Walk or Ride–Smithville is a Must!

I posted here back in April about some Kansas City trails for bikers: Biker Persons

We do have a short trail immediately east of Bridge Pointe and the Line Creek Trail is definitely a fine walk or ride. However, you are missing a great Kansas City area treasure if you like to walk or ride and don’t check out Clay County’s trails in Smithville. Leslie and I have done the bike thing in many places including Rails-to-Trails Conservancy rides and it really doesn’t get much better than Smithville. It also doesn’t get any better as far as a family-friendly activity goes.

What’s so great about it? The trails follow close to the shore line and dart in and around coves and campgrounds. While in most areas, the trails are in the sun, there are also plenty of trail sections completely covered by a canopy of beautiful hardwoods. The view of lake and sky is enough to take your mind off tired legs and daily worries. If you go in the evening, the sunsets over the lake can be magnificent. Every ride is an opportunity to see all kinds of wildlife, including an elephant or two. The campers are always friendly but not so amiable that they will invite you to enjoy their cooking. If you are going to be on a walk or ride, bring some food or bribe money–the smells from campfire cooking are going to make you hungry or desparate! There are plenty of bathrooms, picnic tables (most are covered), access to drinking water, and most of the time you will feel like you own the trails. I am always amazed at how few people I see on the trails.

The only negative is the occasional wet piles of goose poop. If your bike doesn’t have fenders, be prepared for evasive quick weaving or endure the consequence of back splatter.

You will notice that I describe these paths in the plural–trails. This is because there are three trail systems known as Smoke & Davey, Bonebender, and Crow’s Creek. If you are comfortable making a short hop on regular 2-lane roads, these trails can all connect for a 26 mile walk or ride one way.

The Clay County Department of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Sites has produced a trail system map that is in brochure holders at all the put-in points. You can see the trails on this map: Smithville Lake Trails

My favorite ride is The Crows Creek Trail System and it is composed of two trails: Anita B. Gorman and Cabin Fever Trail. I have taken a photo of the brochure and this specific trail. I always put-in at the trailhead at Cabin Fever which you access from the N. Eastern Road from 92 Highway.

Anita B. Gorman Trail is 1.9 miles in length and is accessible from Collins Road to the north and from Crows Creek boat ramp area the south. In 2007, this trail was re-named after former Missouri Department of Conservation Commissioner, Anita B. Gorman, for her active involvement with the Smithville Grassland Revitalization Project and her long-time support of wildlife habitat restoration. Anita B. Gorman Trail follows the shoreline of the main lake channel through predominately hardwood forest. Features along this trail include: relatively consistent grade, borders 25 acres of grassland restoration, a covered shelter with picnic tables, and access to the more primitive equestrian/hiking trails.

Cabin Fever Trail is 7.0 miles in length and is accessible from Crows Creek boat ramp area to the north and from Access 25 at the west end of 160th Street. Cabin Fever Trail hugs the shoreline of the Crows Creek arm of Smithville Lake and is easily accessible from the Crows Creek Campground to the north. The southern half of Cabin Fever Trail follows the lake’s shoreline and perimeter of Crows Creek Picnic area, a less populated area of the park. Features along this trail include: numerous views of Smithville Lake and Dam, 2 lookout points with rest benches, 2 playgrounds, 6 shelters with picnic tables, 12 restroom buildings – some with drinking fountains and access to the Crows Creek Campground Outdoor Amphitheater.

Let me know if you venture a walk or ride at Smithville. Enjoy!







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