Topeka - When you think about the trails around Cedar Crest, the Kansas governor's mansion, you likely think of the gravel and paved paths around the ponds.
But you need to get off the beaten path for a true trail experience.
Kim Deckert and John Knowles are part of a trail running group that regularly makes the rounds of the trails at MacLennan Park.
Kim says the main trail has some pretty good hills, but she prefers to go back further into the property, where it's narrow and more challenging.
Located off SW 6th and Fairlawn, MacLennan Park has several trails to choose from. Take all the loops on the brown trail for 2.7 miles. Kim describes it as a wider path, good for riding bicycles, walking dogs or strolling with the family. She says it does have a pretty big uphill, thought, so by the time you're done, you work up quite a sweat!
The green trail is a quick seven-tenths of a mile; the blue will take you 1.4 miles and the red is a challenging 1.8 miles. Color codes on the tree will guide you along the trails and point the way to connecting trails.
Kim says the more rugged trails have a lot of turns and corners and things to jump over, like tree roots.
You can also expect to encounter mud! John says you can't be afraid of the mud - just step right in it and don't worry.
The mud - and the rocks - and the spider webs - and the bugs - are just part of the attraction for avid trail runners. John says it's what makes it more interesting than normal pavement, while Kim says it's her little escape.
Cedar Crest and Wildlife and Parks officials say they owe thanks to the Kansas Trails Council, which helps maintain the trails.
The Cedar Crest trails link to the new Kaw River State Park trails and the plan is to eventually link them to the Kansas History Museum trails.
The Topeka trail running group hits the Cedar Crest trails most Wednesdays at 4:30pm and Saturday and Sunday mornings around 7:30 am for anyone who would like to join them.
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