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“Spiker,” Keystone Gallery’s 1949 Chevy Suburban, on a driving tour to Monument Rocks. The world-renowned Bonner family has used this vehicle for fossil hunting in the Smoky Hill chalk since the early 1960s.

Wetlands and Wildlife National Scenic Byway | Flint Hills National Scenic Byway | Frontier Military Historic Byway Glacial Hills Scenic Byway | Gypsum Hills Scenic Byway | Native Stone Scenic Byway | Post Rock Scenic Byway Prairie Trail Scenic Byway | Route 66 Historic Byway | Smoky Valley Scenic Byway | Western Vistas Historic Byway

Maxwell Wildlife Refuge

JIm Griggs

See the bison up close and personal throughout the year, and enjoy the elusive elk as they come out for the winter months. Board our modern day covered wagon (tram) for tours available year-round and gain a unique experience of the prairie and wildlife as it was in the 1800s.


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Our work takes us all over the state, and we’ve found that traveling the highways and back roads of Kansas is a truly amazing experience. We’re privileged to see parts of Kansas that many travelers may never see, meet the wonderful people who live and work in the Sunflower State, and visit aweinspiring natural treasures and experience a variety of cultural, historical, educational and entertaining events and destinations. In short, we’ve come to know Kansas in ways many travelers might never take the opportunity to experience. The 11 byways showcased in this guide are among our favorite highways. They connect travelers with places in Kansas that aren’t readily visible from the major interstate routes. The byways help preserve the natural beauty and heritage of Kansas; deliver authentic, quality experiences that stimulate economic prosperity from tourism; and enhance the positive image of Kansas. Our two departments jointly manage the Kansas Byways Program. Two of the Kansas byways have achieved national status and the remaining routes are designated as state byways. The byways program was established under the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) in 1991 as a grassroots collaborative effort to help recognize, preserve and enhance selected roads throughout the United States Byways are designated based on their archaeological, cultural, historic, natural, recreational and scenic qualities. Although federal support has diminished greatly, the FHWA continues to be involved in providing grant opportunities for qualified potential projects. Each of our agencies provides staff


S ecreta ri es

and funding to support the program, market the byways and help guide the local byway committees in their efforts to promote and enhance their byway experiences. By their very nature, the byways entice the wanderer in each of us to delight in the journey rather than rush headlong to our destinations. As you browse through the byways in this guide, we invite you to plan your trip to experience the Sunflower State from a different perspective. Venture away from the bustle of the high-volume highways, meet the people of Kansas, enjoy their hospitality and learn their stories. Experience the excitement, the sublime beauty, the culture and the history of our state. Walk in the footsteps of Native Americans and early pioneers, breathe the fresh air and enjoy the state’s attractions, events and destinations. We’re confident you’ll come away knowing Kansas a little better and that you’ll want to return.

Wetlands and Wildlife National Scenic Byway

Flint Hills National Scenic Byway

Frontier Military Historic Byway

Glacial Hills Scenic Byway

Gypsum Hills Scenic Byway

Native Stone Scenic Byway

Post Rock Scenic Byway

Welcome to Kansas! Prairie Trail Scenic Byway

Robin Jennison Secretary, Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism

Route 66 Historic Byway

Smoky Valley Scenic Byway

Western Vistas Historic Byway

Mike King Secretary, Kansas Department of Transportation

kansas byways


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Wetlands and Wildlife National Scenic Byway


Flint Hills National Scenic Byway


Frontier Military Historic Byway


Glacial Hills Scenic Byway


Gypsum Hills Scenic Byway


Native Stone Scenic Byway


Post Rock Scenic Byway


Prairie Trail Scenic Byway


Route 66 Historic Byway


Smoky Valley Scenic Byway


Western Vistas Historic Byway


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Kansas Byways are home to some of the great natural landscapes in the United States. Please help us preserve this beautiful land of flowers and native grasses, and refrain from disrupting natural geological features. These magnificent lands are home to many Kansas residents who welcome you to their communities, shops and restaurants. Please respect their privacy by not straying onto private land, climbing fences or gates, or photographing residents and their families. Stay out of the way of wild animals, and please help keep everyone safe by obeying posted speed limits and sharing the roadways with large vehicles.

points of interest compass for

amenities for the many sights, attractions and amenities you will find along the byways, please make note that our guides list these from north to south and east to west.

Kansas Department of Transportation 700 SW Harrison Street Topeka, KS 66603-3754 (785) 296-4149

Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks & Tourism 1020 S Kansas Avenue Topeka, KS 66612 (800) 684-6966

A Window to the Past

bike the

Let’s know Kansas, let’s show Kansas. The state of Kansas is steeped in rich history, from ancient times when our prairies were covered by water to our American Indian legacy, to westward expansion, the Civil War and so much more. As you travel Kansas, you’ll find windows into our heritage via the byways. On your journey, look for interpretive material that shares more of our unique fabric, and enjoy the hints we provide here along with tips on how to make the most out of your Kansas Byways experience.


The Byways provide an excellent opportunity for cyclists. Be sure to follow appropriate road rules, use reflective clothing and be cautious of moving vehicles.

Photo Credits Doug Stremel Harland J. Schuster Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism

behindthelens Photographer Doug Stremel has traveled the byways over the four seasons to capture the beautiful and historic scenes of Kansas Byways. See Doug’s “Behind the Lens” commentary throughout our Guide for his unique experiences, tips on landscape photography and more. (Photograph by Michael C. Snell)

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• Seven communities line the Wetlands and Wildlife National Scenic Byway.

Flight Season The Wetlands and Wildlife National Scenic Byway, which follows Kansas Highway 4 and Highway 156, overflows with movement in Barton, Stafford and Reno counties. Best known for connecting Cheyenne Bottoms Wildlife Area and Quivira National Wildlife Refuge—two significant natural wetland ecosystems that annually host millions of migrating birds—the byway moves through the Central Prairie, where Plains Apaches once followed the roaming buffalo they hunted and American traders in freight wagons transported goods west via the Santa Fe Trail. The two diverse wetlands are a critical stopover site for waterfowl and shorebirds migrating south along the Central Flyway, the main migration corridor between Canada and the Gulf of behindthelens Mexico. Cheyenne Bottoms is the largest inland freshwater marsh in With “wildlife” in its name, it’s no surprise that the United States, while Quivira is an one of the best places to photograph animal inland saltwater marsh, a rare habitat in species in Kansas is along the Wetlands and the Midwest. The area is like paradise Wildlife National Scenic Byway. I grew up in for bird-watchers, who flock to these this area and spent more time hunting than giant marshes to view sandhill cranes, photographing. So when I visited with camera in pelicans, bald eagles and numerous hand, I saw the area in a whole new light. I most other waterfowl and shorebirds. enjoy photographing wildlife here in May. Arrive The Kansas Wetlands Education before sunrise, and you’ll see and hear the Center overlooking Cheyenne Bottoms marshes come alive with hundreds of species. is filled with exhibits explaining the You’ll need a long lens, a steady hand and some necessity of the surrounding wetlands, patience to photograph wildlife. It’s worth the considered the most important wait when you click that winning image. shorebird migration point in the – Doug Stremel, photographer Western Hemisphere. Stopping to rest here are 45-90 percent of North America’s shorebirds. From the Center’s observation platform, visitors immerse themselves in nature, • Download the watching wildlife such as mallards tending their young extensive bike map and Great Blue Herons stalking prey. Cheyenne Bottoms for viewing the area is home to nearly half the bird species in the country, as on two wheels. well as species of mammals, 19 species of reptiles and nine species of amphibians in its wetland basin. • Go underground Adjacent to the Wildlife Area is the Cheyenne for a unique Bottoms Preserve, managed by The Nature historic tour of the Conservancy. At slightly higher elevations, the Ellinwood Tunnels. wetlands here vary from seasonal to semi-permanent


• Visit for all the latest events and an interactive map on communities on and near the Byway.


