MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — Though the summer heat can make staying at home on the couch sound inviting, getting out for some exercise is still important for long-term health.

Hitting the local trails in and around Manhattan for a quick walk, run or hike can be an inexpensive and health-conscious choice — and a way to spend some time in the cooler parts of the evening or mornings this summer, The Manhattan Mercury reported.

The Manhattan area has 20 trails open to the public, according to the City of Manhattan's website.

Konza Prairie Biological Station is basically a preserve for one of the last remaining swaths of tallgrass prairie in the world.

The area is open to the public and serves as a good amenity for exercise.

Just remember that the prairie is a research center, so anyone walking the trail is expected to stay on the marked trails only. This means no dogs, no litter and no biking, things all clearly marked at the trailhead.

The trailhead begins 9 miles away from K-State's campus. The entry point is shaded, going over a stream and a creek with two bridges. The path continues from there with three options.

Hikers can choose to take a 2.5-mile, 4.4-mile or 6-mile trail, all of which start and end at the same point. It is worth noting that the area is hilly, so going up does mean going down.

The most popular spot is an overlook at the top of a long set of stone stairs with a view for miles of the green hills and some spectacular sunsets. Take a left at the fork and head up a small hill up to a set of steps in the ground which leads to the large hill, where there are big rocks for sitting and getting back to regular breathing patterns. The Nature Trail, as it's called, is 2.5 miles.

Continuing toward the radio tower, the trail goes to a different series of hills, leading to the 4.4-mile loop, Kings Creek, and the 6-mile loop, Godwin Hill.

The trail is open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.

People who decide to hike or bike this trail should remember that it is a true linear trail, so going the full 8.6 miles from one end means taking 8.6 miles back to where the car is parked. The trail winds around the city, starting near behind McCall Road, down under U.S. Highway 24 near the river and spits out on the other side of the city on Fort Riley Boulevard.

The trail has areas where there is paved sidewalk, but it is primarily gravel. This trail is pet, bike and hiker friendly. It is marked as an easy trail, as there is no sharp inclines or declines.

Those interested should also note that the trail is not lit at any point, so after the sun goes down, it may become harder to get back to the car.

There are also two secondary trails off of Linear trail. The Northeast Community Park Trail breaks off near the entrance on the northern side of town, and wraps around a large park, with soccer fields and a restroom. To get there from the linear trail, take the ramp to the left about a quarter mile in, cross the metal bridge over the small creek and continue to the left. In total this second trail is 2.85 miles.

The second, smaller trail is the Cecil Best Birding Trail, a tree-heavy 0.4-mile area at the northern end of the Linear Trail before the bridge. The easiest way to access is by taking a right at the metal bridge that leads toward the Northeast Community Park Trail.

Both secondary trails loop back onto the main Linear trail.

Perhaps better known as Manhattan Hill by locals, the hill offers a view of the western half of the city and bits of the eastern part through the trees. In addition to views of the KS hill, parts of downtown across from Tuttle Creek Boulevard, the east shows how many trees dot the city, as bits of K-State's campus peek out above it.

Drive north up Juliette Avenue or Tuttle Creek Boulevard toward the hill and park at the top of the hill, taking care when turning up the winding road up to the parking area.

Take in the views by walking west toward the giant white letters that indicate the city's name.

This trail is one of the more difficult in town, according to the City of Manhattan's website, but also one of the shortest at just 0.7 miles.

The short, tree-covered area goes down and around the hill some, near some backyards of the people who live up there. Sit on a small bench that appears around the corner and enjoy all the trees and wildlife.

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Information from: The Manhattan (Kan.) Mercury, http://www.themercury.com