Topeka: Horsethief Canyon

This 4.4-miler mixes prairie with rolling wooded hills, scenic bluffs, and sandstone hoodoos in Kanopolis State Park, the first state park in Kansas.
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This 4.4-miler mixes prairie with rolling wooded hills, scenic bluffs, and sandstone hoodoos in Kanopolis State Park, the first state park in Kansas.

-Mapped by Jon Conard

Trail Facts

  • Distance: 7.1

Waypoints

Cave

Location: 38.677235, -97.993369

©Jon Conard

Howling On Rock

Location: 38.674751, -98.002281

©Jon Conard

High Water Crossing

Location: 38.675842, -98.003891

©Jon Conard

Rock Outcropping

Location: 38.675941, -98.002754

©Jon Conard

View of Kanopolis Lake

Location: 38.67963, -98.001244

©Jon Conard

Gate At Trail Junction

Location: 38.678408, -98.010943

©Jon Conard

Red Rocks

Location: 38.681877, -98.006149

©Jon Conard

Sandstone Bluffs

Location: 38.679362, -98.005493

©Jon Conard

HTC001

Location: 38.671958, -97.999485

Head NNE on the Buffalo Tracks Canyon Trail

HTC002

Location: 38.677235, -97.993627

Look behind scraggy bushes for a small cave carved into the sandstone bluffs; swing W and wrap around bluff point into the adjacent canyon

HTC003

Location: 38.681221, -98.000122

Stream crossing; at sundown, coyote yelps echo inside the canyon

HTC004

Location: 38.67963, -98.001544

Vantage between canyons offers almost clear views to Kanopolis Lake

HTC005

Location: 38.681839, -98.006248

These 12-foot-tall sandstone hoodoos belong in southern Utah, not central Kansas

HTC006

Location: 38.678374, -98.011158

Swing L, heading S on Horsethief Trail

HTC007

Location: 38.675941, -98.003128

Keep straight @ T near large rock formations

HTC008

Location: 38.675251, -98.00164

Use huge, sturdy beaver dam to cross swollen creek with deep pools

HTC009

Location: 38.6758, -98.000549

Continue E @ junction

HTC010

Location: 38.675752, -97.999367

When the water level is more than shin-high, it's best to leave trail briefly here and head SE to cross stream on second beaver dam. Then swing back upstream to rejoin the main, well-marked trail.

HTC011

Location: 38.67556, -97.99881

Carefully cross log-jammed stream again; turn R and head S to trailhead