New unpaved biking and hiking trails totaling about four miles were recently opened in Big Bull Creek Park
All of the new trails extend from the area near the park’s nature-themed playground at 20425 Sunflower Road, Edgerton, located north of 207th St., and follow the Bull Creek corridor down to Interstate 35.
The trails include: the Horseshoe Loop at 0.49 miles, the Quarry Loop at 1.80 miles, and the Bull Creek Loop at 1.85 miles. The trails extend to the west edge of I-35.
“It’s a stacked loop system, and the upper line follows the edge of a prairie and is fairly entry level to intermediate,” said Field Biologist Matt Garrett, who managed the project. “The lower level that follows closer to the creek is more advanced.”
A generous donation of $20,000 from a member of the public paid for the majority of the work, which involved a JCPRD crew of professional trail builders working more than three months on the projects between December and April.
“They were obviously hampered by the snowy weather, and then made a really impressive push through March and April to finish the trail system,” Garrett said.
Topography is what makes these trails unique from the unpaved trails in other JCPRD parks, he said.
“The trail gives you almost a treetop view of this high-quality forest that it weaves along the edge of,” Garrett said. “It gives you a good experience with diverse habitats- prairies, new habitat restoration, and then you see some upland forest, and you see some upland riparian creek-level forests. The beacon in the center of the park are those two big (former grain) silos. We put them on the park map, and regardless of where you are on the trail system, you can look to the silos to get a bearing on where you are.”
A future trail-building goal at Big Bull Creek Park, is to extend the trails under I-35 to 215th St. to the park’s organized youth group camping area.
Like other JCPRD trails, the trails at Big Bull Creek Park have control gates and will be closed during wet conditions when the trails can be damaged. To check on trail closures, go to RainOutLine.com
or call (913) 204-0204 x25.