🚴‍♂️ 5 to Try: Post readers pick best places to cycle in JoCo

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It’s nearly the weekend, Johnson County!

Don’t let the possibility of rain keep you indoors over the next few days. Instead, take some time to map out a few of the best places to take your bicycle in and around Johnson County.

For this latest 5 to Try, we asked our readers to help us find where to get out on two wheels in Johnson County.

Thanks to them, we’ve compiled a list of their top picks, and they certainly do not disappoint. Happy wheeling about!

Shawnee Mission Park (Shawnee and Lenexa)

Photo courtesy Bryan Watts.

Located in Shawnee and Lenexa, Shawnee Mission Park is one of the biggest and most popular parks in Johnson County. And it’s certainly well known for its dirt and paved trails for cyclists to put to good use.

“For dirt trail riding, hard to beat Shawnee Mission Park,” said Post reader Bryan Watts. “Everything from the smooth kid safe pump track, the rocky technical skills area, and the miles of constantly changing woods (hey, there’s a big evergreen groove back in there).”

Post reader Gregg Riess recommended the single-track trails at Shawnee Mission Park for cyclists looking for a more technical and challenging experience.

“The dirt-based Pump Track located up from the marina where the tennis courts were located is a great option to build skills, whether you’re a beginner on a Stryder bike or an experienced rider,” Riess wrote. “The Skills Course located on Ogg Road across from the Tornado Siren is also a great place for beginners, intermediate and experts.”

Tomahawk Creek Trail (Overland Park and Leawood)

Tomahawk Creek Trail in the fall. Photo credit Marshall Rimann.

Located near 119th Street across parts of Overland Park and Leawood, Tomahawk Creek Trail follows parts of Tomahawk Creek as well as through scenic neighborhoods.

Riess, an avid cyclist, also recommended this one, saying Johnson County has a great selection of asphalt trails that follow local creeks, including the connected trials along Indian Creek and Tomahawk Creek.

“I suggest starting at the Deanna Rose Farmstead parking lot and taking on the 22-mile loop along the Tomahawk Creek Trail out to Leawood,” Riess said. “Continue from Leawood Park North through Lee Park, beyond Top Golf and then the Indian Creek Trail through Corporate Woods.

Riess also recommends using a hybrid bike or a mountain bike because the trail is not well suited for road speed and has sharp turns that require dodging pedestrians, squirrels and dogs.

Indian Creek Trail (Overland Park into Kansas City, Missouri)

Photo via city of Overland Park.

This scenic, 26-mile paved trail starts near Nall Hills in Overland Park and crosses through Leawood and over State Line Road into Kansas City, Mo.

“The Indian Creek Trail is a shoe-in overall, but especially the part that runs through Corporate Woods and down past Indian Valley Elementary School,” said Post reader and Mission city councilmember Ben Chociej. “The trees and flowers blooming in the late spring have the most wonderful smell, and it’s always a bit cooler and shadier down in the woods near the creek. Blissful.”

Post reader Bryan Watts recommended taking the 20-plus loop around Tomahawk Creek and Indian creek as a good form of exercise.

Gary Haller Trail/Mill Creek Streamway Park (Shawnee)

Photo courtesy Johnson County Park and Recreation District.

Located in a part of Shawnee just west of I-435, Gary L. Haller Trail passes through the scenic Mill Creek Streamway Park.

A 13.8 mile paved trail, the trail follows alongside an active railroad, so your ride can be accompanied by the classic sound of train engines.

The trail’s end points are Nelson Island along the Kansas River and Mill Creek Streamway Park in Shawnee.

“For family rides, I like the north end of Gary Haller because it goes to the river,” Watts said. “Fun to bike, explore, bike some more.”

Cedar Niles Park Trail (Olathe)

Photo via Johnson County Park and Recreation District’s Facebook page.

Located in Cedar Niles Park in Olathe, this trail and park are some of Johnson County Park and Recreation District’s newest offerings.

The park features 4 miles of multi-use paved trails as well as 4.5 miles of single-track trails for mountain biking as well as hiking.

“The new single track trails at Cedar Niles Park are the most sought-after trails for most cycling capabilities,” Riess said.

JCPRD notes that the 4.5-mile stretch of unpaved trail called the Columbine Loop is medium-difficulty.

About the author

Leah Wankum
Leah Wankum

Hi there! I’m Leah Wankum, and I’m the Post’s Deputy Editor. I’m thrilled to call Johnson County home, and I’m deeply committed to the Post’s philosophy that an informed community is a strong community.

I’m a native of mid-Missouri, and attended high school in Jefferson City before going on to the University of Central Missouri, where I earned a master’s degree in mass communication.

Prior to joining the Post as a reporter in 2018, I was the editor of the Richmond News in Ray County, Missouri. I’ve also written for several publications, including the Sedalia Democrat and KC Magazine.