Switchgrass

--
SHARES
  
AVERAGE RATING
*****
4.81 out of 5
View Topo Map

Intermediate
22
miles

Singletrack
↑ 3,700 ft
↓ 2,700 ft
1,557
elevation (ft)

Loop
Trail Description
About this trail
The mountain bike trail is a clockwise stacked loop system. It begins at the trailhead (go left at kiosk) in Switchgrass Campground with the Golden Belt Loop (aka, gold), then the Marina Loop (aka, purple), and finally the Hell Creek Loop (aka, red). If you wanted to ride all the loops in order, you’d ride Gold – Purple – Red – Purple – Gold. Begin at the trailhead on the Gold, then intersect with the Purple, then ride the Red. After completing the Red, you get back on the Purple. Completing that, you are back on the Gold. That’s about 22 miles all of which is great singletrack. If needed, the trail is never far from a bailout to a paved road back to the trailhead. Plan on 2-4 hrs depending on biking skill and how much sightseeing you might want to do. The loop record for racing is 1:40.
The novice level (EZ) loop is a 2-mi clockwise loop or 5-mi if you add the optional Bird Loop. EZ also starts and ends at the Switchgrass trailhead (go right at kiosk). It is non-technical with no climbs, no deep sand, and very few rocks. It is about a 20-40 minute ride suitable for beginners. But, EZ is a genuine mountain bike trail, so don’t expect a paved path!
Runners and hikers, if you want to try an awesome 3-mile section, start under the west end of the Hell Creek bridge, and do the Hell Creek loop. Any of the remainder of the trail system is also great for running or hiking. Just remember that bikes go clockwise and foot traffic goes counterclockwise. Watch out for trail user traffic, and be very cautious making the 4 pavement crossings within the park.
This trail has some technically difficult sections in all the loops (except EZ). Most of the trail is moderate to easy, but there are several rocky sections, deep sand, arduous climbs, highly exposed ledges, and steep drops. On average, the trail is rated blue (intermediate riders), but there are black (expert only) sections interspersed, and an ample amount of green (any rider).
The trail is open year-around, spring and fall are best, but there are many great days for riding in the winter and early mornings are spectacular for riding in the summer months. Many sections of the trail are very close to the lake shore, which can make for a refreshing stop during the summer. There is no drinking water or restroom on the trail, except at the Trailhead. All park restrooms have showers, but are closed October-March. Cell phone coverage is about 75%.
Short cutting the trail will almost certainly result in exposure to poison ivy, which can cause an allergic reaction even in winter. If you stay on the trail, you need not worry about poison ivy. Pets are allowed on the trail but must be under control at all times. If you encounter a maintenance issue on the trail that needs attention, please call the trail coordinator.
If you want to observe natural beauty amongst the rust-colored Cretaceous Dakota Sandstone cliffs and outcrops, this trail is the place. The park was created from former grazing land and on this trail you’ll see many limestone fence posts that are historical remnants of the early ranching era of this land. Furthermore, private land just outside the park is still actively used for cattle ranching. Southshore Drive meanders through spectacularly scenic native rangeland and a favorite of local motorcycle tourists.
Watch out for wildlife in the summer, particularly herptiles on the trail – the ornate box turtle, horned lizard, racerunner, skink, legless lizard, collared lizard, and several species of snakes are all common during warm weather. Rattlesnakes are present in the park, most are a petite species known as the massasauga or pigmy rattler. It is unlawful to harass, kill, or injure wildlife in the park. Take care not to run over any critters on the trail.
You might also see wild turkey, deer, bobwhite quail, pheasant, red-tailed hawk, and many species of grassland songbirds such as larks and sparrows. The wildflowers and grasses are a spectacular part of the park’s natural landscape. Every season is different. Wildflowers show a constant progression of colors from early spring to late fall. Winter colors are vibrant rusts, browns, and golds set against the blue water of the lake. The Switchgrass Trail is named after a native prairie grass that is common throughout the central and eastern plains. Switchgrass grows abundantly in the park and has gained national attention as a prospective source of cellulosic ethanol.
The best source of info on the trail is http://www.facebook.com/switchgrasstrail
added by dmbernasconiGranny Gear July 10, 2009
Trail Features
Trail features
  • Lift Service
  • Drinking Water
  •   Night Riding
  • Pump Track
  • Restrooms
  • Winter Fat Biking
Directions to Trailhead
Get Directions
loading...
Create a free Singletracks account to get directions to this trail.

