BIKE TRAILS IN LEE’S SUMMIT
Of course you can tackle the main roads with your bike, but traffic can be overwhelming and even dangerous. Want to get off the beaten path? You’ve come to the right place. Here’s are Lee’s Summit Go’s recommended bike-friendly trails and roadways.
Carl Chinnery Trail at Unity Village
This 2.15-mile loop has been recently renovated. It’s a private trail, but is open to the general public. The trail, named after a Lee’s Summit attorney, leads through gently rolling and pastoral scenes. It also passes under a railroad tunnel, runs parallel to a stream and provides views of limestone outcroppings in the distance. Perhaps most interesting, the renovated trail gives access to a “natural bridge” that was previously inaccessible unless you knew what you were looking for.
Length 2.15-mile loop. In addition, the Unity campus is picturesque and provides some additional miles of on-road trails.
Conditions Crushed gravel with an easy to moderate grade.
Kid friendly? Small children on bikes will likely need supervision and occasional assistance.
Address 1901 NW Blue Pkwy, Unity Village, MO 64065
The trail head is immediately east of the Unity office complex and is marked with a large sign. Park in the parking lost adjacent to the trail head. Sometimes people have trouble finding it, so here’s a picture of what you are looking for, followed my a map.
James A. Reed Memorial Wildlife Area
This 3,000-acre area is dotted with lakes, fields, streams and occasional rock outcroppings. Bikers can tour the back roads or off-road trails. Exploring is required to find the best bike routes.
Length The Shawnee Trace Natural Trail is a 2.5 mile loop with some optional off and on ramps, but it’s more suited for walkers than bikers due to dense vegetation and narrow paths. However, there are miles of horse and multi-use trails suitable for mountain bikers. In addition, the quiet and solitude of the area makes the paved roads at James A. Reed a prime location for bikes of all types.
Conditions There is a wide range of conditions, from paved roads to dirt paths and open fields. Access to the area is restricted during some hunting seasons.
Kid friendly? Since the roads are public, with no sidewalks, and off-road biking can be challenging, this is for mature riders only.
Address 12405 SE Ranson Road, Lee’s Summit, Mo.
Lake Jacomo Trails
Lake Jacomo has several trails, ranging from the easy-to-find and well-maintained to“ghost trails” (“Is that really a trail?”) you may discover by accident. We’ll give you the straight scoop so you don’t get lost in the brush.
Larry Mattonen Memorial Trail
This is, hands down, Lake Jacomo’s most accessible and well-maintained trail. It’s essentially a gravel road that divides into two loops. It’s shaped like a giant number 8. It’s a pleasant, quiet and mostly forested walk with a few pastoral scenes and limestone outcroppings.
Length About 2 miles
Condition This is a gravel road (but restricted to bikers and hikers). It’s generally flat with few elevation changes. There are many spurs off of the main trail. These are poorly marked, so wander at your own risk.
Kid Friendly? It’s not as smooth as a sidewalk, but kids with a little “horsepower” should do fine.
Address Cyclone Road, Lee's Summit, MO 64086. See the map below for more specific location directions. This trail head is in the vicinity of Missouri Town 1855. A highly visible sign is posted next to the road.
Pa-Huska Nature Trail
This trail gives you a few moments of wilderness in the midst of bustling suburbs. It crosses a crystal clear stream, follows a dry limestone creek bed and tops a ridge overlooking the valley before returning to Park Road.
Length 1.2 miles
Condition This is a dirt trail with minor elevation changes. As with most Jacomo trails, this one has few markers. However, the trail is well worn and never ventures far from a roadway. In summer, bugs, cobwebs and poison ivy will be challenging. Mountain bikes only.
Kid Friendly? This is for mature riders who can manage a mountain bike and exert themselves when needed.
Address Lake Jacomo Sail Boat Cove, 740 E Park Rd, Lee's Summit, MO 64086.
Finding it At our last check, there were no signs marking the entry to this trail, only a small gravel parking lot. If you are entering from the north, the parking lot is before you exit for Sailboat Cove. If you are coming from the south, the parking lot is after the exit.
Prickly Pear Cactus Glade Loop
This trail explores the wooded bluffs that tower over the south end of Lake Jacomo. You’ll see limestone outcroppings, giant boulders and vistas of the lake.
Length 1 mile loop
Condition This is a dirt path with several rocky steps and moderate difficulty. However, it has been recently upgraded and is easy to follow. Mountain bikes only
Kid Friendly? Since this trail travels near steep cliffs and through dense forest, this dirt track is recommended for mature riders only.
Address 1794 N.E. Colbern Rd., Lee’s Summit, MO 64086.
Finding it Park at the Lake Jacomo spillway parking lot on the south side of Colbern Road. The trail head is immediately across the street and is marked by this sign:
This trail begins at a pond near the entrance to Missouri Town 1855 and transverses the woods, crosses streams and provides panoramic views of Lake Jacomo. It also features a glade with unique wildflowers and prickly pear cactus (in season).