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Pointsofinterest • Metal Pole Art Banners—From the time of the Missouri-Pacific Railroad to present day, these 60+ banners will take you on a timeless journey through the history of a community truly shaped by nature and the entrepreneurial spirit. (Hoisington) • Post Office Mural & Sun Dial (Hoisington) • Cheyenne Bottoms K-4 Scenic Overlook (west of Hoisington) • The Nature Conservancy Cheyenne Bottoms Preserve, wetlands of International Importance (west of Hoisington) • Geographic center of the state of Kansas (Claflin) • WPA Post Rock Bridges (Claflin) • Underground Tunnels— Beneath the town of Ellinwood lies an exciting secret, and you’re invited to sneak a peek. The town’s underground tunnels illustrate another world with shops, saloons, breweries and bathhouses. (Ellinwood) • Arkansas River (between Ellinwood and Great Bend) • Cheyenne Bottoms Wildlife Area, wetlands of International


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Wetlands and Wildlife

Importance (Barton County) • Kansas Wetlands Education Center (Barton County) • Barton County Historical Museum, a designated Santa Fe Trail interpretive site. (Great Bend) • Great Bend Raptor Center— at Brit Spaugh Zoo. The Raptor Center is one of Great Bend’s most prominent attractions and serves as an entrance to the free Brit Spaugh Zoo. (Great Bend) • Heartland Farms—Wonderful alpaca herd at this Kansas agritourism operation. (Pawnee Rock) • Big Salt Marsh Wildlife Drive (Stafford County) • Quivira National Wildlife Refuge, wetlands of International Importance (Stafford County) • Martin Historic African American Cemetery (St. John) • Stafford County Flour Mills (Hudson) • Glass Negative Collection at Stafford Museum—The 29,000 glass negatives tell the story of early settlers and the Exodusters, post civil war freed slaves. (Stafford)

to ephemeral (lasting a short time). Wading shorebirds such as herons and egrets find these shallow marshes—averaging less than 1 foot in depth—an ideal habitat. The area also shows signs of rare and historic natural bison wallows, where herds of the roving state animal once rolled on the ground to shed hair and insects, leaving depressions as wide as 30 feet. Quivira National Wildlife Refuge consists of more than 22,000 acres of salt marshes, wetlands, sand dunes, timber and prairie that has changed little with the passage of time. It supports a number of nationally endangered and threatened species, including the least tern and snowy plover, which prefer the salt flats around the marshes as their breeding habitat. Although famous for its wetlands, the refuge offers grassland habitat for quail, meadowlarks, and raptors such as red-tailed, Cooper’s and sharp-shinned hawks. Ring-necked pheasant, northern bobwhite (quail) and wild turkey forage in the fields while whitetailed deer, red foxes, raccoons, bobcats, prairie dogs, coyotes, badgers and other upland mammal species also roam the area. -Cecilia Harris

amenities Kindscher’s Mule Barn


Historic Wolf Hotel


Ellinwood Emporium Antiques


Granny’s Kitchen

Great Bend

The Page

Great Bend

Great Bend Coffee Company

Great Bend

Wheatland Café


Cool Beans Coffee and Ice Cream

St. John

The Stafford Mercantile


Henderson House Inn


Centrally located close to Cheyenne Bottoms & Quivira National Wildlife Refuge


2920 10th Street Great Bend, KS 67530 620-792-3541 Take a virtual tour of the property by visiting

Indoor Pool Hot Tub Video Arcade Flat-screen TVs Wi-Fi Fridge, Microwave and Coffeemaker in Every Room 2 Restaurants On-site

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• The Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve boasts 40 species of grasses, 200 species of birds and 30 species of mammals.

National Landscape The region in eastern Kansas known as the Flint Hills is poetry to many who consider its timeless, magical and mysterious qualities as priceless natural assets. Long an inspirational canvas for artists, photographers, writers and musicians, as well as a communal home for the population scattered throughout the area—people who dearly love the land and its ancient rhythms—the Flint Hills represent the largest remaining Tallgrass Prairie tract on this continent, and the National Scenic Byway along Kansas 177 is the perfect way to see it. Once stretching across 170 million acres of North America, much of the Tallgrass Prairie was developed or plowed over as the centuries passed. Today, less than 4 percent of the majestic Tallgrass Prairie remains, much of it among the Flint Hills, making the rugged, pristine swath of land one of the world’s endangered ecosystems. Underneath the Flint Hills’ rolling behindthelens countryside are fractured shelves of limestone partially covered by thin The Flint Hills include some of my favorite photo hilltop soil. The unobstructed horizon spots in all of Kansas. So choosing a single photo suggests a recent past, before the opportunity is, well, nearly impossible. But there is dawning of the 20th century, when one ritual that happens every spring, and it fascinates wildlife, vegetation and chest-high tall me every time: The Flint Hills go up in smoke. Each grasses dominated the landscape. spring (usually in early April), landowners burn the The Tallgrass Prairie National tallgrass prairies as a management tool to clear Preserve and the Flint Hills are natural old plant debris and promote new growth of native magnets that beckon curious passersby grasses. The best time to photograph the burns is at as well as those already acquainted dusk. You will see and smell the smoke and fire from with the fabled land. The area plays many miles away. Then as the sun sets and the skies host to nature walks on meandering darken, the Flint Hills become an amazing backdrop trails, horseback rides and the famous for blazing prairie fires—and an amazing opportunity springtime prairie burns that recall the for some unforgettable photos. beloved hills’ rich history and allure.  – Doug Stremel, photographer Kansas’ Flint Hills define the prairie’s ancient heritage and its value as a destination. Spend a day, weekend or week exploring and soaking up its quiet splendor. Admire the unspoiled vistas. Watch a Technicolor • Chase County • On two wheels? sunset under an endless sky. Courthouse The Dirty Kanza Standing somewhere—anywhere—in the Flint was built in 1873. 200 bike race takes Hills, it’s hard to imagine a more perfect place on Earth cyclists through where, indeed, the buffalo roam and the deer and the the Flint Hills. antelope play.

Quick Facts

kansas byways


Pointsofinterest • Madonna of the Trail Statue (Council Grove) • Neosho Riverwalk (Council Grove) • Post Office Oak and Museum (Council Grove) • Allegawaho Memorial Heritage Park (Council Grove) • Washunga Days (Council Grove) • Council Grove Historic District—Whether you’re stopping through to grab lunch at the Hays House 1857 Restaurant and Tavern, partake in a history lesson or peruse the boutiques, this is the quintessential stop for fans of the Flint Hills. (Council Grove) • Kaw Mission State Historic Site and Museum (Council Grove) • Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve (north of Strong City) • Flint Hills Nature Trail—Rail trails are alive and well in Kansas, and the latest installment is the Flint Hills Nature Trail— stretching 120 miles across Kansas and through some of the Flint Hills’ most beautiful landscape.


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Flint Hills

• Flint Hills Rodeo (Strong City) • Santa Fe Depot (Strong City) • Chase State Fishing Lake and Wildlife Area (Cottonwood Falls) • Chase County Courthouse— Completed in 1873, the Chase County Courthouse is the oldest operating county courthouse in Kansas. It is also the second oldest in continuous use west of the Mississippi. (Cottonwood Falls) • Chase County Historical Society and Museum (Cottonwood Falls) • Roniger Native American Museum (Cottonwood Falls) • Schrumpf Hill Overlook (south of Cottonwood Falls) • Pioneer Bluffs—As far as Flint Hills communities go, Matfield Green is the most artistic thanks to the presence of Pioneer Bluffs and The Bank. Enjoy artistic gatherings, speakers and celebrations of the regions. (Matfield Green) • Cassoday Historic Museum (Cassoday)


