The state of Kansas conjures up images of wind-swept wheat fields stretching as far as the eye can see, a majestic beauty that hums with reverence, the bread basket to a hungry nation. But Kansas is also the gateway to the wild, dry, rugged west, with craggy, inhospitable, moon-bathed landscapes populated by jackrabbits, elk, sidewinders, and coyote.
You'll find stunning, illogical rock formations here, wind-sculpted, silent storytellers, marking their time in the sun and keeping their secrets close to home. The Carnahan Creek Park Trail is a testimonial to a nation born in the east with the unstoppable urge to flee to the west. It is owned by the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, which reacted to the Great Flood of 1951 by building the dam that created Tuttle Creek Lake.
Once a flood-prone thread of water five miles north of Manhattan, Kansas, now the second largest lake in the state covering about 1,200 acres with a huge, recreational masterpiece, ripe for boating, dreaming, fishing, swimming or just sitting there holding its own. While this is heaven for dogs, there are some realistic caveats that should be taken into consideration.
If you are hiking a backcountry trail, you might want to bring water, because beyond the confines of the reservoir-oasis is a harsh and arid countryside. In addition, there are some gnarly wildlife in the area, already mentioned, and many equestrians who appreciate it when dogs keep their distance.
Furthermore, the Tuttle Creek State Park, which encompasses this trail system, is a popular hunting grounds, so you may want to dress your dog – and yourself – in bright orange or some other color that distinguishes you and woof from the mule deer, elk or pheasants that the hunters are aiming at.
It turns out, the black bear and grizzlies that ones roamed the area long ago took their leave of Kansas, fed up with all those monotonous acres of unappetizing wheat, no doubt. No question, your woof will love it here. Not many people, curious, craggy rock formations, no leashes, just run and play.