The Switchgrass Mountain Bike Trail at Wilson State Park was recently given an “Epic Award” from the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) at the organization’s World Summit in Santa Fe, N.M. According to IMBA’s website, “Switchgrass Trail: With over 20 miles of twisting trails, this destination has something for everyone, from beginners to hammerheads.”
Wilson State Park is located on the shores of Wilson Reservoir 20 miles east of Russell. The park and surrounding landscape features rugged prairie and sandstone outcroppings; a perfect place for challenging mountain bike trails. The Switchgrass Bike Trail begins at the trailhead in the Switchgrass parking lot of the Hell Creek State Park area. The trail winds for about 24 miles through the pristine Smoky Hills grasslands along the shores of one of Kansas’ most scenic lakes. Novice riders will enjoy an easy, but beautiful ride of just more than 5 miles.
The Switchgrass Trail is the product of an all-volunteer effort by local mountain bike enthusiasts and the Kansas Trail Council (KTC). It started in 1994 as a 6-mile loop built by a group of local mountain bikers from Great Bend. Since 2004, it has been one of 17 trails coordinated and maintained by the KTC. In 2006, a Federal Recreational Trails Program grant was used to extend the Switchgrass Trail and purchase equipment.
The International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit educational association with a mission to create, enhance and preserve great mountain biking experiences. The Kansas Trails Council is also a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting the development and enjoyment of Kansas trails.
Image courtesy Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism