Sports and Recreaction
Sports & Recreation
Located less than 30 minutes from the busy suburbs of Johnson County, Franklin County offers an oasis of sport and recreational options.
If cycling or walking is your sport of choice, Franklin County is the only spot in Kansas where two Rail Trail State Parks intersect. The Prairie Spirit Trail is a family-friendly moderate grade 51-mile rail-trail, that is ADA accessible. You will pass through 7 small Kansas communities from Ottawa to Iola on this North to South Trail.
The Flint Hills Trail State Park is the longest Kansas trail, 117 miles going East to West. Starting in Osawatomie, the Flint Hills Trail offers a rich diversity of habitat. As you bike, hike or ride horseback you will pass through Ozark like hardwood ridges, river and creek bottoms, wetlands, brushlands, ponds and reservoirs before finally arriving in the Flint Hills; one of the last remaining tallgrass prairie ecosystems in the world.
Ottawa Trail and Cycle can outfit you and your family with bike rental and trail suggestions from their store located on historic Main Street. Want to ride to the Flint Hills but worried about making it back? They offer a shuttle service as well. Weekly group rides and yearly family events make Franklin County your cycling friendly Kansas community.
Prefer the challenge of disc golf? Kanza Park offers a FREE 18-hole course on well-maintained park grounds. A walking trail circles the rolling hills of the park. Children’s amenities are located in the center, so all can enjoy the environment safely.
Your disc golf options can continue at shady Forest Park, known for its notable oak and walnut trees, located just off K68 in Ottawa. In addition to a disc course throughout the park, there is an array of recreational facilities including 18 lit clay Horseshoe Courts, 5 lit tennis courts, lit baseball, and softball diamonds, lit basketball court, four playgrounds, and a municipal outdoor pool. Shelters and restroom facilities allow you to come to play and stay all day!
Prefer the tranquility of water? Hillsdale Lake, located less than 20 miles away on K68E, offers 12,000 acres of park experiences. Over 4,500 acres of water activities and fishing opportunities are available. Seasonal hunting takes place on 7,000 acres of park grounds. There is even an equestrian area to enjoy the park by horseback.
A little over 20 miles West on K68, 18,000-acre Melvern Lake beckons explorers. Boasting over 7,000 acres of water activities including fishing for Kansas favorites; crappie, catfish, and bass. Sitting on the Eastern edge of the Flint Hills presents park goers with plenty of wildlife sighting opportunities.
Diverse outdoor adventures are waiting for you in Franklin County. The only problem you will have is deciding what to try first!