All routes are tentative and subject to change depending on road conditions, construction, etc. Stay tuned to our Facebook page and website for any additional changes to the routes.
There will be a catered dinner at Council Grove High School following the day’s rides. Click on the links in the titles to see the full Ride with GPS routes.
Route 1 – Road Short
Total Miles: 36
Elevation: +1186/-1186 ft
Route 2 – Road Medium
Total Miles: 55
Elevation: +1828/-1828 ft
Route 3 – Road Long
Total Paved Miles: 75
Elevation: +2345/-2345 ft
Notes on Saturday Road Routes
Saturday offers a choice of three routes with distance choices of approximately 35, 55, and 75 miles exploring the countryside to the west and north of Council Grove. While not flat, these routes are not too challenging in regards to elevation changes. Communities along these routes include Wilsey, Herington, White City, and Dwight.
The ride might be described as a journey through former rail towns as Herington, White City, and Dwight were all stops along the former Chicago, Kansas, and Nebraska Railway. In 1887, the Chicago, Kansas, and Nebraska Railway built a main line from Topeka to Herington. This line connected KVBC’s home town of Topeka with Valencia, Willard, Maple Hill, Vera, Paxico, McFarland, Alma, Volland, Alta Vista, Dwight, White City, Latimer, and Herington. Note that Council Grove was a rail town as well but that line was owned by the Missouri Pacific Railroad.
Herington has an interesting history which can be found here: Herington History. For more modern history, a look at the area maps will reveal the Herington Regional Airport (east of town), formerly the Herington Army Air Field which during WWII was “one of only two fields that processed heavy bombardment crews and equipment staging to the coasts for overseas duty.” These bombers included B-17s, B-24S, and B-29s (Herington Airport History).
White City history can be found here: White City History. It is another small rural town formed along the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad and later the Chicago, Kansas, and Nebraska Railway.
Dwight resides at the intersection of K-4 and K-57 & was established in 1887. History can be found here: Dwight City History 1 & Dwight City History 2.
The 55- and 75-mile route options head west on Highway 56 initially. The first SAG is in Wilsey and shared with the gravel route option. It is worth noting that the still-incomplete portion of the Flint Hills Nature Trail parallels Highway 56 between Delavan and Herington.
The 35-mile option is an out-and-back ride to Dwight. For those wanting an easy start to the weekend or who may arrive a bit later Saturday morning, this may be the perfect option. It could easily be complemented by a shorter ride in the afternoon.
This route passes by the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve. A catered lunch will be served in Strong City for all riders.
Route 1 – Road (All)
Total Miles: 44
Elevation: +1661/-1661 ft
Notes on Sunday Road Routes
Sunday’s ride is the cornerstone of the Cottonwood 200 and offers one of the most scenic rides in Kansas. The 44-mile ride takes place on a portion of the Flint Hills National Scenic Byway on K-177 between Council Grove and Cottonwood Falls. Despite following the same route each year, it is never the same ride 2 years in a row. You will face steady climbs, joyful downhills, and broad views of this unique landscape. Be prepared for wind, heat, cool, sun and/or mist. Your southbound efforts will be rewarded scenic sights in Cottonwood Falls and by a tasty meal in Strong City before you return to Council Grove.
For more information on the Flint Hills National Scenic Byway click here:
Flint Hills National Scenic Byway, Flint Hills Highways and Byways, and also Flint Hills Wildlife Drive for a potential afternoon drive through the Flint Hills.
K-177 takes you past Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve which was established by Congress in 1996 and designated as National Historic Landmark in 1997. We highly recommend you make time to stop at the Preserve either during your ride or later. Check the National Park Service website for their hours. It is a nice place for a short hike if you want a little more activity.
For more information check out these links:
Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve
National Park Service Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve
Plan Your Visit
There will be a catered lunch after the ride back at Council Grove High School.
Route 1 – Road Short
Total Miles: 36
Elevation: +1665/-1665 ft
Route 2 – Road Long
Total Miles: 66
Notes on Monday Road Routes
Monday’s 36 and 66 mile routes lead you east of Council Grove to the cities of Allen and Admire and continue to explore the rolling hills of Kansas. We are once again using Basecamp Flint Hills as our primary SAG stop. We encourage you to check out their little oasis along the Flint Hills Nature Trail in Allen, Kansas. Thanks to Darius & Amy for hosting us again.
Allen was originally established along the Santa Fe Trail in 1854. Later, in order to gain railroad access, the town moved southwest 3 miles to its current location along the former Missouri Pacific Railroad line and was granted a depot. More history can be found here: Allen History.
Admire was established in 1886 along the Missouri Pacific with a station established. Check out Admire History for more information.