Before Cole and I depart for our trip in August 2015, we want to document a few things in our everyday lives around here- you know, the ways we stay sane even with demanding careers.

One of the best outlets we have found from our jobs is hiking. (Betcha didn’t guess that one!) Hiking is a way for Cole and I to reconnect with each other and nature after a long week under fluorescent lighting and job stress. Without the distraction of phones, TV, and our laptops, we are able to communicate and decompress in the great outdoors.

When we first moved to Kansas City three years ago, Cole and I began scoping out weekend adventures. Sometimes we ventured further, sometimes we stayed closer to home. This post will be dedicated to those close-to-home Kansas City hiking spots we have encountered.

Without further ado…

5 Kansas City Hikes

1. Parkville Nature Sanctuary

This is a personal favorite of mine, mostly due to proximity to my school and how quickly I can get there to detox from my day of middle schoolers. Cole and I have visited as well. The trails here aren’t too secluded, but they are nature-dense nonetheless. Throw in a pretty (man-made, but still) waterfall, and I’m sold.

I usually combine all trails for a total of 2.8 miles. The Whitetail trail is the emptiest, and The Old Kate the most popular (and includes the waterfall).

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2. Weston Bend State Park

Even though it’s a bit further away (an hour or so), this park has proven itself useful for guests. We have brought family here on multiple occasions to hike, picnic, and sightsee in general.

Cole and I have hiked nearly all of the trails at the park, our favorite being the West Ridge Trail (1.25 miles) which offers panoramic views of our good ol’ Missouri River.

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3. Roanoke Park Trails

Gotta bring it closer to home for this one. These trails lay right down the street from our apartment just west of the Westport area. We have explored them again and again, but each time it seems a bit different, as the trails weave in and out of the chunks of woods surrounding the streets.

The coolest part of this trail system, in my opinion, is the section that starts directly across from the community center. With quick switchbacks, hikers rise (relatively) high immediately and weave past some giant boulders. Just watch out for the glass in this seemingly popular hangout spot.


4. Shawnee Mission Park

Now that I just bought a new-to-me mountain bike off Craigslist, I am pumped to bring it here. Cole and I have only been here once to hike along the biking trails, but I will have to return sometime soon to give the whole mountain biking thing a try. Slightly fearful that I will be as graceful as I am on my two feet. #watchout

Besides mountain bike trails, the park is stocked will all sorts of other fun things – disc golf, a beautiful lake, a dog park, picnic areas, several more hiking trails we want to try out… (why does it have to be so cold right now??)

I can’t wait to go back this spring!

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5. Maple Woods Nature Preserve

This is a trail only I can attest to, since I have yet to bring Cole. Something to do with it being so close to my school… surprise, surprise. It’s just that I need quiet trails after a day of 12-year-olds demanding things of me.

I have such fond memories of this Maple Woods trail partly due to the fact that I visited on the most beautiful week of the whole year. That’s gotta be some of it. It also happens to be an awesome hidden gem tucked away in a residential area. Walking in, the woods sort of swallow you up in the best way.

The trails at Maple Woods are not identified – but it’s easy enough to navigate the paths. This little park is a beautiful way to spend a couple of hours.

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These five trails are not nearly the only trails Cole and I have visited – just the ones that stuck with us. Cole tends to be less likely to return somewhere we’ve been (not when there are so many new things out there!) but I love to re-hike my favorites. We meet in the middle with these, some of Kansas City’s best hiking trails.

Happy Kansas City hiking!

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Written by Elizabeth

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