Nature trails at the KU Field Station
The University of Kansas Field Station maintains a system of five miles of public nature trails at its research site located north/northeast of the Lawrence Municipal Airport, a 15-minute drive from downtown Lawrence. Trails are open to foot traffic only; no bicycles or motorized vehicles are allowed. Due to the potential to transmit disease or disturb research projects and wildlife, pets are not allowed even if leashed. (Keeping a pet on the trail is not sufficient; even the scent of a domesticated animal can disturb wildlife and interfere with research. Visitors must leave pets at home.)
Select a trail name at left for a slideshow/virtual tour of that trail.
Interpretive signage on our trails
Interpretive signage has been placed at the Fitch, Roth and Rockefeller Prairie trailheads and along the Rockefeller Prairie Trail. View PDF files of any of our trail signs by using the link above.
Maps and handouts
Map from Lawrence to KU Field Station trailheads
Map of KU Field Station public trail system
Google Earth map of KU Field Station trail system (Downloadable to computer or hand-held device)
KU Field Station Bird Checklist
From the junction of U.S. 59/24 and U.S. 24/40 in north Lawrence, proceed 1 1/2 miles east on U.S. 24/40 (past the Lawrence airport) to E. 1600 Road. Following green signs with directions to the KU Field Station, turn left (north) onto E. 1600 Road.
You may stop at the first site, the KU Native Medicinal Plant Research Garden (just 1/2 mile north of 24/40), or continue. To reach the Fitch Natural History Reservation, the Suzanne Ecke McColl Nature Reserve and the Roth Trail, continue north on E. 1600 Road the road veers west briefly toward the Mud Creek levee, then abruptly jogs east, crosses the bridge over the creek, and turns north again). About 1.5 miles north of the garden, you'll reach the McColl Reserve on the west side of the road; parking is available here at the Roth Trailhead, a large rammed-earth structure designed and built by KU architecture students. A toilet and a drinking fountain are just northwest of the trailhead,
The Rockefeller Prairie Trailhead, with a shelter built by KU architecture students, is approximately 1/2 mile farther up the road. Continue up the hill into Jefferson County (E. 1600 Road turns into First Street in Jefferson County). Parking and information are available at the Rockefeller Trailhead, and interpretive signage provides information at seven stops along the trail. A drinking fountain and composting toilet are situated along the trail not far from the trailhead. This paved trail is accessible to individuals who use wheelchairs. It ends at the Kaw River Valley Overlook, which offers spectacular views of the area. Visitors may turn around at this site or continue on using other trails that link up with the Rockefeller Trail.