Ernie Miller Nature Center

Olathe, KS
Length: Varies
Type: Loop

About This Trail

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Ernie Miller Nature Center covers 116 acres and offers multiple hiking trails that crosses through prairie grass, meadows, woods and streams. The trails are varied with easy, shorter paved paths for strollers or wheelchairs, but there are also dirt trails into the woods for those wanting something a bit more rugged.

Upper Ridge Trail requires a bit of an uphill hike and takes you above the creek along a ridge for great views. At one end, you cross a larger creek over big rocks that might be unstable for tiny kiddos to maneuver or a mom with a carrier, so be careful to assess the potential hazard of slipping and falling if the rocks are slippery and the water level is high.

The South Trail is the longest trail and covers a large area of the southern portion of the grounds. The trail is paved near the amphitheater and small parking lot, but the majority takes you into the woods on dirt trails. There are downed trees for climbing a few small creek crossings and, fortunately, the water is pretty shallow most of the time so it’s very toddler-friendly. Kids can walk all of the South Trail; however, there are lots of exposed roots and portions of the trail are rocky, so make sure new walkers are careful not to trip.

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Trail Features

Seasons Fall, Spring, Summer, and Winter
Surface type Mixed
Stroller friendly No
ADA accessible No
Water fountains Yes
Bathrooms Yes
Cell reception Excellent
Pet friendly No
Nearby convenience store No
Camping Nearby No
Emergency support
within 5 miles

Trail highlights

Creek / River, Picnic Area, Shaded Hike, Shelter, and Visitor Center

You can visit the Nature Center, which houses an exhibit gallery called “Our Changing Landscape” and has many hands-on activities for all ages, including a beaver lodge tunnel for kids to crawl into and a water table to splash in. You can also learn more about the diverse local animals that call Ernie Miller home and their habitat through live animal displays and a 500-gallon aquarium with native stream fish. You can also familiarize yourself with the grounds and trails with an interactive 3D map of Ernie Miller, where you can see the various trails light up with the push of a button.

Fee & Parking Details

Fee : $0.00

There are two options for parking. There’s a smaller lot at the front entrance which gives you instant access to the trails. If you make a right at the entrance and follow the road, you’ll find the other larger parking which is adjacent to the Nature Center.

Trail Contributor

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Vong lives in the Central Midwest and attempts adulting with her husband to raise three energetic Munchkin-sized power houses. She’s a hiking enthusiast and grammar geek.