Harold Gaston


Cow Country The great connectors that link the lush land’s history are grass and cattle. As Flint Hills folklore goes, the soil, rocky and flintstudded—the latter most likely from Native Americans and their arrowheads—swayed would-be farmers from plowing up the pristine Tallgrass Prairie, instead allowing the expansive area to be utilized for grazing cattle. And though the Flint Hills no longer shake with the thundering of cows’ hooves on dusty cattle drives stretching from Texas to Kansas railheads—as they did in the late 19th century—ranching remains an integral part of the storied region’s economy. Cattleman Stephen F. Jones established his sprawling Spring Hills Ranch in 1878, gradually acquiring property comprised of a diverse landscape bursting with hundreds of species of prairie plants and foraging grasses, including big and little bluestem, switchgrass and Indian grass, and animals such as pheasant, deer, antelope and bison. Now part of the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve, Jones’ ranch, known as Z Bar Ranch, allows visitors to experience not only the serenity of the rangeland, but also the daily activities of a working ranch. In 1887, the railroad began transporting cattle into the hills for fattening up; later, this would be followed by trucking, which became commonplace between the two World Wars. Modern-day ranchers help maintain and manage the integrity of the Tallgrass Prairie through custom-grazing cattle and pasture burning. The Flint Hills offer a glimpse into small and large ranches, some stretching for thousands of acres on prime natural grassland. The dips and swells surging throughout the area reveal Hereford, Angus and other breeds of cattle munching during the traditional 100- to 120-day grazing season in the spring and summer. -KimberlyWinter Stern

amenities 1857 Hays House

Council Grove

The Cottage House

Council Grove

Saddlerock Café

Council Grove

Trail Days Cafe

Council Grove

Grand Central Hotel

Cottonwood Falls

Emma Chase Café

Cottonwood Falls

Jim Bell & Son

Cottonwood Falls

Ad Astra Food & Drink Matfield Station bungalows

Strong City Matfield Green

Experience an authentic old trail town at the crossroads of the Santa Fe Trail & the Flint Hills Scenic Byway.

Discover Council Grove & Morris County …where history happens! Council Grove/Morris County Chamber of Commerce & Tourism

620-767-5413 •

Frontie Milita Frontier Military h i s t o r i c


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Fort Scott National Historic Site is a frontier military treasure by day. But seeing the fort grounds illuminated by more than 700 candle lanterns is, well, a sight to see and photograph. I arrived at dusk just as the reenactors were lighting the lanterns. This is the best time to capture the magical light of candles glowing along the sidewalks of the fort. The dusk light also gives you a chance to get some great photos of the reenactors getting ready to depict living history scenes of a frontier prairie Christmas and everyday fort life. – Doug Stremel, photographer

• The Frontier Military Historic Byway runs through much of the Freedom’s Frontier National Heritage Area.

Quick Facts

• Now a National Historic Landmark, Fort Leavenworth was established in 1827. • The Frontier Military Historic Byway travels through eight Kansas counties.

Here Comes the Cavalry Kansas is rich with important landmarks in American military history, many of which are on display on this stretch of eastern Kansas. Where the From Fort Leavenworth, known Waters Flow historically as the “Intellectual Center of the Army” and the The Missouri River oldest active United States Army adjoins the byway post west of Washington D.C., to at its northernmost Fort Scott, a National Historic Site point. Visitors can that was a major base of Union imagine what it was operations and pivotal in the era like to be traveling of “Bleeding Kansas” and the Civil by ferry along the War. The Frontier Military Historic river, disembarking Byway, which runs along Kansas in northeast Kansas, Highway 5, Interstate 435 and and then navigating US-69 to Baxter Springs, displays the state south via Kansas’ strong military roots. this byway. Fort Leavenworth was also the origin of the 10th Calvary Regiment raised in 1866 and one of the four regiments known as the Buffalo Soldiers. One of the largest cavalry battles of the Civil War was fought in the fields surrounding Mine Creek, near Pleasanton. In 1864, two Union brigades of about 2,500 troops defeated approximately 7,000 Confederates. History buffs can tour the visitor center as well as the preserved battle site, the Mine Creek Battlefield, which is the only major Civil War battlefield in Kansas. Free at Last Kansas also played a significant historical role in the evolution of the way this country treated its people. It was along this same trail that the Marais des Cygnes massacre took place in 1858, three years before the outbreak of the Civil War. Near Trading Post, Kansas, a secluded ravine was the site of the murder of five men by pro-slavery Missouri border ruffians. This heinous violence and other incidents, which make up the period known as Bleeding Kansas, was a precursor to the Civil War. Of course, freedoms were also lost in this part of the country. Native Americans were marched to this region as part of the Indian Removal Act. From 1825 to 1850, more than 25 tribes were forced to move west to what would become Kansas. -Seth Jones

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Frontier Military

• Fort Leavenworth Buffalo Soldier Memorial Park • Fort Leavenworth Cemetery • Fort Leavenworth Frontier Army Museum—More than 7,000 items detailing the life of a Frontier Army soldier are proudly displayed and cared for in this museum. The artifacts, which include weapons, uniforms and even vehicles used by the soldiers, come from as far back as 1804, but have been made available for visitors to view. (U.S. ID required) • Quindaro Ruins (Kansas City) • Kaw Point Park—This 6-acre park offers travelers a scenic break. Kaw Point boasts trails through the woods with signs to help guide you along the way. The open-air Education Pavilion provides a focal point in this scenic area. (Kansas City) • Merriam Historic Plaza (Merriam) • Turkey Creek Streamway Park Trail (Merriam) • Sar-Ko-Par Trails Park and Legler Barn Museum (Lenexa) • Johnson County Museum (Shawnee) • Shawnee Mission State Historic Site • Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead (Overland Park) • Historic Downtown Overland Park • Museum at Prairiefire (Overland Park) • Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art—Those craving a creative look at the world can head to the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, which offers 16 exciting exhibitions every year, featuring your favorite local artists alongside internationally acclaimed works of art. (Overland Park)

• Overland Park Arboretum and Botanical Gardens • Mahaffie Stagecoach Stop and Farm (Olathe) • Rutlader Wildlife Area (Louisburg) • Louisburg-Middle Creek and Miami State Fishing Lake (Louisburg) • Miami County Wineries (Paola) • Marais des Cygnes National Wildlife Refuge (north of Pleasanton) • Marais des Cygnes Massacre State Historic Site (north of Pleasanton) • Trading Post Rest Area (junction of K-52 and US-69) • Trading Post Museum (Trading Post) • Mine Creek Battlefield State Historic Site (Pleasanton) • La Cygne Wildlife Area (Pleasanton) • Fort Scott National Historic Site— Kansas played a pivotal role in westward expansion and the Civil War, and Fort Scott tells an important part of the story. The site offers a rich cultural look, including vivid living history programs, into the scenes and stories that made up the history of the area from 18421873. (Fort Scott) • Fort Scott National Cemetery • Miners Hall Museum (Franklin) • Mined Land Wildlife Area (North of Pittsburg) • Veterans Memorial Ampitheater at Pittsburg State (Pittsburg) • Big Brutus (West Mineral) • Baxter Springs Heritage Center and Museum (Baxter Springs) • Fort Blair (Baxter Springs) • Baxter Springs City Cemetery Soldiers’ Lot • Veteran’s Memorial Park (Baxter Springs)

amenities High Noon Saloon New Theatre Restaurant Louisburg Cider Mill Cookee’s Drive-In


Louisburg Pleasanton

Lyons Twin Mansions

Fort Scott

Courtland Hotel

Fort Scott

Crawford State Park, Fishing Lake and Cabins

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Leavenworth Overland Park

northwest of Arma

Chicken Annie’s/Mary’s


Frontenac Bakery


New Lancaster General Store & Winery

! e m i t n i k c a b p e t S

• Kansas art, foods and products • Listed on the National Register of Historic Places

Bring the whole family to enjoy: • Over 28 miles of trails • Playground with 3 levels of difficulty • Restroom facilities • Picnic shelters • Large parking lot with grills Admission is just $15 daily for vehicles or $5 for bicycles or hikers.

Featuring Kansas wines

36688 New Lancaster Rd., LaCygne, KS 66040 2 ½ miles W. of 69 Hwy. • 913 377-4689

Purchase an annual access pass for only $60.

