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Level: Intermediate
Length: 24 mi (38.6 km)
Surface: Singletrack
Configuration: Network
Elevation: +512/484 ft
Total: 62 riders
 

Mountain Biking Perry Lake Bike Trail

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#9 of 78 mountain bike trails in Kansas
#1485 in the world

The Perry Lake Bike Trail is approximately 24 miles of singletrack and a couple of miles of old campground road. It was designed and built specifically for serious mountain biking (advanced skills). Most area riders describe the trail as more "physical" than "technical".
The trail consists of many hills, tight turns, off camber sections, fast and technical rocky sections. Trail rating is moderate with areas of difficult. Maps are available at the trail head.

First added by mlkramer on May 8, 2020. Last updated May 8, 2020. → add an update
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Getting there
The Perry Lake Bike Trail is located on the west side of Perry Lake, in Perry State Park, half way between Topeka and Lawrence Kansas.
From Topeka, take US Highway 24 east. Turn north on KS 237 (West Lake Road). Follow West Lake Road past the Perry State Park Office, across the bridge. Just past the bridge and marina, take the first right. There is a sign on the right says "Perry State Park Biking & Hiking Trails". Trailhead is at the end of the road on the right.
From Lawrence, take US Highway 24 west to just past Perry. Turn north on KS 237 (West Lake Road). Follow West Lake Road past the Perry State Park Office, across the bridge. Just past the bridge and marina, take the first right. There is a sign on the right says "Perry State Park Biking & Hiking Trails". Trailhead is at the end of the road on the right.
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Perry Lake Bike Trail Trail map

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Mountain Bike Trails Near Lawrence, Kansas

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Beginner | 8 mi
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Intermediate | 25 mi

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Reviews

  • Schmo   ✓ supporter
    ****

    This is only my second time out here. The record spring rain really brought everything to the surface. The rocks and roots are a bit much at times but still a fun ride. Didn't care for the loop that took me to the waters edge. Very boring and muddy. I got a late start so was only able to ride the south 10 miles. It put my legs to the test but I feel I did ok. There was quite a bit of trail work done to keep the trail clear of downed trees. Great job everyone.

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  • cjhelms
    ***

    Honestly, not a big fan of this place. It has a lot of single track to offer, but it is completely covered in endless rocks. Someone described it as riding a jackhammer, which I think is accurate. It is difficult to find a good line & for much of the trail, I question if there even is a line to ride. The uphills are short & brutal with unrewarding downhills. I give it 3 starts because I think other people, & probably the builders, actually like this kind of stuff & the trail is well maintained. If you are in for a grueling workout, this place might be for you. Regardless, with how little riding there is in Kansas, it's worth checking out. There is also just a ton of trail to ride.

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  • captbubbaert
    ****

    There are a large number of circular trails near the trail head. They are mostly flowy, but make up a confusing patchwork. That stated all trails in this area lead to the trailhead. The red and yellow trails are physically very demanding. They are not terribly technical, just constant rocks which endlessly jackhammer you and your bike. Hard to find a decent line if any. My only real complaint is that every trail map I found differs. Even the paper maps on site don't match the posted one. As a result I ended up much further north than intended. Overall the trail was a challenge to the north with great flowing trails to the south. The snow did not effect traction much.

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  • Chris Bagby
    *****

    We rode this fine trail system yesterday and did about 20 miles.Conditions were perfect and the trail was in excellent shape with no noticeable areas that needed maintenance. Very physical and hilly with numerous tight switchbacks that are all rideable if you have the gusto! Not super technical overall but there are some challenging rocky sections. Check it out if you are looking to log some miles and/or check out some new trail.

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  • Midmoab
    ****

    Had a great time riding a limited number of miles on this trail system back in June. Had an escort from a local who also built this system and he took my 18 year old on a more advanced loop [Thanks Lyle] while we enjoyed the upper loops. Rode about four or five miles consisting of good flow, some technical sections, roots and rocks. I know that there are more technical sections that we did not hit, but the upper loops [skyline, knothead, willow] were very rideable for beginners to advanced. I recommend these trails to anyone; I would drive the three hours it took us to get here to run this trail system again. Looking forward to more fun with a full day of riding!

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  • Lyle Riedy
    *****

    This is a trail for serious mtn bikers. It is a challenging trail, that is well maintained all seasons. Some area very fast and flowing others quite rough and technical but no big hits or drops. this trails is a true adventure trail with plenty of scenery.

