Hike the KU Field Station Trails



4.4 miles

Elevation Gain

423 ft

Route Type


Added by Collin B

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.


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.

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Known for

Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Picnic Area



Leave a Review

Looking forward to returning.

Wanted to do something special for my birthday Nov 17 and we decided to check out the KU Field Study Preserve at dawn after catching the sunrise. Don't let 4 stars deter you. I can't say that this is the most amazing place to hike. However, we really enjoyed it and will definitely go back to explore it further. We would like to check out Fitch Nature Trail next time. We walked the Roth Trail and enjoyed the well maintained trails from the grass lands all the way up to the view overlooking Lawrence. Also, major kudos for the clean restroom! This is a nice little jewel not too far from the West side of Kansas City/Overland Park. Super fun day trip especially if you stop in Lawrence too. We love going to Ladybirds for breakfast!

First Hike

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.

A Nice Small Spot In Kansas

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.

Great Day Hike With Kids

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.

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Leave No Trace

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on.

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