After not having a chance to ride at all over the weekend, I had some errands to run in Kansas City, so I took the opportunity to visit a trail system I’d never ridden before, even though it’s only about 25 miles from my house.
The trail system is known as the “Blue River Parkway Trails” or “BuRP”, and is located along the Blue River in South Kansas City, at approximately Holmes and Red Bridge Road, and features 12+ miles of trails of varying levels of difficulty.
I parked at the main trailhead off 118th street, and rode some of the easier trails on the west side of the river.
Most of the trails I rode were on the old railroad bed, and were largely open, smooth and fast. I initially headed south as the trail stayed on the bluffs overlooking the river. I eventually came to a rocky stream, and not seeing any way around it, forded it with the bike on my shoulder. On the other side, there were numerous side-trails, but I kept to the main track.
This brought me out at a railroad track, and I stopped to check the map I was carrying. The map showed that the trail continued on the other side of the tracks, so I carried the bike over and resumed. After a short distance the trail dead-ended at Holmes road. There was no signage telling me which way to go, so I turned back. Consulting the map, it seemed to indicate that the trail looped back over the railroad tracks. I explored for a bit, but never found this part of the trail.
Eventually I gave up and carried the bike across the railroad tracks and headed back the way I came. This time, though, I tried one of the side trails. It started off open, but soon was overgrown with grasses and brush. I continued on regardless, stopping to pick a few ripe blackberries along the trail, and eventually the track wound its way back to the main trail.
I forded the creek again, and was soon back at the main signboard.
This time I headed north, and took the first sidepath I came upon. Again, I was soon on an overgrown, grassy trail, but I persisted, and eventually came to the river. It was hard to tell, and again there was no signage, but I think I was supposed to either ride through the water, or wade across. But instead I turned back and returned to the main trail.
Taking the main trail north, I eventually came to the railroad tracks again. Looking at the map, it appeared that the trail ended here. But again, there was no signage.
At this point, I simply returned to the parking lot, loaded up the bike, and left.
I’m sure this is not a problem for someone familiar with the trails, or someone who has a guide, but for me, the lack of signage was frustrating, and ultimately a show-stopper. There were numerous side-trails with no indication of where they might lead, and no help at all when the trail dead-ended at railroad tracks or the river.
Anyway, I ended up with about 6.5 miles of riding over an hour or so. It was kind of fun, and I got to see some wildlife (a deer, rabbits, squirrels, and a black snake), and got to eat a few ripe blackberries. I never did see anyone else on the trails.
I don’t think I’ll go back alone. I’m sure the experience would be much better with someone who knows where they’re going. Perhaps I’ll try to hook up with someone and give it another go sometime.