Planning a visit to Allen County, Kansas? Here is some information to get you started!
Where Is Allen County, Kansas?
Allen County is located in southeastern Kansas. It is about 100 miles south of the Kansas City metro area, about 100 miles east of the Wichita metro area, about 100 miles northwest of Joplin, MO, and about 150 miles north of Tulsa, OK.
US-169 is the major north/south highway through the county, and US-54 is the major east/west highway through the county.
Allen County has a population of about 13,300 (2010), with the largest city (and county seat) being Iola (5700), followed by Humboldt (1950), La Harpe (580), Gas (560), Moran (550), Savonburg (110), Elsmore (80), and Mildred (30).
To drive to Allen County …
- From the Kansas City metro: take US-169 south
- From the Wichita metro: take US-154 east
- From the Tulsa metro: take US-169 north
- From the Joplin metro: take US-69 north, and US-54 west
- From Topeka: Take US-75 south, and US-154 east
Allen County is predominantly rural, with approximately 970 miles of roads covering over 500 square miles. The major waterway is the Neosho River, which winds through the western quarter of the county. The remainder of the county is gently rolling or level upland prairie.
Allen County is the King of Trails
In the days before the numbered US highway system, the nation used names to refer to routes. The roadway that ultimately became US-169 was originally known as “King of Trails Highway”, and ran from Winnipeg, Canada to Brownsville, Texas.
Today, with one of the largest and most diversified trail networks of any rural county in the state, Allen County has taken the “King of Trails” name as its own.
Trails in Allen County include the Prairie Spirit Trail (52 miles total), the Southwind Rail Trail (6.5 miles), the Lehigh Portland Trails (about 10 miles), and the Mo-Pac Recreational Trail (about 0.5 miles).
In addition to these off-road trails, Allen County has an extensive network of on-road bicycling routes, utilizing both paved and gravel roads to explore the scenic beauty of the countryside throughout the region. Check out our Bike Routes in Allen County section for a directory of routes that are popular with both residents and visitors.
Allen County is also a popular destination for touring cyclists, many of whom pass through the region on the Trans-America Bicycle Route (also known as U.S. Bicycle Route 76). Although Allen County is not officially on the Trans-Am Route, it is near enough that many cyclotourists make the slight detour to visit us and take advantage of our hospitality.
Allen County Bicycling Events
Allen County is home to the annual Portland Alley Pedalfest, a two-day festival featuring bikes, music, and fun.
The Pedalfest is a huge party that takes place each September, and offers group rides on Allen County trails and roads, as well as live music, fresh food, tasty brews, a vendor expo, and bike demos and related activities.
There are also seasonal weekly rides, which welcome both residents and visitors to enjoy our trails, roads, and fellowship with local bicycling enthusiasts.
Allen County is also part of the annual Race Across America, which begins in Oceanside, CA in late June, with racers passing through Allen County on US-54 Highway, west to east, on their journey to Annapolis, MD — 3,000 miles coast-to-coast across the USA.
For a complete guide, check out the Bike Events in Allen County, Kansas section of this web site.
Lodging, Food, and Services in Allen County
Iola has numerous restaurants, retail stores, and lodging options, most located within a short distance of the trail system. Humboldt offers several food and drink choices, as does Moran and some of the other smaller towns in the county.
For a complete directory of options, please refer to our Allen County Bicycling Resources Guide.