Hidden gems

Off the beaten path, splendid spots abound. Natural beauty. Fascinating stories. Check ’em out.



From lunch in a cemetery to native prairie, parks in and around Kansas City offer a variety of activities (Shane Keyser | The Kansas City Star).

A trail runner jogs along a trail at Wyandotte County Lake Park in Kansas City, Kan. Shane Keyser

Wyandotte County Lake Park: Rolling beauty and room to roam, ride, run and fish

Do dogs dig the off-leash area at Shawnee Mission Park? Check out the smile on Murray, a golden retriever owned by Phil Brown of Lenexa. Shane Keyser

Shawnee Mission Park’s dog run: Wonderland for the woof set

Andrea and Lawrence Barnett walked their dogs along a trail at Cave Spring, 8701 Gregory Blvd. Shane Keyser

Cave Spring: Quirky park has history aplenty, but no lake (thanks to kids, dynamite)

Faith Christian Academy students Oliver Roberts (from left), Judah Gardner, Dallas Campbell and Logan Buckley get a lesson in teamwork while playing a game at Shoal Creek Living History Museum. Shane Keyser

Shoal Creek Living History Museum: In bustling Northland, an 1800s village beckons

Hubert Nevels of Kansas City prepares to cast a line at Swope Park’s Lake of the Woods. Shane Keyser

Swope Park’s Lake of the Woods: Anglers go after catfish, but no one catches Grandpa

Nancy Larbi (left) and Linda Tarpley walk along the trail with Izzie, an Australian shepherd, at Jerry Smith Farm Park on the south edge of Kansas City. Shane Keyser

Jerry Smith Farm Park: Native plants fill a patch of prairie that’s never seen a plow

Walking with their dog, Kota, Meg and Clint Helf of Kansas City stop to look at the Heart of America Bridge at Berkley Riverfront Park. In the background looms the Kit Bond Bridge. Shane Keyser

Missouri River parks: Kansas Citians rekindle long-lost relationship with the water

Frank and Jeanne Smith of Tonganoxie walk across the bridge to Nelson Island in Shawnee. The island serves as the northern end of the 17-mile Gary L. Haller Trail in Mill Creek Streamway Park. Shane Keyser

Nelson Island: Cyclists now pedal where Cleggie Nelson once peddled hooch

Patrons walk up to place their orders during Food Truck Friday at Union Cemetery. Shane Keyser

Union Cemetery: ‘A park with graves’ — and food trucks

Spring Valley Park boasts a newer padded playground, a walking trail, a popular shelter, ball fields and a fountain. Booker Watson (left), 21, of Kansas City, and Tierra Berry, 21, of Kansas City, climb a rope pyramid at the park. Shane Keyser

Spring Valley Park: After turnaround, an urban oasis for kids, families


Bull elk, burr oaks and disc golf: Here are more area spots well worth a visit

Your off-the-radar spot?

What outdoor space around the city would you add to our list? Complete our survey and let us know.