October is National Walking Month

The City of Lawrence Parks and Recreation Department, along with LMH Health, Douglas County Emergency Management/CERT, Friends of Lawrence Area Trails(FLAT), and Rockland Apartments encourage participation in living a healthy, active lifestyle and this October are offering a program to celebrate National Walking Month with Walk the Loop. Besides providing a uplifting cardio-experience, participants will also learn about the nature, history and neighborhoods encountered during scenic walks around segments of the Lawrence Loop Tuesedays and Thursdays in October.

Walks begin each evening between 5-6 p.m. Start when you can; the staffed trailhead closes at 6 p.m. Bus transportation from the end point of each night’s walk back to parking will be provided by The Rockland Apartments. Please note, there may be a short wait at the end of the trail for the bus if they are in route. There will be no bus transportation on the final walk segment as we will return to the starting point as our ending point. Also, please be aware that there are no restroom facilities along most segments of the walk. Please wear sturdy walking shoes, bring water, a hat, sunscreen and bug spray. Also, please be alert for and use extra caution when crossing those areas of the trail that intersect with a roadway. In case of severe weather, the walks will be cancelled. For weather related as well as other information, go to the Friends of Lawrence Area Trails Facebook page @flatks. You also may call 785-505-3066. If the walk will be cancelled, a message will be left on this number by 4 p.m. on the day of the walk.

Printable Flyer


Walks begin at 5:30 p.m.. Trailhead closes at 6 p.m..

Tuesday, October 2

  • Parking: Hobbs Park, 11th and Delaware
  • Route: Hobbs Park, 11th and Delaware, to 910 E. 20th St.
  • Length: Approx. 2.7 miles
  • Rest Station Host: The Willow

The first section of the trail has ten interpretive history panels that serve as an outdoor museum. They feature original historic narratives, vintage photographs, and maps that illustrate Lawrence’s unique history and cultural identity. The section of the trail south of 23rd Street borders Haskell Indian Nations University. Haskell first opened its doors in September 1884, as the U.S. Training and Industrial School and has evolved with changing cultural views to incorporate the elements of Tribal pride and self-determination for its academics.

Thursday, October 4

  • Parking: 910 East 29th St.
  • Route: From 910 East 29th St to the Regal Southwind Theater
  • Length: Approx. 2.9 miles.
  • Rest Station Host: Cottonwood, Inc.

You will be traveling by one of the most contested pieces of ground in Lawrence and Douglas County history – the South Lawrence Trafficway. After about 30 years of discussion, the SLT was finally completed and opened in November 2016. You also will pass through part of the Baker Wetlands, one of the most diverse nature habitats in Kansas, encompassing 927 acres of rich, natural wildlife. The building you see is the Baker Wetlands Discovery Center, an ecofriendly building with panoramic views and an accessible wetlands boardwalk. Plan to visit the Discovery Center sometime!

Tuesday, October 9

  • Parking: Regal Southwind Stadium
  • Route: Regal Southwind Stadium to Sunflower Elementary School, 2521 Inverness Drive
  • Length: Approx. 2.9 miles
  • Rest Station Host: Lawrence Public Library

You will follow Yankee Tank Creek for a considerable distance. The creek’s unique name stems from a New England abolitionist, Ezekiel Andrus Colman, who settled northwest of this area in 1854. Colman dug a pond or “tank,” to connect with a preexisting stream and water his cattle. According to legend, when rains caused the stream to rise, locals would remark, “the Yankee’s tank is running over.” Farther north, where the trail crosses E. 1200 Rd., there is an area that used to be known as Brown’s Grove, a popular picnic spot in the early 20th century. Near the end of this section of the Loop is the Pat Dawson-Billings Nature area. In 2000, local developer John McGrew donated land for this nature park and asked for it to be named for Pat Dawson-Billings, a beloved local teacher, outdoor enthusiast and wife of developer Bob Billings.

Thursday, October 11

  • Parking: Sunflower Elementary School
  • Route: To Family Church of Lawrence, 906 N. 1464 Rd.
  • Length: Approx. 3.1 miles. This route is the shortest of the planned walks and also has the most hills.
  • Rest Station Host: Lawrence Pawsh Wash

In this Loop segment, you will walk through the Rotary Arboretum. This gem was a collaboration of Lawrence’s three Rotary Clubs to celebrate the centennial of Rotary International. In partnership with Lawrence Parks and Recreation, the Arboretum was created on land that the city leases from the U.S. Army Corps of engineers. It was dedicated in June of 2005 and is home to trees and plants that grow well in a Kansas climate, as well as ponds and numerous birds and waterfowl.

Tuesday, October 16

  • Parking: 906 North 1464 Road
  • Route: To Sports Pavilion Lawrence
  • Length: Approx. 2 miles. This route is the shortest of the planned walks and also has the most hills.
  • Rest Station Host: Friends of Lawrence Area Trails (FLAT)

This section of the Loop has great historical significance. The Oregon Trail crossed the Lawrence Loop, just south of Sixth Street and continued west toward Big Springs and Topeka, near the route of present day U.S. Highway 40. The Oregon and Santa Fe Trails passed through Douglas County and were part of a network of wagon trails that headed west. Use of the trails declined following the Civil War when railroads pushed across the plains. In some places along the old trails, you can still see evidence of wagon tracks.

Thursday, October 18

  • Parking: Sports Pavilion Lawrence, 100 Rock Chalk Lane
  • Route: Sports Pavilion Lawrence to the north end of loop and back
  • Length: Approx. 3.1 miles
  • Rest Station Host: LMH LMH Health Performance and Wellness Center

You will be walking parallel to the South Lawrence Trafficway for a short while before the paved trail begins to wind through forest, riparian areas and fields. You may see multiple species of birds including cardinal, chickadee, Carolina wren, wood pewee, turkey vulture, among many others. When you get to the end of the trail, you will turn around and walk back to the Sports Pavilion.

Things to Remember

  • Talk to your healthcare provider before beginning any new physical activity, especially if you have been sedentary, have a health concern or are taking prescription medication.
  • Walkers must depart no later than 6 p.m. in order to be off the trail by dark.
  • Walk slowly for about five minutes to warm up. Then gradually increase your pace. Slow your pace during the last five minutes of your walk to cool down.
  • Carry a cell phone and identification with you, including emergency contact numbers.
  • Wear comfortable shoes.
  • Walk with a companion or listen to music but make sure you can hear traffic and bicycles.
  • Don’t overdo it. When you are starting, plan walks of distances you know you can accomplish. Walk a comfortable pace. If you experience chest pain or other signs of a heart attack or stroke, dial 911 imediately. Trained CERT volunteers from Douglas County Emergency Management will be on the trail to assist in case of emergency.