Loop Trail? Yes
Type: Fitness Trail, Nature Trail
Agency: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Entry Fee? No
The Outlet Campground Trail System is free of charge to the public.
Parking Fee? No Allowed Uses:
Bicycling (on pavement)
Bicycling (off pavement)
Dogs - On leash
Location: The Outlet Campground Trail System is located inside the Outlet Campground on Melvern Lake near Melvern, Kansas.
Directions from Topeka: Take Hwy 75 South from Topeka for 39.8 miles. Take the Melvern/K31 exit. From the off ramp, turn right onto Melvern Lake Parkway. The Outlet Park entrance is the first road on the right.
Directions from I35/Beto Junction: Take Hwy 75 North towards Topeka for 6.7 miles. Take the Melvern/K31 exit. From the off ramp, turn right onto Melvern Lake Parkway. The Outlet Park entrance is the first road on the right.
The Outlet Campground Trail System is composed of three individual trails intertwined to provide a little over three miles of outdoor recreational trails to campers as well as the community of Osage County. This trail system provides a half-mile of paved surface accessible to the physically challenged in addition to another two and a half miles of compacted soil and smooth chert rock trail.
At the head of the trail, the Marais de Cygnes Self-Guided Nature Trail allows visitors to explore the entire oxbow that exists as a result of the Melvern Dam construction. This portion of the trail system includes the half-mile paved surface which also houses local tree identification plaques at the base of several trees along the route that add to visitor education. Connected to the paved trail are another half mile of chert gravel paths meandering around the aforementioned oxbow and eventually connecting to the Outlet River Pond Trail. The one mile MDC Self-Guided Nature Trail features several bluebird houses that are managed in partnership with the Boy Scouts of America.
The MDC Self-Guided Nature Trail conjoins to the Outlet River Pond Trail near the entrance of the campground’s C Loop. The Outlet River Pond Trail consists of a mile and a half stretch of chert gravel path outlining the Outlet Campground’s River Pond. This portion of the trail interconnects with several sanitary facilities and allows fishermen, hikers, and bicyclists’ safe access to the river pond shoreline and other park features.
At the northeast corner of the Outlet River Pond, the River Pond Trail connects with the River Bottom Trail. The Outlet Campground’s River Bottom Trail is a three-quarter mile primitive trail that passes through an area representative of the river biosphere. Much of this portion of the trail is a compacted soil footpath only, but connects to the wider chert gravel of the Outlet River Pond Trail. The River Bottom Trail houses the second and third trailhead of this system located in the C Loop of Outlet Campground.
The Outlet Campground Trail System is perfect for a variety of activities including but not limited to hiking, jogging and biking. With much of the trail layered in smaller chert gravel, it allows for easy navigation and a solid surface to recreate on. In 2019, the Lyndon High School provided 80 sophomores for a volunteer work day in appreciation of hosting their annual Lyndon Schools Cross Country meet in the Outlet Park and on the Outlet Campground Trail System. The trails are also used heavily in the heart of the recreation season by campers in the park. Located along the trail are two playgrounds and several sanitary facilities available for our visitor’s convenience.
Primary Surface: Crushed Rock
Secondary Surface: Concrete
Maximum Grade: 30%
Elevation Low Point: 971
Elevation High Point: 1,002
Elevation Gain (cumulative): Not Available
Year Designated: 2020
Supporting Webpages and DocumentsBrochure: Brochure
Website: Melvern Lake Homepage
For more information and current conditions, contact the trail manager (listed below). For questions, suggestions, and corrections to information listed on the website, contact American Trails.
Natural Resource Manager
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
31051 Melvern Lake Parkway
Melvern, KS 66510
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