Emporia Offers Extreme Social Distancing Options with a Side Benefit of Adventure and Serenity

Posted on Sep 30, 2020

CVB Staff
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2020. It’s been an….. interesting year so far. It’s probably safe to say that everyone could use a little R&R away from home about now. People are still using an abundance of caution when making travel decisions, but research shows that people are traveling within their state. If you live in Kansas, or heck even Missouri, Oklahoma, or Nebraska, we’ve got some extreme social distancing  ideas for you that will appeal to your spirit of adventure. Come have some fun with your family, a friend or by yourself!

Our extreme social distancing adventures take place in the rugged, yet beautiful Flint Hills of Kansas. The Flint Hills are a designated area of grasslands that contain one of the last remaining tallgrass prairie eco-systems in the world. There is plenty to see in the Flint Hills. The prairie is home to 500 species of plants, 150 species of birds, 39 species of reptiles and amphibians, and 31 mammals. That’s a lot to see! A heads up: Some of the areas on these routes are open pasture and prairie with no fences. Watch out for cattle and other wildlife crossing the roadways. While the roads are public, the land on both sides of the road is privately owned. Please be respectful of the prairie.

Historic Bridges Scenic Driving Tour

If you like your adventure sprinkled with history, take our Historic Bridges Scenic Driving Tour. We have mapped out two separate routes. One is 39 miles with an estimated drive time of just under one hour. This includes time at four stops. The second loop is 82 miles, covers six stops and takes approximately two hours. Of course, it might take a little longer if you want to snap some photos and do some exploring of the area. Some of the bridges are only one lane and even though the areas are remote, if you want to stop and explore, remember to pull over to the side of the road well off of the bridge. Click the headline link to find out a little history on each bridge plus both downloadable routes with printable directions and maps.

Jeep/SUV Driving Routes

Our next extreme social distancing option is a little more of an “out there” adventure. We have designed some Jeep/SUV driving routes through the Flint Hills. Some of the roads on these routes are low or minimum maintenance and will require a 4-wheel drive, sport utility-type vehicle to traverse. Five route options are available and the Downloadable Printable Route Map shows each route in a different color. Routes interconnect to create shorter or longer drives. We strongly suggest you print a copy of the map and take it with you as there are remote areas where you may not be able to access cell service.

Points of interest you can see along the routes are Teter Rock, Texaco Hill, Verdigris Crossing, Matfield Green Tower, Rocky Ford Bridge, Lake Kahola, and Highway 177 Schrumpf Hill Scenic Overlook. Find out more here.

Cycling

Experience a more intimate view of the Flint Hills on a gravel bike. You can find several routes tried and true by Gravel City Adventure and Supply, including the 27-mile County Seat Run, the 53-mile Kahola Krusher, the 73-mile Ride the Chase, the 142-mile The Grind and many options in between. Some of these roads are the same ones the riders of the renowned DK200 and DKXL ride each spring. When you finish your ride you will be able to tell people with absolute certainty that “Kansas is NOT flat!” While you can have great fun and adventures in the Flint Hills, it is also a great place to commune with nature. The Flint Hills have a majestic beauty and are one of the most serene places on earth. Gravel cycling enthusiasts who come to Emporia to ride year-round claim the prairie to be one of their favorite places.

Disc Golf

Our next option is going to be a great way to get some exercise. Really ramp up those feel-good endorphins. Some of you may not be familiar with disc golf, but you may remember something called Frisbee golf. The difference, other than the name, is in the size, weight and shape. Frisbees are larger and lighter weight while discs are more aerodynamic in design. Disc golf is a great sport to get outdoors with a friend or the family and get some fresh air.

The world’s largest disc golf tournament, the Glass Blown Open presented by Dynamic Discs, brings close to 2,000 players from 47 states and 10 countries to Emporia every spring and hundreds of others throughout the year for smaller tournaments or just a round with their friends. Emporia knows disc golf! Most weekends we see out-of-state license plates on vehicles parked near hole 1 on our local courses.

Emporia is often referred to as “Disc Golf Disneyland” by players who come here from around the world. You’ll understand why, once you check out our five 18-hole and three 9-hole disc golf courses. In addition, there are a dozen courses within 10-30 miles giving players plenty of course options for diverse scenery.

You Are Welcome

After a fun day of experiencing the beautiful Flint Hills you will need a good meal and place to spend the night and recharge for another adventure. We are proud to say that Emporia has more than two dozen locally-owned authentic places to eat. You can experience American to Vietnamese and everything in between! Whatever your lodging preference is, you can access the local restaurants, nightlife, and attractions within minutes. Did we mention we have a brewery, a winery and a distillery?

Emporia is known for its adventurous spirit and welcoming hospitality. As host city to two world-class events, the Glass Blown Open disc golf tournament and the DK200 gravel race, Emporia embraces adventure sports and enjoys welcoming visitors in our town. Other communities ask us “what is your secret?” We believe it is simply our community. A unique combination of people, location, and the size of our town, makes Emporia a special place and enables us to offer the authentic experiences people are seeking.

We highly suggest adding “Watch a sunrise or sunset in the Flint Hills” to your Bucket List. It will be easy to check off your list once you plan your trip to Emporia for some extreme social distancing adventures. You will be glad you did. See you soon!

CVB Staff
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