Latest Kansas City District Info



       RULES & TIPS

Tuttle Creek lands and waters are subject to Federal rules and regulations under CFR Title 36.  Copies of Title 36 are posted on bulletin boards and available from a ranger, or the Visitor center.  Additional rules may apply for leased areas (e.g. state parks).  The following is a partial list of rules provided to address common trail related questions and concerns.

  • There is no fee or permit required for using trails or trailhead parking, unless using a trail within a state park managed area (River Pond, Cedar Ridge, Randolph, Fancy Creek).
  • Motorized equipment is not permitted on these trails.  Check out the link on our homepage for “Off-Road Vehicles” to learn more about areas designated for motorized use.
  • Horses are permitted on the Randolph and Carnahan trail systems only.
  • Trailside or “back country” camping is not permitted.  Camping is only permitted in designated areas (campgrounds).

  • Pets must be physically restrained at all times by a 6 ft. lease while at trailheads and within developed park areas (Outlet Park, Observation Point, River Pond, Cedar Ridge).
  • Parking can be limited at trailheads.  Please park in designated spaces.
  • All trails are located in park areas and hunting is not permitted.  However, we encourage users to know the hunting seasons and be safe, wear orange or bright colored clothing regardless – especially in undeveloped areas (Carnahan, Randolph, Fancy Creek).
  • Dumping of human and animal wastes on project lands or into project waters is prohibited.  Please plan ahead and use the facilities provided and clean up after your pet/horse.
  • Do not disturb wildlife, historical archeological or paleontological sites.


  • Water may not be available – especially in winter.  Carry water and emergency supplies, even on short hikes.
  • Some trails are not readily accessible and cell phone coverage is limited.  Use caution, plan ahead, and tell others of your travel plans.
  • Buddy up, reduce your vulnerability during an accident.

Stay on trails, even if it’s rough or muddy.  Walking on track edges and cutting switchbacks increases damage, causes erosion and visual scarring

Blue River Nature Trail

Blue River Nature Trail –

The Blue River Nature Trail offers trekkers the opportunity to observe three distinct ecosystems within a short walk: riparian, forest, and wetland.  Waterfowl, turtles, beavers, songbirds, and the occasional Bald Eagle are just a few of the animals that call the BRT home.

Location:  This trail is located in Outlet Park, near Shelter #3.  From Manhattan, KS take Tuttle Creek Blvd. (US 24) north approximately 5 miles.  Turn right into Outlet Park, staying to the left onto River Pond Road.  Follow the road around the outlet basin (‘tubes’).  The trail is at the back of the Shelter #3 parking lot.  A map is located at the trailhead.

Distance: ½ mile

Type: loop (open to non-motorized use, no horses)

Rating: easy

Terrain: flat

Surface: woodchips and dirt

Text Box: Wayside exhibit at Blue River Trailhead

Ecosystem: Riparian, forest and wetland with some meadows.

Features: Trailside exhibits, river views, wildlife viewing opportunities, great for kids!  Water, restrooms, and a playground located near trailhead.

Observation Point Nature Trail

Observation Point Nature Trail

The Observation Point Nature Trail explores the tallgrass prairie ecosystem.  Trailside exhibits highlight components of habitat along the trail.  The OPT is perfect for kids and persons looking for a short walk thru mature grass stands.  Don’t forget to check out the overlook which provides a commanding view of the lake, dam, and surrounding Flinthills!

Location: This trail is located at the Observation Point.  From Manhattan, KS take Tuttle Creek Blvd. (US 24) north approximately 5 miles.  Turn right onto K-13 Hwy towards the dam.  Take the first left onto Tuttle Cove Road (897), then an immediate right into Observation Point.  The trailhead is located near the picnic shelter at the top of the hill.

Distance: 1 mile

Type: loop (open to non-motorized use, no horses)

Rating: easy

Terrain: flat to moderate slope

Surface: mowed grass and some gravel

Ecosystem: tallgrass prairie

Features: Trailside exhibits, lake and dam views, wildlife viewing opportunities, great for kids!  No water available.