Big Bull Creek Park is about a 40-minute drive on I-35 from downtown Kansas City, Kansas. It is one of the newer and largest parks at the southwest edge of neighboring Johnson County, Kansas, between Edgerton and Gardner. The park focuses on nature-based learning, play, and prairie restorations. The first part of the area’s redevelopment opened in 2018 with 20 miles of walking trails, 23 acres of off-leash dog park, an observation tower, and an archery range.
The main park address is 213th Street East of Spoon Creek Road, but the whole 2,060-acre park has multiple entrances and parking lots. The other entrance is at 199th Street and Four Corners Road. A three-quarter-mile paved trail is handicapped accessible, and the rest of the park has hiking and mountain bike trails and an equestrian trail. The area also features an 18-hole disc golf course.
The picnic area next to the main parking lot has two shelters with 15 tables and a charcoal grill, electric outlets, drinking fountains, and restrooms. A camp area for non-profit organizations is available by reservation only (913) 831-3359. For combined park police and maintenance compound Park Police dispatch, call (913) 782-0720
Big Bull Park is located where the town of Lanesfield, Kansas once stood. This town had an important role in antebellum history. The banks of Bull Creek witnessed one of the first battles in 1856 against a pro-slavery group from Missouri. The anti-slavery group led by James H Lane, even though greatly outnumbered, managed to drive them out of town and back to Westport, Missouri, by strategically placing his men in such a way that the group seemed much larger. The town of Lanesfield was established in 1858 in honor of James H Lane, who personally oversaw its construction. Within one year, the town had reached a population of 100 people. Located alongside the Santa Fe Trail, it also became a Pony Express stop. The town had a hotel, three stores, a blacksmith shop, and three churches. The city declined after the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railroad was built near Edgerton, only two miles away. By 1872, the town was gone, and only the old schoolhouse remains to this day. The school is open to visitors periodically, usually in the fall, for events including historical enactments.
Old Lanesfiled schoolhouse from 1859 at Lanesfield Historic Site that includes the schoolhouse, four outbuildings, and a modern visitors center.
The hiking trail follows an old dry creek.
Open fields are covered with beautiful prairie flowers and are attractive in all seasons.
Nature creates art objects.
If you visit the area in the right season, you can find amazing mushrooms. These are Chicken of the woods (Laetiporus Cincinnatus), which is edible.
Between the parking lot and the hiking trail are covered picnic shelters, nature playground areas, and interpretive areas.
Kansas trail guide: the best hiking, biking, and riding in the Sunflower State by Jonathan Conard and Kristen Conard
Call Number: 917.8104 KANSAS 2015
Publication Date: 2023
Community Services Librarian
Kansas City, Kansas Public Library
625 Minnesota Ave.
Kansas City, KS 66101
913-295-8250 ext 1103