Whenever I embark on one of my drives across the Midwest, I always try to stop and do a little bit of hiking if time permits. While spending time in Kansas a few summers ago, I decided to visit a short stretch of the Flint Hills Rail Trail. I have seen this trail become increasingly improved over the years. Generally speaking, the eastern end has been improved to a greater degree than the western end. Eventually, the entire trail will be suitable for hiking and biking.
Only the western portion of the trail traverses the Flint Hills. The eastern segments of the trail cross an area of Eastern Kansas known as the Osage Cuestas. For this hike, I was exploring a stretch of the trail that runs parallel to the Marais des Cygnes River between the towns of Ottawa and Osawatomie.
I parked near a small town called Rantoul and began hiking to the southeast. Along the way, the trail crossed Middle Creek, which empties into the Marais des Cygnes River immediately north of the trail. The Middle Creek Bridge is a Warren Through Truss. It was built shortly after 1900 by the American Bridge Company of New York. It makes for a nice stop on this remote section of the trail. It also provides a nice view of Middle Creek and its junction with the Marais des Cygnes River.