizing point along your journey. 

 

We have cold beer, great food, and a plethora of ways to stretch your legs along your journey!

We love this article from Rider Magazine about traveling our Bluestem Pastures, and we certainly can't wait to ride the Santa Fe Trail someday, even if that means a ride through our own backyard.

A snippet from Kansas Encore: Return to Prairyerth...

"This is a place to stay awhile, I reckon, so I checked into the Cottage House, a restored Prairie Victorian Hotel serving travelers for more than a century. I made like a trail user out of the past and chowed down at the Hays House, itself catering to trekkers along the Santa Fe since ole Dan’l Boone’s grandson built the place in 1857."

Experience Council Grove : Explore the scenic byways of the Flint Hills

Flint hills National Scenic Byway

Flint Hills National Scenic Byway is a stunning drive, biking, or motorcycle ride through the Flint Hills of Kansas. Take one hour to drive or a few days to enjoy the entire byway!  

 

The Flint Hills Scenic Byway is a gateway to the tall grass prairie and offers travelers an unchanged view of the grasslands of the Great Plains. Explore historic sites, quaint towns, and scenic vistas as you discover where the West truly begins.

A roadway through the Flint Hills of Kansas

Explore Ways to Get Outside...

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Council Grove Life Center

We strive to keep our facility in top shape, provide a comfortable and friendly environment for your exercise and activity needs, and accommodate a wide range of interests and fitness trends.

620-767-5400

300 North Union Street

Council Grove

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Neosho Riverwalk & Park

The Neosho Riverwalk is a paved, scenic walking and bicycle trail along both sides of the river surrounding the most documented river crossing on the Santa Fe Trail.

620.767.5413

14 West Main Street

Council Grove

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Flint Hills National Scenic Byway

The 47-mile-long Flint Hills National Scenic Byway offers incredible views of the native grasses and flowers of the tallgrass prairie - one of the last remaining landscapes left in America.

200 Main Street

Council Grove

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Council Grove City Lake Association

Waterfront Living in the Flint Hills of Kansas

Council Grove

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Durland Park

This park is a great place to have lunch in the shade and visit some of Council Grove’s historic sites including the old Cowboy Jail built in 1871, playground, picnic facilities, and Train Depot & Caboose.

512 East Main Street

Council Grove

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Pink Gravel, LLC

Pink Gravel exists to encourage other breast cancer patients and survivors to reconnect with their previous active lifestyles.

785-482-3051

Dwight

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Council Grove Marina

We have implemented a fair pricing standard which benefited many boating enthusiasts, charter fishermen, and virtually anyone who wants to have a great time.

620-767-5924

1025 Lake Road

Council Grove

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White Memorial Camp

Making Lifetime Memories in a Beautiful Lakeside Setting.

620-767-5165

1271 South 1050 Road

Council Grove

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Flint Hills Nature Trail

The Flint Hills Trail is the eighth-longest rail-trail in America, and the longest trail in Kansas. It follows the general route of the Santa Fe National Historic Trail and forms a component of the coast-to-coast American Discovery Trail.

785.448.2627

Walnut Street & Donnon Street

Council Grove