The Meadowlark Trail in Kansas is a work in progress along a former Union Pacific railroad corridor stretching for 12.6 miles between the cities of McPherson and Lindsborg. The corridor was rail banked in 1997 by the Central Kansas Conservancy, which has since been hard at work developing the trail. As of 2013, two sections of the Meadowlark Trail are open for use, although conditions vary along the length.
In the south, the trail begins at the northwestern edge of the city of McPherson, home to two colleges and a growing population. The trail travels northward for 4 miles through farmland to Pawnee Road. This section of trail has a smooth crushed limestone surface.
In the north, the trail begins at the southern endpoint of the paved Välkommen Trail in Lindsborg. This city is known as 'Little Sweden' because it was settled by Swedish immigrants in the 19th century, and the community celebrates its Swedish heritage with events throughout the year. The Meadowlark Trail meets the Välkommen Trail at the Old Mill Campground, located a short walk from the McPherson County Old Mill Museum on Mill Street.
Continuing south from the campground, the trail offers a bit more shade than the section of trail closer to McPherson, as it is enveloped by trees. Before reaching Smoky Valley Road, the trail meets an edge of the winding Smoky Hill River. This portion of trail currently ends at Shawnee Road in an open field.
A 5-mile gap currently exists between the Lindsborg and McPherson portions of the Meadowlark Trail. While the corridor is intact, traveling this section of trail is not recommended at this time. Trail users should be aware that this section of trail is still surfaced with the original railroad ballast, and the route is overgrown with grass and other native foliage.
What to Bring: Bring water and be prepared to carry out any trash you create. Restrooms are not available along the trail.