Proud Past – Brilliant Future 785-528-3714 (Osage City Hall)

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a behindthelens Some of my most memorable visits to the Glacial Hills Scenic Byway have been in October to see the explosion of colorful fall foliage. The entire area is beautiful, but the bluffs overlooking the Missouri River in Atchison are among my favorite spots. Watching (and photographing) the rising sun light up the trees with deep reds and bright yellows never gets old. The low autumn sun yields good foliage photographs all day long, but morning and evening light will help you get those extra special shots. – Doug Stremel, photographer

• Lewis and Clark celebrated Independence Day in Atchison in 1804.


• Doniphan County is known as the Barn Capitol of Kansas.


• The C.W. Parker Carousel Museum in Leavenworth has been a fan favorite among children and children at heart. • this byway offers some the hilliest landscape in the state, perfect for a motorcycle ride.

The Mighty Mo The picturesque Glacial Hills Scenic Byway travels alongside the Missouri River from White Cloud to Leavenworth. Highway K-7 nearly runs parallel to the “Mighty Mo,” which carries historic significance in the region. The river’s legacy is bound with the people of the plains, as the main thoroughfare for explorers, the military and westward expansion. Explorers Lewis and Clark celebrated the first July Fourth of their famous expedition in 1804 near the Missouri River and the community of Atchison. Today, the Lewis and Clark Commemorative Marker in Troy celebrates their journey and passage though Kansas. Fort Leavenworth, founded in 1827, remains the oldest active United States Army post west of Washington D.C., “first built to fulfill the military’s need for a presence in the West.” The fort’s presence set the roots for the community of Leavenworth, which was founded in 1854 and became the first incorporated city in Kansas (the state was admitted to the union in 1861). Legendary Feats Amelia Earhart is one of Kansas’ most well-known legends. Native to Atchison, she is still celebrated by the community through the Amelia Earhart Birthplace Museum; the fascinating earthwork of her profile by artist Stan Herd; and the annual Amelia Earhart Festival, featuring fly-ins, fireworks and entertainment. Historic Remnants Atchison is peppered with Victorian-era architecture. The area features more than 20 sites on the National Register of Historic Places, showcasing intricate craftsmanship in historic neighborhoods. The Atchison County Historical Society Museum and Santa Fe Depot also display relics from the county, showcasing the heritage of the region’s pioneers and American Indians. The Carroll Mansion in Leavenworth is filled with artifacts from Leavenworth County, and the Victorian Shoppe features specialty items. The C.W. Parker Carousel Museum in Leavenworth features a different kind of craftsmanship: carousel horses. A 1913 carousel on display boasts intricate, hand-carved horses. -Katherine Dinsdale & Katy Ibsen

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• 4-State Lookout —You’ll immediately know why 4-State Lookout was named one of the 8 Wonders of Kansas when you step up on the viewing platform in White Cloud and see four states: Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska and Iowa. (White Cloud) • Iowa and Sac & Fox Mission State Historic Site (Highland) • Doniphan County Courthouse (Troy) • Tall Oak Indian Monument (Troy) • Nelson Rogers House (Troy) • Amelia Earhart Birthplace Museum and Festival—Celebrate the life of one of Kansas’ most treasured heroes at the Amelia Earhart Birthplace Museum. Thousands make the pilgrimage to the historic site every year to learn about the pioneering aviator. The recently restored home features period furniture, art pieces, and educational programs and events. (Atchison) • International Forest of Friendship (Atchison) • Haunted Ghost and Trolley Tours (Atchison) • Amelia Earhart Earthwork (Atchison) • Kanza Tribe Lewis and Clarks Independence Creek (Atchison) • Muchnic Art Gallery (Atchison) • Atchison County Historical Museum (Atchison) • Evah C. Cray Historical Home Museum (Atchison) • Santa Fe Depot and Atchison Visitor Information Center (Atchison)

amenities Tuck U Inn at Glick Mansion


Atchison State Fishing Lake Cabins Atchison

Nell Hill’s


Corner Pharmacy

Paolucci’s Restaurant


Pullman Place Restaurant Leavenworth


Gateway to Kansas Shops


Sis’ Sweets Cookies & Café Leavenworth

Pepper Mill & Co


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• 1888 Union Depot (Leavenworth) • Wayside Walking/Driving Tours (Leavenworth) • Carroll Mansion museum (Leavenworth) • C.W. Parker Carousel Museum (Leavenworth) • Leavenworth Landing Park— Leavenworth Landing Park celebrates travelers like you. This scenic park stretches along the Missouri River and commemorates the riverboats, railroad, wagon escorts and military roads that put Leavenworth on the map. This park is also available for special events throughout the year.


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gypsum hills Cow Country Travelers motoring west of Medicine Lodge on Highway 160 are awestruck by the sheer beauty of thousands of acres of rugged hills, buttes, canyons and mesas. The 42-mile stretch from Medicine Lodge to Coldwater is properly named the Gypsum Hills or, to some, the Red Hills. The Gypsum Hills Scenic Byway offers an “off the beaten path” route. Three miles west of Medicine Lodge, a sign marks the entrance of a drive that introduces visitors to some of Kansas’ well known inhabitants— wandering herds of cattle, wild turkeys, deer, prairie dogs, bobcats and coyotes, just to name a few. At first, a visitor might feel compelled to comment that these Red Hills bear an eerie resemblance to an Arizona desert, but that can’t be. In most years, sufficient rainfall produces an ever-growing population of wildflowers surrounded by bluestem grasses. It’s this diverse and unique landscape that spawned The Nature Conservancy’s Red Hills Initiative—an effort to preserve the land and some of its inhabitants, such as the lesser prairie chicken. And as fall turns to winter, don’t be surprised if you meet up with a few thousand mountain bluebirds who fly here for the cold-weather months. Here the Kansas Championship Ranch Rodeo commences each September. The Medicine Lodge Pageant Arena comes alive with the cheers and roars of a crowd waiting to honor a new class or rodeo professionals. The Medicine Lodge Indian Peace Treaty Pageant commemorates the Peace Council of 1867 between the U.S. government and the Plains Indians. The reenactment is a unique experience in the Red Hills, giving its audience an education in Kansas’ American Indian heritage. The Gypsum Hills Trail Rides take visitors on a horseback ride through the Red Hills, showcasing the area’s unique landscape, wildlife and flora. An admirer of the region is Kevin Noland, editor of the Gyp Hill Premiere newspaper. As a child he hiked the Gypsum Hills, and he’ll be the first to share that there is nothing quite like watching a sunset here. “Most people think Kansas is flat; they just have no idea of the beauty we have west of Medicine Lodge,” he says. -Richard Shank


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behindthelens The Gypsum Hills is like no other place in Kansas. In a good way. Some people call them the Red Hills, and you’ll quickly realize why when you see the dramatic red buttes created when exposed, iron-rich soil “rusts.” That’s right, the soil is rusted red. I took one of my favorite Kansas landscape photographs from the top of a flat mesa as the sun set over a deep canyon. I was lucky to be there. Almost as lucky as stumbling into the home-cooked pies at the Sale Barn Cafe in Medicine Lodge. That was some sensational pie. – Doug Stremel, photographer


• Temperance leader Carrie Nation was from Medicine Lodge.


• The popular purple coneflower can be seen throughout the region.

