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Nature Trail - Introduction

Welcome to the Kansas Historical Society's Nature Trail in western Topeka, sponsored by the Westar Energy Green Team. The nature trail offers families and school children a destination to visit, a place for exercise, relaxation, and a chance to gain an appreciation of a beautiful northeastern Kansas setting.

The 2.5 mile trail, open dawn to dusk, winds throughout the Kansas Historical Society property in western Topeka and is divided into four sections.

The east trail is a .25 mile loop. Signs interpret both the cultural and natural history of the area. Visitors can walk along the creek banks, through native grasslands, and into the woodlands area of the north trail. Along the edge of the prairie and creek bank visitors might spot a red-tailed hawk, hear the chirp of the meadowlark, or glimpse a wild turkey or white-tailed deer. The elms and cedars lining the creek offer refuge for a number of small animals. The south trail takes visitors to the historic, one-room Stach School. The west trail passes through the woodlands and crosses three bridges, including a rope bridge.

The trail is open sunrise to sundown year-round. No bikes, roller skates, skate boards, or horses are allowed and all dogs must be leashed. Please do your part to keep the nature trail clean.

Bridge along the East TrailExploring Nature, Exploring History

The history of Kansas is shaped by the natural environment. Prairie grasses supported vast herds of buffalo. Plains Indians hunted buffalo to fulfill their needs for shelter, clothing, and food. These early people saw themselves as part of the natural environment. They lived with the prairie to sustain their lives.

After 1854, when Kansas Territory opened for settlement, pioneers chose the rich bottomland near streams to locate their farms. These people, and those who followed, viewed nature as something to be conquered in order to produce better crops and healthier livestock. This view of being separate from nature, and able to control it, has influenced people's decisions for the last 150 years.

The Nature Trail is an example of how the natural environment can coexist and thrive in close proximity to highways, shopping centers, and homes. We encourage our visitors to explore nature and explore Kansas history.

Registration and scheduling: To scheduled a self-guided tour, register online, or contact Education at 785-272-8681, ext. 414; email kshs.education@ks.gov.  Tours must be scheduled at least two weeks in advance.

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