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Tags:
Level: Advanced
Length: 5 mi (8 km)
Surface: Singletrack
Configuration: Loop
Elevation: +179/175 ft
Total: 48 riders
 

Mountain Biking Fancy Creek State Park

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#20 of 78 mountain bike trails in Kansas
#3072 in the world

One review on another site says this is "...definitely the best (trail) west of Perry Lake and all the way to Colorado...". It is honest-to-goodness technical singletrack that one would not generally expect to find in Kansas. As a Colorado native and resident I was reminded of home on several portions of this trail; switchbacks, loose rocky descents, quick abrupt climbs, rock gardens, ledges, and multiple water crossings. The trail offers something for everyone from Beginner to Advanced.
Recommend taking the "north" trailhead from the parking lot (eg: heading counterclockwise along the loop). One will jog through a dense and twisty cedar forest which eventually gives way to lush green "valleys" and water crossings in the lower lying areas. Expect some mud, rock gardens, and tall ledges. At about 4 miles you will climb a loose rocky section that takes you up to the surrounding plateau with great views of Tuttle Reservoir to the east. Descend back down through some more forest and come out at the other end of the parking lot. Along the trail you'll see markers indicating distance. Though rare, depending on trail maintenance, the lower areas may be covered by high grass and growth making it difficult to see the trail in spots. At roughly midpoint the trail branches, choose left to stay on the loop. The trail also crosses the narrow road leading to/from the Fancy Creek Campground in two spots. Watch for cars and drivers not used to seeing bikers. Also, might be wise to check for ticks after the ride based on personal experience...

Before you go
  • No Drinking water 
  • No E-bikes permitted 
  • No Fat biking allowed in winter 
  • No Fee required 
  • No Lift service 
  • No Night riding allowed 
  • No Pump track 
  • No Restrooms 
Getting there
From Manhattan take Hwy 24 (aka Tuttle Creek Blvd.) north out of town for several miles. Hwy. 24 will branch off to the west after a ways and turn into Hwy. 77 which continues north, follow Hwy. 77. Immediately after passing the small town of Randolph on the right turn right (east) onto Hwy. 16. The park is approximately 2 miles to the east. The entrance is on the left side of the street IMMEDIATELY before the bridge that crosses over Tuttle Creek Reservoir (eg: the park is on the west side of the lake not on the east). If you go over the bridge you've gone too far. The trailhead is on the right side of the park entrance road just past a "pay station" on the left and down an unassuming dirt road w/ the sign "trailhead"... At the time of this entry it costs $4.50 for a day use parking permit. To avoid this, park in Randolph and bike up to the trailhead (only 1.5 mostly flat miles at most)...
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captbubbaert (on Oct 12, 2019)
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Mountain Bike Trails Near Manhattan, Kansas

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Expert | 1 mi
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Intermediate | 9 mi

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  • LynnJack16
    *****

    Hello~

    There is a facebook group dedicated to coordinating trail maintenance around Manhattan: https://www.facebook.com/groups/MHKTrails/ (Manhattan Trail Works). They have group work days and are willing to loan out the tools if you just want to go it alone on your own schedule.

    They were actually just at Fancy Creek this last weekend.

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  • tacomaguy123
    ****

    Pretty nice trail. Not as flowy as what im used to but florida is way different from kansas. Closest and deffintly most exciting trail near ft. Riley

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  • lfulmer35
    ****

    By far the most technical trail in the area. Definitely a few experts problems along the trail.

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  • snakeshredz
    ****

    I would rank this as an intermediate for a majority of the trail. Although there are a handful of tricky technical parts that will challenge anyone. After riding both directions of the loop I would recommend going counterclockwise for less climbing and more downhill. Lots of rocks and roots throughout the trail. Definitely one of the more challenging trails around.

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  • tracyclifton
    ****

    This was our first ride at this trail. the trail is in very good condition. There are a few spots where the rocks are all but impossible to navigate. However, even pushing through a few spots and up a few tough short climbs doesn't take away from the overall good experience of the trail.

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  • John Fisch
    ****

    Wow! What a shock to find this little gem on the Kansas Prairie! Rocks, rocks, and more rocks--usually at odd angles and laying before you a major challenge of just picking a line, let alone riding it all clean. The climbs are short, but steep and some of the quick descents run straight down the fall line. Not much flow in most places, more like a trials type ride, but all doable by a confident rider with good balance. Also adding to the fun is that this trail is in deep, dark woods, making you completely forget the hundreds of miles of flat, treeless prairie which surround you. Along with Switchgrass, this is one of Kansas' two "must rides."

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  • mooreoutdoors88
    ****

    This trail is everything it claims to be and more! A super technical system, host to multiple rock gardens, steep inclines, and big ledges, this system is a technical dream. Only a few places to really get speed, so if you are a lover of huge speed like I am, this trail will disappoint. Not a bad rating at all though because it doesn't claim to be for speed.

    I will definitely be getting a bit more practice before heading back to hit this again, but it was thoroughly enjoyed :)

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  • mtphs
    *****

    Went to Manhattan for a football game, we brought the bikes just for the heck of it. I wont lie, I was blown away by the quality of this trail. I was expecting a joke and this one is moderately technical. I ride the Colorado Trail between BV and Mt. Princeton Hot Springs nearly daily after work and was kind of joking on the way to the trail head....this has to be one of the best trails in midwest. Only downfall is tons of large spiders and pretty short.

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  • markgowan
    ****

    This is a great trail! I live in Colorado, and it was nice doing this trail because the climbs (yes there are climbs) were less, were shorter, but still got you huffing! Scenery was great; layout was great; there was enough technical to keep it interesting. I recommend doing the trail in both directions for very different experiences. Issues: chiggers and ticks, and the trail is short.

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  • rockie08
    *****

    im no pro but i this trail put me on the map for riding every where i go, too short to be better than colorado but i would probaly say just as technical. best trail in kansas period.

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