Trail Q&A
Rider Questions
 
Please login or create an account to ask a question.
Recommended Trails
Recommended Trails
Monarch Crest Trail
Heritage Park
Porcupine Rim
Local Info & Nearby Trails
Trail Check-ins
Trail Check-ins
what's this?
Recent Trail Check-ins     (31 total check-ins)
  tikigoddess   on Jun 30, 2015
  tikigoddess   on Jun 27, 2015
  Niko Rivera   on Jun 25, 2015
  snakeshredz   on May 31, 2015
  bpownall   on May 15, 2015
Photo & Video Gallery (113)
Trail Photos & Videos (113)
 
Reviews (37)
 

Granny Gear

July 11, 2015
asparks65 Granny Gear  
 
Review: Nice trail. Nothing super about it but I was impressed that Kansas has a nice single track trail. It flows in and out and all over itself. Plenty of lava like rocks that will test your technical riding. Not sure it's up to the IMBA epic status though. If you're in the area it's definitely worth stopping as its close by the interstate. The campground is really nice and there are free showers (after you pay the $5 gate fee) to use after your ride if you're traveling!
If you're a racer you could knock the 22 miles out in 90min or so. It's an easy 2hr ride nonetheless. Kudos to the trail builders and maintenance peeps!

ReplyWas this helpful? Yes | No



Granny Gear

July 5, 2015
dmcewin Granny Gear  
 
Review: Awesome trail system. Spent the 4th weekend out there. Everyone was super friendly thanks to the park ranger for giving a ride back to the truck. Had a ruff weekend on the bike. 3 flats after I busted my bead off my tubeless. Some bigger drops than I would have liked my first time around. But would tackle almost all of them next time.

ReplyWas this helpful? Yes | No



Bunny Hop

June 25, 2015
 
Review: I only give this 4 stars because I can only imagine some trails could be better and I haven't ridden that many places. That said, this course is difficult and very technical at times, i probably stepped off/took a break around 10 times but it super fun and worth it. Some areas are difficult, but you can always walk them. Other sections flow for a long time, with some lovely riding along ridges that overlook the lake. This trail was pretty badass overall, we just camped on the lake that night... It also sheds water pretty quickly, we rode it in mist/light rain/over-cast weather but the trail held up fine

Similar Trail: Fall River

ReplyWas this helpful? Yes | No



Granny Gear

June 15, 2015
getgreedy Granny Gear  
 
Review: EPIC is right! Wow. This trail (particularly the rock garden) kicks my A**. This trail is a blast and incredibly scenic along the waters edge. You ride on top of sandstone bluffs 20 plus feet above the lake. Great views and good times. There are 3 plus foot rock drops keep you on alert. Incredible trail for Kansas.

ReplyWas this helpful? Yes | No



Bunny Hop

June 1, 2015
floSoulo Bunny Hop  
 
Review: What a surprise! Didn't show up to Hell Creek for the biking, but it was outstanding! Climb and flow down hills with a near empty, rolling horizon. There were some rocky spots with drops too big for my body, I mean Bike! I'm sure with time, I'd challenge it. This destination is definitely worth the tedious drive if you stay a couple days.

ReplyWas this helpful? Yes | No



Trailblazer


April 6, 2015
tidwe255 Trailblazer  
 
Review: The trail has a good mix of technical and flow. There are some exposed drop offs which makes riding challenging and fun. I never knew Kansas would have this terrain. Thoroughly enjoyed this trail and will return if I'm in the area

ReplyWas this helpful? Yes | No



Bunny Hop

January 15, 2015
shockerdad Bunny Hop  
 
Review: Ridden 1/15/15. Snow in places, wet and slippery in places but bone dry where the sun shines.

ReplyWas this helpful? Yes | No



Gramcounter


December 23, 2014
b699305 Gramcounter  
 
Review: Fun trail, stay to the left at all the intersections to do full ride.

ReplyWas this helpful? Yes | No



Trailblazer


December 16, 2014
ryno131 Trailblazer  
 
Review: My favorite trail in Kansas. I have three younger boys, and this is where they want to go riding every weekend.

ReplyWas this helpful? Yes | No



Gramcounter


December 1, 2014
b699305 Gramcounter  
 
Review: Was really nice trail. Great for all levels of riding. The signs can be a little confusing, but no chance of ever getting lost. I learned stay to left at the trails for the full ride. Nice place, will return. Make sure to have $5 for parking.

ReplyWas this helpful? Yes | No


Switchgrass MTB Trail 4.81 out of 5 based on 37 ratings. 37 user reviews.
Trail Conditions
Trail Conditions          < / > embed
Loading...