The new 0.4-mile trail segment will follow an old railroad spur eastward from the Southwind Rail Trail, passing beneath the State Street Bridge, paralleling Elm Creek for a short distance, then connecting to Washington Avenue through the City of Iola’s Elm Creek Park South. The western trailhead for the new Lehigh Portland Trails will be located at Washington Avenue. The Lehigh Portland Trails will offer over both wide gravel-surfaced trails and natural-surface singletrack trails for mountain biking, trail running, and nature hikes.
The new link will provide people walking or biking a safe passage between the two trails, allowing them to avoid having to travel on or across busy State Street.
Here’s a map of the new link, highlighted in green:
On the map, the 6.5-mile Southwind Rail Trail is shown in red on the left. The new Lehigh Portland Trails system is shown on the right, with the wide graveled portion of the network (about 1.85 miles) shown in red, and the singletrack mountain biking trails shown in yellow (about 5.5 miles currently, with room for future expansion).
With completion of the new connector trail, and official opening of the Lehigh Portland Trails (a grand opening is scheduled for June 25th), the Prairie Spirit Trail (about 52 miles in length) will be part of a nearly 200-mile connected network including the Flint Hills Nature Trail (eventual 117 miles) and the Kanza Park Trail (1 mile) in Ottawa, and the Southwind Rail Trail (6.5 miles), the Missouri Pacific Recreational Trail (0.5 miles), and the Lehigh Portland Trails (about 7.5 miles, eventually over 10 miles) in Iola.