Combine Sightseeing and Active Travel with an Urban Hike through Kansas City
Lisa Peña aims to curb our pervasive car culture, the habit of driving to a destination and walking directly inside without exploring the surroundings. Inspired by a San Francisco tour business called Urban Hiker, she created a solution in her hometown—Urban Hikes KC.
Peña and her guides lead treks through the heartbeat-raising hills, streets, neighborhoods and alleyways of Kansas City (both the Missouri and Kansas sides) to see street art, learn history and boost health. "Our hikes let people experience parts of the city they haven't seen or noticed before, and on foot," explains Peña, who grew up exploring in the woods behind her Kansas home.
Her group hikes range up to 3.5 hours and 5 miles long. One popular tour, for example, winds through KCK's historic Strawberry Hill. It starts with a robust climb up Russian Hill and pauses throughout the neighborhood for century-old churches, street art, European immigrant history and a spectacular downtown river view.
Related: 20 Top Things to Do in Kansas
The venture perfectly pairs Peña's passion for hiking and nature with her love of Kansas City. "When our urban hikers say, 'Wow, I had no idea this was here,' that makes me so happy," she says. "If I can show people Kansas City's hidden gems and bring light to our rich history, all while exercising, I've got my niche."
Know Before You Go
Learn more about what to expect during an urban hiking experience before you book.
Am I fit enough?
If you can walk 2 miles in a park, you should be fine, says Lisa Peña. Guides pause so hikers can catch their breath, and they shorten routes on hot days.
What should I bring?
Although they aren't intensive workouts, Urban Hikes KC's tours are hikes, not casual strolls. Don't wear flip-flops, and bring at least 24 ounces of water.
Can I make it a custom tour?
Chatting with fellow trekkers adds to the fun, but yes, Urban Hikes KC can tailor private outings (in English or in Spanish) for kids, seniors and small groups.