Length At its shortest, this trail is a 1.2-mile loop. However, it connects with other area trails that are unmarked and do not appear on the trail map. If you aren't careful, you can stretch a one-mile loop into several miles and not be quite sure where you are. The path is easy to see and follow, but there are very few signs. Bring a compass, just in case.
Conditions This is a dirt path of moderate difficulty. Hazards include exposed roots and mud after a rain. In summer, poison ivy and bugs will be a challenge. Parts of this trail are wide open and parts of it are narrow, hemmed in by dense vegetation. Proceed with caution.
Kid Friendly? Mature riders only.
Address The trail head is near the Native Hooved Animal Enclosure at Lake Jacomo. There are a few parking spaces. It is marked by this sign:
Lake Vista Trail: Blue Springs Lake
This crushed rock trail encircles the wooded and rolling terrain surrounding Blue Springs Lake. The north side of the trail passes limestone cliffs and outcroppings. Another highlight is a giant, arched footbridge that passes over a stream. If you complete the full loop, you will walk part of the route on a sidewalk and bridge that crosses Blue Springs Lake.
Length 5-mile loop.
Conditions Crushed rock with minor elevation changes.
Kid friendly? This falls into the “it depends” category. Minor-moderate elevation changes and occasional rocks, ruts and roots could be a hazard to a young cyclist. The majority of the trail, however, is gently sloping.
Address There are several places to access the trail, including:
Trail head parking on the east side of the Blue Springs Lake dam on Liggett Road. It is 1,000 feet east of the Jackson County Parks office at S.W. Woods Chapel Road and Liggett Road.
South trail head parking is also on Liggett Road, but near the intersection of Liggett Road and Liggett-Cove Road (Liggett Rd & Liggett-Cove Rd Sni-A-Bar Township, MO 64015).
There are additional access points shown on the Lake Vista Trail map.
Legacy Park Trail
Legacy Park is known for numerous sports fields, an amphitheater and community center. But it also features a paved, 5-mile loop that encircles Legacy Park Lake and follows the border of the entire 700-acre park.
Length 4.7-mile loop (which can be broken into smaller sections if you don’t want to walk that far).
Conditions This is a paved and in excellent condition for bikers. There is also high visibility nearly everywhere.
Kid friendly? Yes.
Address 901 Bluestem, Lee's Summit, MO 64086
Little Blue Trace Trail
As the name implies, this walking and biking trail follows the Little Blue River from Lee’s Summit Road all the way north to 24 Highway in Independence. The one-way journey is 15.6 miles. It’s a pleasant walk (or ride) on crushed gravel that weaves in and out of populated areas. It ranges from loud and urban as you walk underneath I-70 to quiet and pastoral as you head further south or north.
Length 15.6 miles, with plans for expansion
Conditions Crushed rock, easy. There is an absence of shade on much of the trail. Bring water.
Kid friendly Yes. However, the trail can be quite busy, so children (and adults) will need to be alert.
There are several places to access the trail near Lee’s Summit (and even more as you head north).
MAP TO LEE’S SUMMIT ROAD TRAIL HEAD
Longview Lake Trail
This one-way 6.5-mile paved trail begins at Shelter 14 near the marina and ends at O’Donnell Park in Grandview. It generally provides unshaded, pastoral scenery with views of the lake. It passes under View High Drive on its way to trail’s end. The trail can also be accessed at several points along its course. There is a bike rental station at the trail head.
Length 6.5 miles
Conditions Crushed rock, easy, minimal shade. Bring water.
Kid friendly? Yes. However, the trail can be busy so children (and adults) will need to be alert for other riders.
Address Longview Lake Main Trail Head, 9898 Longview Road, Kansas City, MO 64134. If you want to begin at the south entrance, park at O’Donnell Park, 13500 Kurzwell Road, Grandview, MO 64030.
Rock Island Rail Corridor Trail
The Rock Island Trail is a converted railroad line running 17.7 miles from Lee's Summit, Mo., to Kansas City, Mo., ending north of the Truman Sports Complex. Highlights of the Lee’s Summit section include views of the Cedar Creek Valley near Third Street and Chipman Road and the Vail Railroad Tunnel.
Length 17.7 miles one way
Conditions The trail surface is made of crushed rock, which can be soggy when wet. There is abundant shade.
Kid friendly? There is almost no elevation change on the trail, so the ride is easy. Children will need to be mindful of passing cyclists.
Address Since the trail is more than 17-miles long, there are several points of access. The easiest access point with the most abundant parking is at Charles David Hartman Memorial Park. You can also park near the Vale Tunnel in South Kansas City, but it’s not easy to find. In addition, you can park at the southern trail head in Lee’s Summit, but there is only on-street parking.