Hike the KU Field Station Trails

Roth Trailhead, Lawrence, Kansas, United States

  • Activities:

    Chillin, Photography, Hiking

  • Skill Level:

    Beginner

  • Season:

    Spring, Summer, Autumn

Bathrooms
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Forest
Picnic Area
Wildlife

Conveniently located just about 10 minutes north of Lawrence, KS, the KU Field Station is home to several public trails. The opportunities for exploration vary from hikes through the woods, to a paved stroll through restored prairie lands.

Overview

Parking at the Roth Trailhead gives the hiker several options for how to proceed. Up the paved walkway from the parking area, one can go into the woods to follow the Roth Trail, or they can venture out into the grasslands on the Lowland trail. The Roth trail leads up through wooded areas, and at the top of the hill, a magnificent vista awaits. This connects to a paved walkway through a prairie, with educational plaques along the way, illuminating the history and science behind the ecology of the prairie ecosystem. If one alternatively walks east, crossing E 1600 Road, another set of trailheads can be found. There is a sign indicating the entryway; it is next to a gate. Here, there is the Fitch Nature Trail, which, in the past biology students at KU used to explore as a field trip. There is also another trail that leads north, which, after crossing a road, connects to the aforementioned prairie path.

A couple of notes:

  • The Fitch Nature Trail is near somebody's personal property. There is a house out there where someone lives, and visitors should not bother them.
  • The woods in some parts consists many creaky old, dead trees. When the winds are high, beware of the possibility of falling trees.
  • A map and more description can be found here
  • A guide to the Fitch Nature Trail can be found here

I personally like to visit at dawn, just as the sun is rising. Deer can be seen in the morning, as it is a protected ecological reserve and forested. I often spot them along the tree lines and sometimes see them along the wooded trails.

Pack List

There are no specialty items required, as these trails are open to the public, not very strenuous, are easily hiked in one day, and well marked and documented.

  • 10 Essentials
  • Binoculars for spotting deer (nice option to have)
  • A copy of the guide linked above!
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Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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Reviews

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I picked this trail for my first hike and I enjoyed it. There's several trails to choose from which was nice, I do suggest bringing a map if you plan to walk all of them. The outlook was breathtaking and the trail was very well maintained.

10 months ago
10 months ago

A fun, short little getaway for those who are close to Lawrence. Easy going terrain and the trails are well maintained. It would definitely be a great place to take kids and there are plenty of information boards. Also great if you have a short amount of time.

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

The notes were very helpful. The hike was great, lots of shade so it wasn't too hot. Our boys are 9 and 12 and have done some more advanced hiking. This was perfect for a relaxing day outside in wonderful weather.

almost 2 years ago
almost 2 years ago

Are we missing something? Suggest an edit

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