JD_Shawnee, 2011-06-06 11:46:40
For bicylists looking for a nearby alternate trail for a change of pace without having to go far to do so, the Ottawa-Osawatomie Flint Hills eastern section might fit the bill. Its pathway crosses the Prairie Spirit at 1st Street. Rode it and back Friday 6/3 by entering/leaving it at Ottawa’s east 7th Street gate. From there up to 1st Street it is overgrown with ballast rock, a good place for blowouts. Yet, the bulk of the remaining part of this 20-mile well-packed trail is well-lined with trees, shrubs, and vegetation (except for a large field on each side of the Rantoul village); thus, it is fairly well protected from strong south winds.

It does border the Maria des Cygnes at times. But, overall, it simply does not have the facilities and views of the Prairie Spirit (i.e., trailheads, restrooms, running water, benches, lakes/ponds, large wildlife, waterfowl, trailside cafes etc). Rantoul does have outside soda-pop machines, but its café/gift-shop doesn’t post its hours outside(?) As a precaution, users need to carry their own water and energy food.

Ate my sandwich/lunch sitting on a concrete bridge curb. This ride also ended at the western end of Osawatomie where large semi-trailers are parked atop the corridor before getting into town. However, the paved Parker Road next to the trail does go there. Saw lots of wildflowers, birds, horse tracks, mulberries, and shade along this pathway. But that was about all of it except for a few cottontails, red squirrels, and one bewildered deer. 🙂

Timon of Athens, 2011-06-06 20:02:10
Welcome to the forums, JD.

While the FHNT isn’t as developed as the PST. I does have certain charms, as you discovered. The only real services I have found is a building in Rantoul. It looks sort of like a carwash from the trail, but if you leave the trail an bike up to it, it is a garage full of vending machines. I was happy to find that the munchies machine was cold. The un melted peanut butter cup was great on a very hot day.

Since the funds have been approved to finish the trail through Ottawa and will connect up with the PST, I am toying with the idea of extending this site to include Rantoul and Osawatomie. We will see how things work out.

JD_Shawnee, 2011-06-07 06:29:10
Thanks for your welcome Sam. Yeah, this FHNT section is not a bad ride by any means. And you’re right about adding Osawatomie to this site. It probably has quite a few places of interest (food & water too) since it’s a larger town.
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