Hiking Trails and Prairie

Trails

Arboretum Hiking TrailNearly six miles of paved and wood chip hiking trails wind their way through the Overland Park Arboretum & Botanical Gardens. The trails cross Wolf Creek, a major tributary of the Blue River, with two 75-foot bridges.

The easiest of strolls are on the paths and sidewalks throughout the gardens. There are benches along the paths and walkways meet Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards for accessibility.

A Sculpture Garden Trail is an easy half-mile asphalt walk through the Arboretum's sculpture garden.

The Cottonwood Trail is a half-mile mulched trail that features a bird watch area and a drinking station.

Arboretum Trail MapThe West Trail is a one-mile mulched path that runs along the north bank of Wolf Creek and ends at the Children's Discovery Garden. Two drinking stations are available on the West Trail.

The Bluff Loop Trail is a one-mile mulched loop circling the southern bank of Wolf Creek. It becomes more challenging along the limestone bluffs, near its connection with the West Trail and Cottonwood Trail via bridges.

The Rocky Ridge Trail connects to the Bluff Loop trail on each end, and offers a one-mile, end-to-end, trek through a cedar forest, redbud and hickory groves. There are three drinking stations along the Rocky Ridge Trail. Two of its southernmost points stretch into the prairie, and visitors are welcome to explore the prairie on their own.

View the trail map to see the full span of the Arboretum's hiking area.

Prairie

Arboretum PrairieThe Arboretum offers visitors a chance to view and experience a variety of ecosystems and local plant species in 180 acres of open prairie area. Visitors can take the Bluff Loop and Rocky Ridge Trails onto the prairie, where they may explore off-trail and on their own.

Areas of interest on the Arboretum prairie include the old duck pond, a waterfall, the turkey tree, a cedar grove and a bluff overlook of Wolf Creek. There are butterfly habitats to visit within the prairie area.

Arboretum staff and volunteers manage the prairie with a three-year rotation of reseeding, haying and burning to simulate grazing by wildlife and buffalo and wildfire burning of the prairie.