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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.