Pointsofinterest • Coldwater Lake (Coldwater) • Stan Herd Murals—It’s easy to spot the work of one of Kansas’ most beloved artists. Stan Herd’s striking murals can be found in Wilmore and Coldwater, depicting historic scenes in Kansas history. The internationally-known artist used the Wilmore wheat elevator as his canvas to depict the story of the Wilmore coin toss. (Wilmore) • Carrie A. Nation Home (Medicine Lodge) • Gypsum Hills Trail Rides—Saddle up and get ready for one of the most colorful trail rides in Kansas. The Gypsum Hills Trail Rides let you see an array of colorful landscapes, all on horseback. You’ll soon understand why this scene with a spectacular view has been a popular spot for television and film shoots.  (Medicine Lodge)

Gypsum Hills

• Medicine Lodge Stockade Museum— Put yourself in the shoes of a pioneer looking towards the West for a better life. It’s easy to do at the Medicine Lodge Stockade Museum, where you’ll get a crash course in what it took for pioneers to work together and survive day to day in a stockade. (Medicine Lodge) • Medicine Lodge Peace Treaty Commemorating Statue • Medicine Lodge Peace Treaty Pageant of 2015 • Barber State Fishing Lake (Medicine Lodge) • Gypsum Hills Scenic Overlook (west of Medicine Lodge) • Gypsum Hills Wildlife Drive (south of Medicine Lodge) • Salt Fork Arkansas River (southwest of Medicine Lodge) • Kansas Championship Ranch Rodeo (Medicine Lodge) • Sagebrush Gallery of Western Art (Medicine Lodge) • The Stan Herd Art Gallery (Protection)

amenities Main St. Pharmacy


Comanche Motel

Timberwolfe Inn


Raykies Grill & Dairy

Dave’s Pizza Oven


Bunkhouse @ Wildfire Ranch Medicine Lodge

The Blonde Grill


Medicine River Truck Stop

Lazy T Grill Coldwater

Coldwater Medicine Lodge Medicine Lodge

kansas byways


Visit the Heart of the Flint Hills

... in Wabaunsee County

Take time for yourself ... in Wabaunsee County. Plan your trip today!

Antique Emporium of Alma Historic Downtown Alma 322 Missouri Alma, KS 785.765.3332

Stone Fence Restoration Workshops held Annually in the Spring and Fall

Medicine Lodge Peace Treaty 2015 September 25, 26 & 27, 2015


Where History Walks out of the Library and onto the Landscape!

Mon-Sat: 10:00 am - 6:00 pm Sun: 12:00 pm - 6:00 pm

Alma Creamery

509 East Third Alma, KS 66401 785.765.3522

Wabaunsee County Economic Development Hours: Mon-Fri 8-5 Sat 9-3

Home of the “Nibblin’ Good” Alma Cheese! Located at Scenic Lake Wabaunsee follow the scenic route around the lake, find us on the southeast corner of the lake

Hours: Sat-Sun 11am - 4pm Or by appointment 785-449-2170

An Old Time Shopping Experience

Experience of a lifetime! 620.886.9815

Native native stone Stone s c e n i c

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native stone Etched in Stone Limestone has given rise—literally—to a beautiful and functional feature of the Kansas landscape: fences. In 1867, laws abolished the open range and provided payment to settlers to build fences to enclose their pastures. Fence stones were dug from bedrock and laid without mortar into durable double-sided walls. Miles of these fences are still standing in Wabaunsee County, and they are one of the many pleasures of driving the 48-mile Native Stone Scenic Byway. The byway winds through the northern Flint Hills, stretches of rolling prairie with pockets of trees, picturesque farms and ranches, and historically preserved small towns, as well as past spring-fed Lake Wabaunsee, a Works Progress Administration project built in the 1930s. What you see today will take you back a century or more, when German and Swedish pioneer stonemasons constructed their fences and towns from the limestone that was easily accessible in this region. The limestone, a single bed of rock 8-12 inches thick, lies just beneath the soil surface of about 3 million acres in north central Kansas. Freshly quarried, it was soft enough to cut; it hardened with exposure to air. Tiny, unincorporated Dover, which was settled in 1856, sits on the eastern end of the byway. The 1878 Sage Inn and Stagecoach Station, built of native stone, was once a respite for travelers on the Southwest Trail; today it still welcomes travelers as a bed and breakfast. Across the street is the Sommerset Hall Café, which in the 1800s was the town’s general store, and now features “famous fried chicken” and delicious pies. Stone fences dot the area where the route turns north from Highway 4 to Highway 99. They seem an organic part of the hilly landscape, creating a ribbon of stone that follows the road into Alma, the “City of Native Stone.” Alma’s downtown feels like a trip into the 19th century, and, in fact, it is on the National Register of Historic Places. Take a walking/driving tour among the city’s historic buildings; visit Railroad Park, with its early hand-dug well, log cabin and a millinery shop; and see artifacts from the mid-1880s through the 1940s, including the original tools used for quarrying and moving stone, at the Wabaunsee County Historical Museum. The Alma Creamery, which has been making cheese since 1942, and the Alma Bakery offer tasty highlights. The byway is a drive through Kansas’ early history, which is etched in stone. -Carol Holstead


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behindthelens On my travels to the byways of Kansas, I have shot many time-lapse scenes. And the majority of them include clouds. There’s nothing better than capturing those amazing puffy, white clouds as they roll across the Kansas landscapes. One of the very best places to capture those scenes is along the Native Stone Scenic Byway. The combination of the endless rolling hills and beautifully restored native stone fences provides a perfect backdrop for clouds moving effortlessly overhead. – Doug Stremel, photographer

• Great byway for cruising on a motorcycle.

• In May, Alma hosts a Native Stone Festival.


• In 2008, Good Morning America named the Sommerset Hall Café’s coconut cream pie the best pie in America.


• To get a hands-on experience, visit for more information on Stone Fence Workshops. (Registration required)


Native Stone

• Alma is considered the City of Native Stone • 1878 Sage Inn & Stagecoach Station (Dover) • Alma City Lake (Alma) • Kinne & Kearns Merchandise Building (Alma) • Wabaunsee County Historical Museum (Alma) • Lake Wabaunsee—This natural, springfed lake is a gem, hidden in the Flint Hills along the Native Stone Scenic Byway. Popular for water sports, recreation and homesteads, the community surrounding the lake welcomes visitors any time of the year. The area is also rich with history, having housed a German POW camp during WWII. • Waugh Building (Eskridge) • Eskridge City Park (Eskridge)

• Mount Mitchell Heritage Prairie Preserve (Wabaunsee County) • Underground Railroad heritage sites (Wabaunsee County) • Beecher Bible and Rifle Church (Wabaunsee County) • Skyline Mill Creek Scenic Drive (Wabaunsee County) • Echo Cliff Park—Named as one of the 8 Geographical Wonders of Kansas, Echo Cliff Park boasts a Native American heritage dating back to 800-100 AD. With its magnificent stone walls and views of Mission Creek, the area is ideal for artists looking to be inspired by an unexpected natural landscape. (Dover) • Dover—Whether you are enjoying delicious fried chicken from the Sommerset Hall Café or watching the parade of the Dover Heritage Days—this little K-4 community will capture your heart. • Native Stone barns, fences and homesteads

amenities Alma Creamery


Gem Resort

Lake Wabaunsee

Alma Bakery & Sweet Shoppe


Dolly’s Diner


Antique Emporium Alma

Sommerset Hall Café


Wabaunsee Pines Golf

1878 Historic Sage Inn


Lake Wabaunsee

kansas byways


Post post rock Rock s c e n i c


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post rock

behindthelens Who can resist homemade Czechoslovakian ring bologna, cured bacon, smoked link sausages and beef jerky? No one—especially if you stop by Brant’s Meat Market in my favorite quirky grassroots art community of Lucas. Doug Brant is the third generation to operate the market, which opened in 1922. You’ll quickly realize that Brant might just be one of the funniest guys in central Kansas. He entertains customers from behind his old-fashioned gold cash register while offering a taste of his famous homemade meats. Brant agreed to let me take his photo if I bought some bologna. He was joking, I think. But I got a nice photo and a bag full of bologna, beef jerky, bacon and link sausages. I got the better end of that deal. – Doug Stremel, photographer

• Find Post Rock Scenic Byway on Facebook for the latest happenings.


• Brant’s Meat Market was named as one of the 8 Wonders of Kansas Commerce (and it features really good bologna).


• Events include Oktoberfest and the Adam’s Apple Festival (Labor Day weekend). • Check out the Switchgrass Mountain Bike Trail at Wilson State Park.

