El Dorado State Park in El Dorado, Kansas is only about a 45 minute drive east of Wichita, Kansas. I visited the park in early May 2017, hoping to explore two of the park’s numerous trails – the Teter Nature Trail and the Walnut River Trail.
The Teter Nature Trail trailhead is near an archery range. Yep, you read that correctly. Luckily, the trail departs in the opposite direction of the flying arrows. And, it is also near a restroom (outhouse, rather). The trail is 3/4 mile long, and is described on the park website as “a diverse nature trail winding through the Flint Hills down into a bottomland hardwood forest and a small stand of Paw Paw trees.”
The Teter Nature Trail is fairly easy to find since there are a couple of directional signs. I even see a few wild turkeys right before I turn to park in the parking lot for the trail.
The trail starts off great and seems well maintained. I see deer tracks and hear a few animals scurrying away as I quietly hike along. I am slightly disturbed by what sounds like snakes slithering away. I am enjoying the scenery and peacefulness until I get down to the wooded part of the trail which is quite overgrown with greenery and I find myself wondering about poison ivy and ticks, and I think it better to turn back. The slithering I hear in the grass nearby probably also influences my decision…
I figure I might be visiting during a time of year where the trail isn’t as well maintained, maybe due to all of the rain we had been getting. In fact, one of the roads in the park is even washed out and I have to turn around my car!
I plan on giving Teter Nature Trail another chance this autumn, but maybe I’ll bring some arrows next time just in case it still doesn’t measure up. And, possibly a kayak.
Oh, and I decide not to check out the Walnut River Trail on this trip. I think I have had enough excitement for one afternoon.