University of Kansas Field Stations

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Lawrence, Kansas
Date Published:
September 9, 2022
Gravel Ratio:
95% G / 5% P
Difficulty Rating:
Enjoyability Rating:
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This route is brought to you by Maribeth Orr, one of our 2022 Route Ambassadors and gravel biking enthusiast from Linwood, Kansas.
Photo Credits: Maribeth Orr


This ride takes you along the Kansas River Levee Trail and through a tour of the University of Kansas Field Stations.  The Levee Trail offers views of nearby farmland, the Kansas river and downtown Lawrence. There are many points of interest with educational opportunities that involve nature and the beauty of the outdoors!  This ride provides access to walking trails, several rest areas with benches, and loads of information about the Kansas prairies and environment.

At the start of the ride, there is access to the beautifully maintained and famous Kansas River Trails which is maintained by the Lawrence Mountain Bike Club.  This is a beginner level single track and is open to both hikers and bikers and is gravel bike friendly.


You must be fully self supported as there are no stops to pick up fuel or water.

There is some washboarding of roads in places and possible ruts/washout spots after rainfall, so be mindful!

Dogs are always possible on residential roads, but the ones I encountered on this ride were fenced.

Do this ride if you want a great beginner/intermediate that offers a variety of scenery along both open residential gravel roads and trails. This ride is great if you are looking to add some nature trail hiking to your day as well.

Other Notes:

The starting and ending point is at the Kansas River Trail Parking Lot that is located at 8th and Oak St, where there is public parking.

The residential roads are all hero gravel with areas of both hard pack and some loose gravel.  The River Levee trail is pea gravel and dirt.  The River Mountain Bike Trail is all single track dirt.

Johnny's Tavern North is located just a few blocks from the River Trail parking lot and is one of the oldest bars in Lawrence and always a popular spot for watching sports. They have excellent pizza.  

The historic and famous downtown Lawrence Massachusetts Street is also just minutes from the River Trail parking lot start point and there are many locally owned cafes to choose from.  The Free State Brewery and the Lawrence Beer Company provide awesome local brews.

Driving Directions

Route Contributor

2022 Ambassador: Maribeth Orr

Maribeth Orr is a promoter of human movement with a passion for helping others find their love and motivation for exercise.  She loves seeking new adventures and she especially loves discovering the beauty of nature and the outdoors.  Her favorite way to see the awesome sights the earth has to offer is on her bicycles and she’s grown a massive love for riding the gravel and dirt roads around her home in Kansas.  

She started her cycling journey as a triathlete in 2011 when her dad, one of her best friends, was taken too soon from cancer.  She continues today with her love for triathlon, road cycling, mountain biking, fat biking, and of course GRAVEL!  Two of her favorite things to say are “This road is gravelicious!” and “Gravel speaks to my soul.”  

She was a family doctor for 16 years and now practices obesity medicine full time in Lawrence, Kansas at Heartland Weight Loss.  One of her favorite prescriptions to write is for her patients to ride a bicycle and get outside to move.  She is a mother of 4 and loves riding gravel roads with her husband and kids.

Her favorite gravel route is the one that takes her by her donkey friend, Chester, just down the road from her house. She has competed in Unbound Gravel (formerly the DK) and many local gravel rides in Kansas.  She is a 3x Ironman finisher and 7x USA Triathlon National Age Group Championships qualifier and in 2022, she achieved Ironman All World Athlete status!

You can hear more about Maribeth on the Girls Gone Gravel Podcast, Episode #39.

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