Huddled Masses, Immigrants Among the Europeans who flooded into Kansas in the 1870s were immigrants from Czechoslovakia enticed by work on the railroad and cheap land in the rolling hills where the Post Rock Scenic Byway now winds along Kansas-232. While in other parts of Kansas trees were readily available for building, few existed here. The innovative pioneers, many of whom were craftsmen before becoming farmers, discovered that the limestone beneath their feet could be used to build homes, barns and even fence posts—inspiring the byway’s name. Evidence of their ingenuity and masonry skills remain today in the form of miles of stone fence posts and structures—both in rural areas such as Stone Cottage Farm and the communities of Lucas and Wilson at each end of the byway. Wilson’s Midland Railroad Hotel and Round Stone Jail notably display this artistic legacy. The Show Must Go On Artists are drawn to the area, making the byway a mecca of creativity. The most notable attraction in Lucas is the worldrenowned Garden of Eden, an unusual massive sculpture garden created by Samuel Perry Dinsmoor between 1907 and 1932. Dinsmoor began by building his home out of limestone logs and cement; then he constructed 40-foot concrete trees on which perch larger-than-life figures. Many other independent-thinking, untrained artists settled in the area, and Lucas became known as the Grassroots Arts Capital of Kansas. Downtown, three limestone buildings are filled with their work, comprising the Grassroots Art Center. Behind the Center, a Post Rock Courtyard outdoor exhibit features architectural embellishments created in limestone by stonemasons from Lucas’ early days; it pays tribute to the artistry and innovative spirit of the town’s founding fathers. Community creativity lives on in the more recently created Bowl Plaza, a quirky mosaic art installation leading to public restrooms. Deeble Rock Garden, the Garden of Isis, and The World’s Largest Things are equally fascinating. In Wilson, the Kansas Originals Market showcases the unique work of Kansas artists, craftsmen and food producers. Known as the Czech Capital of Kansas, Wilson celebrates its heritage every July with an After Harvest Czech Festival. -Cecilia Harris

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Post Rock

• Bowl Plaza – This is the quirkiest and most artistic restroom in Kansas. Murals lead up to the entrance and continue inside the toilet-tank shaped public restroom. (Lucas) • Grassroots Art Center—It’s more than folk art. It’s outsider art—meaning that the artists aren’t formally trained, and they use found objects to create their wondrous works. See the life-sized pull tab motorcycle metal art, one-of-a-kind dolls and much more. (Lucas) • Garden of Eden (Lucas) • Florence Deeble’s Rock Garden and house (Lucas) • World’s Largest Souvenir Travel Plate—A highly original welcome sign (Lucas) • World’s Largest Collection of World’s Smallest Versions of World’s Largest Things (Lucas) • Miller’s Park (Lucas) • LUCAS POST ROCK SCULPTURES— Through out the area, various sculptures are made from Post Rock. Along the byways visitors will see four faces carved into Post Rock fence posts.

• Wind Power—Across Kansas, more and more wind turbines are popping up. This alternative form of energy is particularly popular in the Midwest because of the amount of wind sweeping across the prairies. Smoky Hills Wind Farm can be seen close to Interstate 70. (Wilson) • Wilson State Park and Wildlife Area • Czech Community—A thriving Czech community resides in Wilson, and the town takes pride in this heritage. Travel the byway at the end of July to attend the annual Czech Festival. Also home to the world’s largest Czech Egg. czech_festival.htm (Wilson)

amenities Brant’s Meat Market Linda’s Cafe Kansas Originals


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Midland Railroad Hotel



Grandma’s Soda Shop



Something Unexpected The feel of the Wild West with all the comforts of Home. Kanopolis State Park is centrally located in Kansas, which makes it a great place to meet friends and family from across the United States. Rental Cabins • 29 Miles of Trails Guided Trail Rides • Marina • Camping

To make reservations, go to | 785-546-2565


Marquette Explore our unique stores in our 1890’S RESTORED VICTORIAN MAIN STREET: • Old-Fashioned Ice Cream Parlor • Art Galleries • Vintage Boutiques • Photography Studio • Gift Shops • Restaurants • Fuel • Historic Museums 

“One of Kansas’ best-kept secrets” PART OF PRAIRIE TRAIL SCENIC BYWAY Marquette Chamber Of Commerce

Prairie Prairie Trail Trail s c e n i c


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Prairie Trail

behindthelens My Kansas photo library includes many images from the Prairie Trail Scenic Byway. But there is one spot that I keep going back to again and again—Mushroom Rock State Park. After photographing these peculiar rocks, I found out that they are known by an equally peculiar name, “hoodoos.” Now you know. You’ll find many strangelooking rocks and find many more opportunities to shoot great-looking photos. – Doug Stremel, photographer

• The Maxwell Wildlife Refuge habitat features over 225 species of birds, including bald eagle, as well as bison and elk herds.

Quick Facts

• It’s suggested that explorer Francisco Coronado charted the countryside from Coronado Heights in the early 1540s. • Cyclists like to challenge the hills of the Prairie Trail Scenic Byway, what is known as the Roxbury Hills Ride.

The Explorers For more than 500 years immigrants, travelers, hunters and explorers have come to Kansas to discover its riches. And the Prairie Trail Scenic Byway, along Kansas 141 and Kansas-4, reveals these stories. One of the first explorers was Francisco Vasquez de Coronado, the Spanish governor of Nueva Galicia, a province in northern Mexico. Coronado had heard tales of a northern land, the kingdom of Quivira, in presentday Kansas, where inhabitants were so prosperous they drank from jugs made of gold. Intoxicated with the thought of great riches, Coronado and his men crossed into what is now Kansas possibly near Liberal, with Coronado’s journal indicating they crossed the Arkansas River on June 29, 1541. They followed the river until they encountered a village of Quivira Indians (in the present-day counties of Rice and McPherson). Despite the disappointment of not finding gold, the group did discover soil that Coronado described as “rich and black … well-watered by arroyos, springs and rivers.” And he found plums, nuts, grapes and mulberries growing so abundantly that he mentioned them in his journal. Before he gave up his search for gold and headed back to Mexico, it is believed that Coronado may have climbed a hill northwest of today’s Lindsborg. That hill is now known as Coronado Heights, and it remains a favored attraction for travelers looking for a picturesque picnic spot, a long perspective across fertile Kansas farmlands or the perfect photo of the state’s aweinspiring sunsets or sunrises. It was these stirring landscape views from the bluffs, along with the fertile soil, sufficient supplies of wood and stone for building, and the opportunity to obtain cheap land, thanks to the passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854, which brought many immigrants to the state. Along with German, French, Russian and Swiss immigrants, the Swedes came to this area in large numbers. Lindsborg, known today as “Little Sweden,” actively preserves its Swedish heritage. Bethany College, founded in 1881 by the Rev. Dr. Carl A. Swensson, one of Lindsborg’s early settlers, is also home to the Birger Sandzén Memorial Gallery, which houses the largest and most extensive collection of the famed Swedish-born local artist’s work. Shops, galleries, restaurants, historical sites and festivals in the area continue to celebrate this tradition. -Lou Ann Thomas

kansas byways


Pointsofinterest • Ellsworth, the Wickedest Cattletown in Kansas • Fort Harker (Near Ellsworth) • Mushroom Rock State Park (East of Ellsworth) • Kanopolis State Park—Kanopolis State Park has it all. Adventurers can go horseback riding and mountain biking, while those looking for a break can hit the beaches and picnic areas. See native species at the Wildlife Area. With more than 200 campsites and spectacular nature trails, you’ll never run out of reasons to keep coming back. http:// Kanopolis (Marquette) • Smoky Hill/Kanopolis Wildlife Area (Marquette) • Marquette Pioneer Trail • Kansas Motorcycle Museum—It’s time to hop on that hog and rev up your chopper knowledge. More than 100 vintage and rare motorcycles of all makes and models rest inside the Kansas Motorcycle Museum. You can find this gem on the main drag in Marquette, filled with loads of racing memorabilia, posters and more. (Marquette) • Thunder on the Smoky Annual Motorcycle Rally (Marquette) • Lindsborg—Välkommen! If you’re looking for a whimsical escape from the road, stop by the eccentric Lindsborg. This quaint community is dotted with Dala Horses and

