Fort Riley and its Northeast Kansas surrounding offers lush green landscapes and rolling hills where your pup can stretch his legs. With the Republican and Kansas rivers and several lakes nearby with easily accessible beaches, he’ll feel like a Labrador in the ESPN Great Outdoor Games. Plus, if your dog is your running buddy, your PCS to Fort Riley will give you the chance to get the shredded calves you’ve always wanted and Forrest Gump’s endurance.
Just outside the Trooper Drive Gate of Fort Riley is the start (or the end) of the River Walk Trail. It got it’s name because it overlooks a picturesque mountain range. Just kidding. It runs right along the Republican River. If you start here and follow the easy 4.8-mile trail, you’ll end up in Junction City by Milford Lake.
The trail is limestone gravel and is used by walkers, joggers, cyclists and even equestrians in some parts. Dogs are allowed, but must be kept on a leash. If your pup is getting hot and needs a break, cut on down to a clearing by the river and let him take a dip (when the river is low, of course. No one wants Homeward Bound moment. Swim hard, Sassy!).
Right and Up Tip: Bring water for you and your furry pal and doggy waste bags. If you’re jonesin’ for a long run, park at the Trooper Gate entrance and run the full trail to Junction City and back for a great workout.
If you’re up for the 30-minute drive from post, Pillsbury Crossing in Manhattan is a fantastic spot where your dog can swim in a safe environment and you can kick back with friends. Located just South of KS-18, the pretty drive to Pillsbury Crossing seems like a secret that’ll make you feel like a true local. After an afternoon of swimming and making four-legged friends, your dog will be gloriously exhausted.
Right and Up Tip: If you or a friend have a pickup truck, load up a cooler and bring some fold out chairs to make a day of it and look like you’re in a Luke Bryan video.
This spot is proof that Northeast Kansas is much different than the incredibly boring, flat scenery you were picturing when you got your PCS orders. Head north on KS-113/Seth Child Road (AKA the road Target is on) and take a left on newly paved Top Of The World Drive. Follow the short road to the top where you’ll find the 1980’s teen movie make out spot of a parking area.
Right and Up Tip: If you like taking pictures, be sure to bring your camera as the views are outstanding! Also, since there’s minimal shade along this trail bring plenty of water.
Used by hikers, bikers and joggers, Linear Trail is a popular 9.5-mile trail that’s perfect for a long walk with your dog since its flat and safe with great visibility. There are eight different trail heads located throughout Manhattan. Dogs must be leashed—which is especially important if your dog regularly mistakes runners for squirrels.
Right and Up Tip: If you’re going for a run with your dog and want to feel like Jodie Foster in the opening scene of Silence of The Lambs, park at the US-24/Blue River Trail head and go right on the trail. It cuts through woods and features lots of fun twists and turns.
On the North side of Tuttle Creek Lake is the Fancy Creek State Park used by mountain bikers, hikers and dog-walkers alike. With over 6 miles of trail, this challenging bike trail is a perfect place to walk your dog as there are plenty of twists and turns and it’s far enough away from civilization for your dog to stay out of trouble.
Right and Up Tip: Bring plenty of water as there are few exit points on the trail should you choose to not complete the full 6 mile loop. Also, pack a picnic lunch and eat it while enjoying one of the many fantastic views.
About the Author
Rachel is an Auburn grad (War Damn Eagle!) and holds a degree in journalism. While working as a sports writer covering the Tigers, she met a cute, tall officer stationed at Fort Benning. A few margaritas, conversations about why a no-huddle offense is superior and 18 months later, they got married. They have PCS’d to Fort Huachuca, Fort Riley and will soon head to Washington DC. They have a ridiculously adorable son named Gavin and two furry children, Jeter and Lilly.