October is National Walking Month

The City of Lawrence Parks and Recreation Department, along with Lawrence Memorial Hospital and LiveWell Lawrence 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.

Walk the Loop consists of six separate walks on segments of the Lawrence Loop on several Tuesdays and Thursdays during the month of October. Participants who register and walk all six sections of the loop during Walk the Loop will receive a small reward. A shuttle bus will be available at the end of each night’s walk (approximately 3K in length) to return walkers to the starting point. Walks will take place in light rain, however in the event of inclement weather, walks will be cancelled. If a walk is cancelled it will not be made up and the walk segment schedule will continue to be followed.

Printable Flyer


Walk-up registrations are welcome, but you can also preregister at http://lprd.org/activity?n=327289 Registered walkers will receive a passport to record their walks.


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

Tuesday, October 3

  • Parking: Sports Pavilion Lawrence, 100 Rock Chalk Lane
  • Route: Sports Pavilion Lawrence to the North 1464 Road
  • Length: Approx. 2 miles. This route is the shortest of the planned walks and also has the most hills.
  • Theme: Oregon Trail
  • Rest Station Host: Willow Center

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 Great Plains.

Thursday, October 5

  • 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
  • Theme: Birds/Audubon
  • Rest Station Host: LMH Performance & Wellness Center

Jayhawk Audubon Society volunteers will accompany walkers to help them spot birds. This paved trail winds through forest, riparian areas and fields. Some bird species you could see: cardinal, chickadee, Carolina wren, wood pewee, hummingbird, great crested flycatcher, eastern kingbird, scissor-tailed flycatcher, red-breasted woodpecker, turkey vulture, red-tailed hawk and mourning doves. For information visit www.jayhawkaudubon.org.

Tuesday, October 10

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

Lawrence’s three Rotary Clubs celebrated the centennial of Rotary International by creating the Rotary Arboretum. This partnership with Lawrence Parks and Recreation was created on land the city leases from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The clubs raised $50,000 for the ongoing project, dedicated in June 2005. Crystal Miles, the city’s horticultural manager, said, “We want this to be a place where people can walk though, get landscaping ideas and see what types of trees and plants grow well in Kansas.”

Thursday, October 12

  • Parking: Sunflower Elementary School, 2521 Inverness Drive
  • Route: Sunflower School to Regal Southwind Stadium 12
  • Length: Approx. 2.9 miles
  • Theme: History/Watkins Museum
  • Rest Station Host: Cottonwood

Near the beginning of this section of the Loop is the Pat Dawson-Billings Nature Area. In 2000, John McGrew donated land for this nature park, asking it be named for Pat Dawson-Billings, a beloved local teacher, outdoors enthusiast and wife of developer Bob Billings. Farther south, the area where the trail crosses East 1200 Road used to be Brown’s Grove, a popular picnic spot in the early 20th century. Past the crossing at East 1200 Road, the Loop follows Yankee Tank Creek for a considerable distance.

Tuesday, October 17

  • Parking: Regal Southwind Stadium 12, 3433 Iowa St.
  • Route: from the theaters to 910 East 29th St.
  • Length: Approx. 2,9 miles.
  • Theme: Wetlands
  • Rest Station Host: LiveWell Lawrence

You will travel to one of the most contested pieces of ground in Lawrence history, the South Lawrence Trafficway. After about 30 years of discussion, this bypass was completed in November 2016. One of the most diverse habitats in Kansas, the Baker Wetlands, which is open to the public, encompasses 927 acres of rich, natural wildlife. The Discovery Center is an eco-friendly building with panoramic views over the boardwalk.

Thursday, October 19

  • Parking: 910 E. 29th St.
  • Route: 910 E. 20th St. to Hobbs Park, 11th and Delaware streets
  • Length: Approx. 2.7 miles
  • Theme: History, Haskell and Burroughs exhibit
  • Rest Station Host: Ad Astra Running

Haskell opened in 1884 as the U.S. Training and Industrial School. A few years later, it was renamed Haskell Institute. In 1970, it was accredited as a junior college, becoming Haskell Indian Junior College. In 1993 Haskell earned accreditation as a university becoming Haskell Indian Nations University. The Cultural Center, 2411 Barker Avenue, celebrates the strength and resiliency of the students. It is open 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.

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 6:00 pm 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.

Each registered walker will receive a passport to track their progress along the loop. Look for the tent at the trailhead with the LMH logo to pick up your passport. Further information is available and questions can also be answered here. Passports will include information about the area through which the trail passes. Topics including local history, wildlife and terrain will also be addressed by guest walkers knowledgeable about the topic. Participants who walk all six sections of the loop during this program will receive a small wellness reward.