Wichita’s bike path system is a great way to get out and explore the city. The wide paths are perfect for cycling, walking or running, and the City recently put up signs at nearly every corner and crossing, so it’s fairly easy to follow. The signs are marked with mileage, so you can plan the perfect route for a leisurely walk or a nice long run. The path itself is marked with a white bicycle stamp and arrows directing you at every turn.
In northeast Wichita, the most popular sections is the K-96 bike path, which runs about eight miles along Highway K-96 between Hillside and the intersection of 127th Street East and Greenwich. The Canal Bike Trail runs along the Canal Route (Interstate 135) from East 17th Street North into the south part of Wichita.
Where to Park to Access the Path
Chisholm Creek Park has two big parking lots right next to the bike path. Access is from Oliver, just south of K-96. There’s also a park on Hillside, south of K-96. Otherwise, there are business lots that may allow parking between Rock and Webb, at Greenwich and K-96, and near Central and 127th Street East.
Central and 127th Street East to Greenwich and K-96
This section of the bike path has been recently resurfaced, so you can enjoy a smooth ride or run. Although it runs along K-96 Highway, a fence and plenty of distance keeps cyclists, runners and walkers safe from vehicle traffic. The road is also at a lower elevation for most of this stretch, so those using the path can enjoy a wide, scenic view.
You’ll have to cross East 13th and 21st Streets, but both are protected by traffic signals so you don’t have to worry about dodging cars to get across the road. Between 13th and 21st Streets, the highway is elevated, and a small stream runs underneath it in one area. There are also a couple of benches that are perfect for taking a short break. If you need access to water and restrooms, there’s a gas station at Central and 127th Street East.
Greenwich and K-96 to Chisholm Creek Park (Woodlawn and K-96)
This stretch of the bike path requires more attention as a rider or pedestrian, because it includes making a couple of turns and crossing three busy roads: Webb, Rock and Woodlawn. Thanks to the City of Wichita’s Bicycle Master Plan, each crossing is well-marked and has traffic signals. There’s a gas station right next to the path at Rock Road, if you need snacks, drinks or a restroom. Between Rock and Webb, the path is actually a sidewalk, most of which is back in an office park that gets very little traffic on the weekends.
Chisholm Creek Park to Hillside
One of the most scenic sections of the K-96 bike path takes you through Chisholm Creek Park, on the north end of the Great Plains Nature Center, and along the edge of a residential area. It’s not unusual to see turkeys and deer in this area, so keep an eye out! There are restrooms and a drinking fountain in Chisholm Creek Park right next to the path, and there’s a park with a drinking fountain on the west side of Hillside.
Hillside to the Canal Bike Trail
If you follow the bike path west from Hillside, you’ll go around a park and past a football field where you may be able to see area kids playing on a Saturday afternoon. There are restrooms just south of this field. As you keep heading south, you’ll come to Dr. Glen Dey Park, where the path heads west around the edge of a neighborhood. This starts the section of the bike path that can be seen from I-135.
The path takes you through a residential area for a couple of blocks, then past a school and church before you come out on East 21st Street North. The path follows the sidewalk on 21st street for about a block, to the east side of the Interstate. From there you’ll head back to the south and ride, run or walk parallel to the highway for about a mile. Once you get to East 17th Street North, the path runs underneath or just next to the Canal Route (I-135) for about 6 miles. North of Kellogg, the elevated highway provides shade on sunny days, and McAdams Park is right next to the highway, if you need restrooms and water fountains. On a hot summer day, pack your swimsuit and stop for a dip in the pool while you’re there!