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Inside JCPRD: We have trails and great scenery that are perfect for after-celebration outings!

By David Markham JCPRD has some great places for you to exercise or just get outside If you overdo it (again) over Thanksgiving and want to walk, run, or bike

By David Markham

JCPRD has some great places for you to exercise or just get outside If you overdo it (again) over Thanksgiving and want to walk, run, or bike off some of the “festivities.”  We even have four off-leash dog areas if you’d like to take your canine companion along.

 According to research from Consumer Reports, the average American will take in between 3,000 and 4,500 calories during a typical holiday meal. The Calorie Control Council notes this also typically includes more than 150 grams of fat. Fortunately, JCPRD has 17 developed parks encompassing more than 10,000 acres, not to mention more than 87 miles of trails, including both paved multi-purpose trails and footpaths.

JCPRD parks great for walking and biking include the Mill Creek Streamway ParkHeritage ParkAntioch Park, Meadowbrook ParkLexington Lake Park, and of course Shawnee Mission Park

JCPRD also expanded the southern portion of the Kill Creek Streamway Park Trail by nearly two miles in 2020, adding a portion between 135th and 143rd streets.

It’s not a walking trail, but if it’s exercise you’re after, walking up the stairs to the top deck (44 feet 7 inches) of the Russell and Helen Means Observation Tower in Kill Creek Park could do the trick, and gives you 270 degree views from the top as well (there’s also an elevator to the top if you’d prefer).  

JCPRD has more than 87 miles of trails, including both paved multi-purpose trails and footpaths, to work off those Thanksgiving indulgences.

Consider two of JCPRD’s newest parks; Cedar Niles Park in Olathe and Arthur and Betty Verhaeghe Park in Overland Park. 

A portion of the first phase of development of the new Cedar Niles Park had a “soft opening” without fanfare in February 2021. Accessible at this time are about two miles of paved trail, which can be reached from the 119th Street parking lot and the 126th Terrace and Clare Road parking lot. When this phase is completed, the paved trail will total about four miles and will include a 200-foot single-span bridge over Cedar Creek, which will be the longest bridge in JCPRD’s park inventory. Located west of downtown Olathe, the Cedar Niles Park property consists of 1,030 acres and extends nearly two miles north of 119th Street to just south of 135th Street in Olathe. Watch JCPRD.com for an announcement on the full park opening. 

Arthur and Betty Verhaeghe Park opened in late 2020 and features an 11-acre developed area with a recently-expanded farm-themed playground and picnic shelter, and serves as an access point for the Coffee Creek Streamway Park, which opened in October 2017 and currently stretches 3.4 miles with a western terminus near shelters #9 and #10 in Heritage Park. 

 Speaking of Heritage Park, the fitness park near shelter #1 features gym-quality fitness equipment in an outdoor setting for use free of charge anytime the park is open. The fitness park is made up of weather-resistant equipment meant to work a variety of muscle groups.  More outdoor fitness equipment can also be found in Meadowbrook Park. 

JCPRD also offers numerous single-track trails for hiking and mountain biking.

Inside JCPRD: Santa Fe Trail Bicentennial

By the Johnson County Museum                                                                                              This September is the 200th anniversary of the first organized wagon train down the Santa Fe Trail. The route between Independence, Mo. (and later Westport,