English Landing Park is located in Parkville, Missouri a northern suburb of Kansas City. The Park is a narrow flat stretch of land bordering the Missouri River and offers two primary trails which are both paved and circular. The smaller trail is about a mile and a half in length, and the larger path is about double the distance.
The name “English landing” always seemed like an odd name for the park. Before becoming a part of the United States through the Lousiana Purchase, this area had never been explored by the English. The Spanish explorers were here looking for gold but moved on when none could be readily found. French fur traders were also here and even set up a few trading posts nearby but no English. So I decided to research the origin of the Park’s name.
“English” is the surname of two brothers who developed the land and created a riverboat stop. In 1838 Col. George S. Park, of whom the city of Parkville and adjacent Park College are named, established a river port city in the area. The landing was prominent in western Missouri’s slave trade, and slaves were often auctioned on site. The area had a booming Tobacco and Hemp farms, and the slaves were used for harvesting the crops. Many slaves died by jumping ship and attempting to swim across the river to Kansas (which was a free state). Their bodies were buried in three large unmarked areas near here. After the civil war, many of the farms shut down,. The city ceased to be a significant riverboat port. The warehouses on the landing were torn down, and the land became a city park.
Sorry, I know that little history lesson is a bit harsh, but I felt like it needed to be said. The Park is divided by Linn Creek which feeds into the river. A metal “A” truss bridge was built in 1898 to connect the two sections and has become a famous local landmark.
The hiking trail is circular with the Missouri River on one side and the railroad tracks on the other. The tracks are n daily use and seeing one on your walk is very commonplace.
English Landing Trail an easy drive from anywhere in the KC with access to several of the metros interstates close by.
Pros: Flat path with no hills makes biking, walking and even a leisurely stroll easy, Several major highways close by makes it easy to get to, the city of Parkville is a fun place to spend a few hours after your walk. As close as you can get to the river and still stay dry.
Cons: Being next to the river can mean flooding if there has been a lot of rain. The park is very open without much opportunity to see any wildlife. Close proximity to railroad and highway won’t really give you the “deep woods” experience.