Prairie Trail

bursting with Swedish pride and a love for local art. • Swedish Dala Horses (Lindsborg) • Coronado Heights, scenic overlook and WPA project (Lindsborg) • McPherson County Old Mill Museum & Roller Mill (Lindsborg) • Birger Sandzén Memorial Art Gallery (Lindsborg) • Historic Carnegie Library (Canton) • Maxwell Wildlife Refuge—Come enjoy your home on the range at the state’s largest home to public bison. The spectacular prairie, flowing with several species of grasses and forbs, stretches over 300 acres. (north of Canton) • Hiking and biking trails (McPherson County)

amenities Pretty Boy Floyd’s Kanopolis State Park and Cabins


Valley Café


Seasons of the Fox Bed and Breakfast


Swedish Country Inn


Swedish Crown Restaurant




Downtown Art Galleries


McPherson State Fishing Lake and Cabins


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Route Route 66 66 h i s t o r i c

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route 66 Ways West One of the most famous roads in America, Route 66 stretches from Chicago to Santa Monica, California. John Steinbeck called Route 66 “the mother road” in his 1939 Pulitzer Prize winner The Grapes of Wrath, and that name endures today. The road stretches for 2,451 miles, and though only 13.2 of those miles catch the southeast corner of Kansas, the mother road is hugely important to the communities of Galena, Riverton and Baxter Springs, which sit along the historic byway. Scott Nelson, owner of the historic Old Riverton Store in Riverton, has seen countless cars roll through his small town in the 39 years he’s worked at the store. “This is a unique community of 1,000 people, and Route 66 runs right through our town,” he says. During the Great Depression, Route 66 became the “road of flight” for families escaping the Dust Bowl. For decades, this was the route the U.S. military used to transport troops and supplies west. And in the 1960s, hippies loaded their Volkswagen buses and used Route 66 to get to California. Nelson knows the Old Riverton Store, founded in 1925, wouldn’t be what it is today without Route 66. “Tourists like to stop, eat, fuel up,” he says. “Anything coming in is helpful.” Mines In this same area of Kansas, coal, oil, natural gas, lead, zinc, salt and other valuable resources were discovered and mined throughout the early 20th century. It was especially important to the communities of Galena and Baxter Springs, as well as a handful of ghost towns that have long since disappeared. The discovery of lead and zinc in the area was both a blessing and a curse. The mining business was needed to boost the area’s local economy, but the resulting damage to the land and to the health of the miners, and the risk of cave-ins, made for a poor quality of life for the people in the area. (It is said, however, that the Baxter Springs city council wisely spared its land by prohibiting mining within and around the town.) Southeast Kansas’ mining heritage is on display today at both the Galena Mining and Historical Museum and the Baxter Springs Heritage Center and Museum. As for other communities like Baxter Springs’ one-time neighbor Hockerville, Oklahoma? Gone forever, only remaining in old black and white photographs. -Seth Jones


kansas byways

behindthelens You only have one chance to relive historic Route 66 in Kansas—one short, 13.2-mile stretch that cuts across the southeast corner of the state. And you only have one chance along the entire stretch of the Mother Road to drive over an original “Rainbow” bridge. Between Riverton and Baxter Springs, you’ll find the Marsh Arch “Rainbow” Bridge. It’s an impressive little single-span bridge— and a great spot to take some beautiful scenic photos, or better yet, take a historically-cool selfie for your Facebook profile pic. I did both. – Doug Stremel, photographer

• This is the shortest Byway, at 13.2 miles.


• Tow Tater (found at cars on the route) was the inspiration for character Tow Mater in the Pixar movie Cars.


• Schermerhorn Park near Galena showcases work from the 1930s WPA (Works Progress Administration). • Popular among international travelers.


Route 66

• Cars on the Route (Galena) • Southeast Kansas Nature Center— High atop a hill overlooking Shoal Creek lays a goldmine for nature and history buffs. If you look closely, you can spot wildlife found on the endangered species list roaming the Southeast Kansas Nature Center. Perhaps you’ll see them while hiking the center’s extensive nature trails.  (Galena) • Galena Mining and Historical Museum • Galena Viaduct • Schermerhorn Park, Schermerhorn Cave (Galena) • Old Riverton Store—There’s a reason the Old Riverton Store landed on the National Register of Historic Places. The store, a perfect stopping point for travelers, operates exactly as it did in 1925. The authentic spot offers

a fun atmosphere where you can make new friends and enjoy a glimpse into the past. (Riverton) • Spring River (Riverton) • Spring River Wildlife Area (Riverton) • Rainbow Bridge (west of Riverton) • Baxter Springs Heritage Center and Museum • Baxter Springs Route 66 Visitors’ Center—This Visitors’ Center offers more than just a resting place for weary travelers. The historic structure was recently restored to its 1940s appearance, and proudly celebrates Kansas’ place in Route 66’s colorful history. baxter_springs_station.html • Baxter Springs Cow Town history • Murals and Ghost Writings along Route 66 that share insight in to old paintings from yesteryear.

amenities Steve’s Candy Main Street Deli Nelson’s Old Riverton Store

Galena Galena Riverton


Baxter Springs

Angels on the Route

Baxter Springs

Rose Cottage

Baxter Springs

Inn on Riverstreet

Baxter Springs

kansas byways


Share Our Sky of Wonder!

• Cedar Bluff State Park, Reservoir & Wildlife Area • Smoky Valley Scenic Byway • Halfway between Kansas City & Denver on 70


WaKeeney Travel & Tourism

877-962-7248 |




(785) 945-3225 14910 BLUE MOUND RD. VALLEY FALLS, KS 66088



Smoky Smoky Valley Valley s c e n i c

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Smoky Valley Ancient Seas The Smoky Valley Scenic Byway, which loops south of Interstate 70 from WaKeeney to Ogallah, offers some of the most “uncharacteristically Kansas” vistas of the state, cruising over land that used to be covered by the Western Interior Seaway over 150 million years ago. Cedar Bluff State Park, south of Ogallah, is an outdoor enthusiast’s retreat. More than 150 years ago, pioneers, traders and other explorers passing through made it a point to stop here, even leaving graffiti that is still visible today on the tall, sheer limestone bluffs. Today, the state park is a fantastic family vacation spot for fishing, hiking, boating, swimming, biking, or even just relaxing next to the water. Don’t miss the cabins. The Wilcox Schoolhouse, located 16 miles south of WaKeeney, is a perfect example of a period building that preserves Kansas’ early limestone history. Standing out against the prairie, the schoolhouse shows visitors how ingenious pioneers used their natural resources to build a community here. The Smoky Valley Scenic Byway features rolling limestone hills, but seeing one of the most remarkable Kansas features requires a slight detour off the Byway to Monument and Castle Rocks southwest of WaKeeney. The rock structures are remnants of the ancient sea, the Western Interior Seaway, that used to cover Kansas—fossils, captured in the limestone over the course of millions of years, are easily visible in the rock and offer visitors a peek into the past. Catch at first light for a view that makes the detour well worth the trip; as the sunrise lights up the towering white limestone formations, native birds and other wildlife create an early-morning show that can’t be seen anywhere else. There are few places in Kansas where the prehistoric world and the state’s history meet so well, but the Smoky Valley Scenic Byway is one of them. Photographers looking to capture incredible landscapes and wildlife, families looking for an adventure close to home, or anyone who wants to see Kansas in a different light should make it a must to travel the Smoky Valley Scenic Byway. -Greta K Perel


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behindthelens The Smoky Hill River Valley is named for its hazy appearance at sunrise and sunset. I had visited the Smoky Valley Scenic Byway several times, but I was never lucky enough to see the hazy valley— not until my next, early-June visit. I headed south at the Ogallah exit along Highway 147. The sun was just coming up over the horizon and the valley was filled with a spectacular, foggy haze. So many photos to take, so little time. I started with the greenish-gold fields of wheat. I saw the deer stopping along the side of the road and others silhouetted by the rising sun, the wildflowers and yuccas peeking out in the haze, and finally, Cedar Bluff Reservoir bathed in beautiful fog. It only lasted around 25 minutes, but it was an unforgettable experience. – Doug Stremel, photographer

• WaKeeney celebrates the holidays with Christmas City of the High Plains, featuring more than 6,000 lights.

