Gravel Road Riding

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Location: Overland Park, KS

Gravel Road Riding

Post by safiri »

To add to the posts detailing off-road areas, here are links to county maps for several midwestern states. Troy, Safiri, and others on this site used to ride lots of Kansas gravel. I personally really like the Flint Hills region, and it dries quickly. If it has been dry for a while, NE KS is beautiful as well.

Check out this large file of GPS waypoints to interesting things in KS and MO! (Thanks, ajayhawkfan!)

Use the "half-inch" maps. All KS counties can be downloaded here: ... b6a2d584f1
I talk a bit about using these maps here:

(In the past, Troy and Safiri have both found the MO maps to be out-of-date ... like 1950s out of date.)

No experience with these.

Nebraska ... tymaps.htm
No experience with these.

Arkansas ... _maps.aspx
Troy has limited experience with these--appear to be fairly accurate. Lots of detail.

Oklahoma ... /index.htm
No experience with these.

Colorado ... uType=Maps
(Zip folder of all created ~3 years ago: ... Hard to use, not much experience using these.
Safiri Mike
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Re: WHERE to ride

Post by Snowman »

Creekside wrote:Great list.

Can we start one on scenic dirt/gravel roads very close to the greater KC area? Stuff we can hit on the long way home?
So I wanted the same thing. Ridable stuff in the General vicinity that didn't require 5 hours in the saddle to reach. I couldn't really find anything so until something better comes along, I just decided to build the list myself. I live in Olathe so currently my maps are biased to the KS side since that's where most of my sub 2 hour riding is taking place.

Here is my current list as of 10-24-16. These are separated into rough areas so it's easier to find what you are looking for. Just copy the link to somewhere it's easy for you to find and then click on it when you're getting ready to ride and it will bring up all the routes for that area inside of google maps. I would recommend you download the google maps app, which is free so you can use the navigation features.

WARNING: I haven't driven all of these routes. I scroll around on google earth and try and find squiggly roads and then highlight them. I don't know if they are gravel or paved (although most of the ones I've driven on are gravel). I have tried to make sure that I don't draw any dead ends but drive these routes at your own peril. That said, all the ones I have driven on have been great.

I have started putting "pins" at the beginning and end of each route so that it's easy to click on them as a destination and google will take you turn by turn to the highlighted route. I haven't done that on all of them but you can (at least I can with the iPhone 6) push down on a the screen for a second or two and it will drop a pin at that location and then use that as a point to navigate to.

I have tried to figure out how to easily get google to do turn by turn directions on a route and so far it's been a pain so you'll have to either setup your own waypoints or just try and keep an eye on your progress as you go. Good luck. Have fun:

Central Kansas: ... wW37kcwvzQ

KC Area (Mostly on Kansas Side...for now!) ... Ewi6WWAxjI
Olathe, KS
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Re: Gravel Road Riding

Post by Creekside »

I kind of replied to this same stuff on your other thread. I can post some routes. I might lead something out west following weekend.

I find stuff by just riding a lot. On google the road can appear nice and you get there, its a mess. Stop go back and try it. And last years cool rugged run is now a slick 3" deep gravel perfectly flat. You never really know.

On google maps - I looking for twisty yes, but often "dark thin lines" that are less visible than other gravel roads are the key to min maintenance roads in Kansas. The first roads that disappear as you zoom out on google maps are ones you need to check out. Any road that disappears first in Alma area is a good one! Carlson, Little Egypt, Christy, Divide, Box Turtle,...notice roads like Rockton, Skyline Boothill don't disappear as you zoom out. A good example of this is go east of Alma in google terrain mode on Skyline Rd. Find Christy. Zoom in and out and notice how Christy disappears but Skyline and Boothill don't. Those are main gravel roads. Christy, Divide, Box, Rockton no. You can do the same thing west of Alma with Linbergh road. Anything near that disappears when Linbergh does might be a "two track" road, like Bunnytrail or Little Egypt. Zoom in and look at the gravel, the best are just two tracks or dirty brown, rough looking. Not shiny white. Connect those and your off.

You do have to make some guesses. Sometimes the "drawn white line on google" road really is just a field road that dead ends on both sides in the woods between even with street signs. But if "reasonable" tracks come out both ends to the next 4 corners , even if the stream has no bridge or goes hidden in trees and looks at least worn, its probably good to go or try it at least. Solo, well, you have to make sure you can turn around at any point and get that 500# bike muscled around. If your not sure and it comes out to a house, make sure you approach the house from behind. Best to be moving past the house on the way out, not putt putting in trying to decide to go or not while they watch.
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