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  • boogles
    ***

    You need to know that this is *not* the "old military trail" on the east side of the lake, but rather a newer trail system on the west side, which is where singletracks plots it--follow these directions. The older system is overgrown and not maintained (debris every ten feet), not suitable for riding, but you could hike it if you enjoy ticks, poison ivy, and bushwhacking.

    The west side is typical terrain for the area, very similar to Clinton Lake or Shawnee, but with dedicated sections for different skill levels. No true elevation around, so it's at a "lake" with turns that are unnaturally tight with occasional roller coaster grades that are short, too rocky, and too steep to enjoy for my taste, with switchbacks that badly constructed. The trails are cut wider than other places around here, so bar width is rarely an issue, except in places where a random tree is oddly left a a "feature," and a few off camber sections that hug trees on the down slope. Spider webs at face level most of the summer, and you're likely to contact poison ivy (similar to Clinton). I don't like the advanced trails here for the same reason I don't like other advanced trails in the area. No flow. The turns don't follow the terrain, so it's turn, turn, turn, turn, then hammer up something too steep and rocky if you can--but you often can't--so then it's hike a bike. Repeat. Same with downhill, very short then ruined by tight turns. The easier trails are similarly too tight. It is one of the best systems around, but the riding around here just isn't the same as out West (obviously) where I learned to ride. Better for trail running.

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  • John Fisch
    ****

    While it's not as rocky as the KC trails (Swope/Shawnee), it's plenty rocky and you will get bumped around a bit. That said, there's many miles of mostly entertaining singletrack here, much of it in the trees sheltering the rider from both sun and wind. This is actually a rather delightful ride for those willing to make the journey out here (about an hour from KC). This is a good place to rack up dirt miles, especially if you want a little variety. There are maps available at the kiosk/self pay station ($5). The literature says these trails are advanced, but there are plenty of beginner-friendly miles and the rest is mostly easy intermediate.

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  • cjsutterer
    ***

    The trail has some good technical sections with maneuvering through rocks and ledges. However the standard riding surface is extremely rocky and bumpy.

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  • getgreedy
    ***

    This trail was intermediate to advanced. Very rocky in spots which make those that like fast and flowy rides (like me) not liking the constant and rough ride (I have a full suspension). The trail is very scenic and has some very interesting spots that take skill to maneuver. This trail is loved by many in the area it just is not my type of trail.

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  • sethhppeterson
    *****

    This trail system has a wide variety of skill leveled trails. Awesome trails and very fun.

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  • tlongpine
    *****

    This is the only Kansas singletrack that is designated a National Recreation Trail. From the DOI:

    "The 30-mile trail traverses much of the historic Old Military trail from Ft. Leavenworth to Ft. Riley. This Perry Lake Trail is unique in its historic value, but it also distinctive in its geologic and topographic aspects. It is located in the northeast part of Kansas, which is the western edge of the eastern hardwoods. The trail runs through rolling hills and oak-hickory forest as well as open, native grasslands."

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  • tlongpine
    *****

    Before Switchgrass this was THE trail for Kansas MTN bikers. Technical, long, and a little off the beaten path.

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  • tlongpine
    *****

    This is a great and challenging ride. For Kansas, it's a healthy chuck of mileage.

    Underrated.

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  • Schmo   ✓ supporter
    *****

    This was only my second ride of the year . These trails will make you pay attention . I was not ready for this kind of terrain . After riding the Wild West , Great White , Mad mile , Skyline loop , I had to rest awhile . What a warm up . I rode the whole Black Forest , Twin Peeks , Carlyle , Copperhead , Logan's Run , Skyline loop . That was a real workout . I did do some walking . I really enjoyed the ride and the change in terrain . I plan on giving it another shot soon .

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  • lilyallure
    ***

    Seeing as I'm still between beginner and intermediate rides, this trail was pretty difficult for me on a physical level. There is an incredible amount of uphill work, followed by downhills that give you a lot of speed. Probably the most rocky, tree root infested trail ever! Because of the rocks and tree roots, going uphill was hard for me to maintain my momentum and thus made it a very tiring ride. Don't get me wrong, to was a fun trail to ride! I would need to ride it a couple more times before I can give a fair review since I think the first time on a new trail is always the hardest.

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  • Rlind31636
    ****

    Love this trail. It is a stop on the UFD race series and also used for the mtn bike leg of the Sunflower State Games Adventure race.

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