The Osage Cuestas Trail (Formerly, “Western Sky Trail”) is a rail-trail project being developed between Chanute and Fredonia on the right-of-way of the former South Kansas and Oklahoma Railroad. It will be about 19 miles in length, and run through Neosho and Wilson Counties, and the cities of Chanute, Benedict, and Fredonia.

The Osage Cuestas Trail is a critical link between the southern end of the Prairie Spirit Trail / Southwind Rail-Trail corridor in Humboldt, and the eastern end of the Redbud Trail corridor in Augusta. Along with future trails projects to fill in the missing links, the Western Sky Trail will one day be part of an off-road trail connecting Wichita to Topeka, Lawrence, Kansas City, and beyond.

The Sunflower Rail-Trails Conservancy has railbanked this out-of-service rail line. The Osage Cuestas Trail is being built by local groups and individuals in Chanute and Fredonia. In 2015, the City of Fredonia announced that it is planning the build the first section of the trail, six blocks from Polk Street to US 400.

It is anticipated that the Osage Cuestas Trail become part of U.S. Bicycle Route 76, the Trans-America Bicycle Route, a 4200-mile cross-country bicycle touring route from Astoria, OR to Yorktown, VA. The current on-road route parallels the Western Sky corridor for approximately 15 miles.

Image courtesy of the 2013 Kansas State Rail-to-Trails Plan.