“A fun, easy 5-mile hike though Prairie Oaks Metro Park with views of the river and some stream crossings.”
— Nick Kiger
Birding · Lake · River/Creek · Wildflowers · Wildlife
This hike will take you from gravel to grass to dirt singletrack all in the same hike. This is a perfect hike to experience all of these different types of terrain. There are a few simple climbs, but overall, it is a pretty easy hike. There is a good mix of hiking through canopy and through the open prairie.
You start this hike at the Prairie View picnic area and take the Darby Creek Greenway Trail
towards the Coneflower Trail
. You'll swing onto the Coneflower Trail
where there will be a majority grass trail. This part of the hike can be muddy and wet after a rain, with some of the trail flooded.
This trail crosses the Bridle Trail several times, but it is clearly marked so you'll have no trouble staying on the right trail. Towards the end, you'll come to a point where you take the Bridle Trail out of this loop back to the Greenway Trail where you'll cross a bridge and immediately find the Alder Trail
to the right. Take this connector to the Sycamore Plains Trail
and take the first right.
At this loop, you'll find singletrack and a few stream crossings. You'll come to a point where the trail splits. Head right to follow the sign to parking. This will take you up a short hill to some open prairie hiking. Follow this trail, keeping left until you come to the parking lot. Here, you'll stay left and continue to complete the loop taking you back to the Alder Trail
where you'll retrace the beginning of your hike to take you back to Prairie View.
Flora & Fauna
Turtles, snakes, whitetail deer.