Quick Facts

• Enjoy various wildflower tours throughout the area. • Scenes from the film Paper Moon were filmed at the Trego County Courthouse.


Smoky Valley

• Cedar Bluff Wildlife Area (southeast of WaKeeney) • Christmas Tree lighting—Since 1950 WaKeeney has been known as the Christmas City of the High Plains. • Kansas Veterans’ Cemetery (WaKeeney) • Wilcox School (south of WaKeeney) • Trego County Courthouse (WaKeeney) • Threshing Machine Canyon—This unique site is famous for its historic Bluffton station on the Butterfield Overland Despatch. As the 1867 legend has it, a threshing machine was en route when the Indians attacked the couriers, killing them all and setting fire to the machine. (WaKeeney)

• Butterfield Overland Despatch heritage (near WaKeeney) • Emanuel Lutheran Church—Swedish immigrants establishing roots in Kansas built this historic limestone church in 1902. The petite church still serves a small congregation today. (south of Ogallah) • Nicodemus National Historic Site— Honoring the African American heritage in this community and throughout the state. See exhibits, events and programming. (Nicodemus) • Cottonwood Ranch State Historical Site—Enjoy the story of British immigrant John Fenton Pratt through a self-guided tour of his homestead. cottonwood_ranch (Studley) • Minium Fossil Quarry Mural (Morland)

amenities Western Kansas Saloon & Grill


Butterfield Trail Bunkhouse


Two Blondes Bakery & Deli


Gibson Health Mart, Soda Fountain WaKeeney Cedar Bluff State Park and Cabins


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Wester Vistas western vistas h i s t o r i c


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rn s • The elevation of Mount Sunflower is 4,039 feet; it is the highest point in Kansas.

western vistas

behindthelens I remember vividly the first time that I visited Monument Rocks. We arrived late in the afternoon as the sun was about an hour from setting. I couldn’t believe these breathtaking rock formations existed here, and the light was truly spectacular! We jumped out of the car and took about 25 photos. Then the sun quickly died behind a giant bank of dark clouds. Really? Not now! We were depressed, but we weren’t giving up. Just as the sun hit the horizon, the clouds cleared, and the rocks were once again showered in golden light. It was photographic heaven. We stayed well into the night shooting long-exposures of the starry skies over Monument Rocks. – Doug Stremel, photographer

Quick Facts

• Lake Scott State Park measures 1,120 acres. • Fossils found in the area date back to ancient times.

• Visit for the latest events and attractions.

National Landscape To travel the 102 miles of the Western Vistas Byway, along US-40, US-83 and Kansas 95, is to cross the floor of an ancient Cretaceous sea, explore monuments sculpted by nature—and by artists taking inspiration from the oneof-a-kind character of the state—retrace trails blazed by stagecoaches and cattle drives, and relive the extraordinary history that shaped this country. Today, a carpet of blue grama, buffalo, and other grasses wave where ocean waters once stood. Adorned, especially in spring, with the vibrant hues of hundreds of wildflowers—the red-orange of Indian blanketflower, blue of prairie spiderwort and pale yellow of prickly pear cactus. The shortgrass prairie provides rich grazing for livestock, and at The Nature Conservancy’s Smoky Valley Ranch, bison roam the prairie as they did centuries ago; meanwhile, public trails allow visitors to explore the natural history of the area on foot. Western Vistas cuts through land rich in fossils. Intriguing finds, such as the recent discovery of a 15,500-year-old mammoth unearthed near Scott City, capture the imagination. Archaeological ruins and a pioneer home at Lake Scott State Park give visitors an inside look into the antiquated life of High Plains inhabitants, from the 17th-century Native American pueblo El Cuartelejo, a national historic landmark, to the nearby Steele home, which offers a glimpse into life on the frontier more than 100 years ago. Among the sites unique to this western Kansas landscape, none are more breathtaking than Monument Rocks. These chalk formations tower above the surrounding prairie, sculpted over hundreds of thousands of years by the waters of the Smoky Hill River. But Monument Rocks aren’t alone in reaching for the stars. Lone Butte, south of Russell Springs, served as a marker for the prairie’s early travelers, and byway adventures peak at Mount Sunflower, the highest point in the state at 4,039 feet above sea level. At Oakley, a different kind of monument commemorates one of the most storied eras in U.S. history. The Buffalo Bill bronze sculpture, at more than twice life-sized, befits the legend of Buffalo Bill Cody. The sculpture and Buffalo Bill Cultural Center celebrate the larger-than-life tales of the Wild West, just as other museums along the byway—the Fick Fossil and History Museum in Oakley and the Fort Wallace Museum in Wallace—preserve and portray life on the High Plains. -Julie Tollefson

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Pointsofinterest • Mount Sunflower (west of Sharon Springs) • Fort Wallace Museum (Wallace) • Fort Wallace Cemetery (east of Wallace) • The Nature Conservancy’s Smoky Valley Ranch (Logan County) • Logan County State Wildlife Area (Russell Springs) • Butterfield Trail Museum (Russell Springs) • Garden of the Gods (south of Russell Springs) • Buffalo Bill Cultural Center and Bronze Sculpture—Now here’s an attraction that’s truly larger than life. Towering over the plains, this is a huge bronze sculpture of Buffalo Bill on his favorite horse. buffalobilloakley. org (Oakley) • Fick Fossil and History Museum (Oakley) • Western Vistas Historic Byway Overlook Kiosk, featuring art by Jerry Thomas (south of Oakley) • Keystone Gallery (south of Oakley) • Monument Rocks National Natural Landmark—For the traveler who’s truly an archaeologist at heart, stopping by Monument Rocks is a must. The landmark features geological remnants of an ancient inland sea that

Western Vistas

once covered Kansas. (southeast of Oakley) • Steele Homestead Museum (Scott City) • Punished Woman’s Fork/Battle Canyon (Scott City) • Jerry Thomas Gallery and Collection—Renowned artist Jerry Thomas kept his roots planted firmly in Kansas, using colorful mediums to depict life on the prairie. (Scott City) • El Cuartelejo Pueblo Ruins (Scott City) • El Quartelejo Museum—A historic timeline gallery with inland sea fossils, El Quartelejo Pueblo replica, Native Americans and railroads from pioneer to modern times. (Scott City)

Monument Rocks

amenities Mt. Sunflower B&B


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Sharon Springs

Colonial Steakhouse


Don’s Drive-In


High Plains Camping and RV Park


Lake Scott State Park and Cabins

Scott City

Majestic Restaurant

Scott City

. The Midland Railway El QuartElEjo jErry thoMas unteer-staffed, non-profit 501c3, common carrier GallEry and usEuM CollECtion to preserve M and display transportation history as an stration railroad. Join us for a train ride – bring the are in easy reach of Kansas City, Overland Park, d Lawrence, Topeka, and nearby communities. excurions trains June-October every year.

Midland Railway Historical Association Join us for a train ride — bring the whole family! NORMAL EXCURSION TRAINS Special Events Include: JUNE–OCTOBER Midland Railway Historical Association Maple Robberies/ 1515 W. Leaf HighTrain Street 1515 High St. Baldwin City, KS SteamCity, Special, Haunted Baldwin KS 66006-0005 Phone (913) 721-1211 Phone (913) 721-1211 Halloween Trains, Santa Claus Depot (785) 594-6982 Depot (785) 594-6982 Express, Easter Egg Hunt Trains and Thomas the Tank Engine /midlandrailway

Along the Western Vistas Historic Byway is a beautiful facility housing both the El QuartElEjo MusEuM and jErry thoMas GallEry and CollECtion.

Operations Beginning Late 2012!

The El QuartElEjo MusEuM leads you through the history of Scott County from the fossil remains of the inland ocean of millions of years ago, through modern day agriculture. Included in the exhibit gallery are rocks and fossils, early Indian encampment scenes, a replica of El Quartelejo Pueblo (located at the Lake Scott State Park), and other historic displays. The jErry thoMas GallEry and CollECtion features beautiful wildlife and Western artwork of nationally acclaimed artist Jerry Thomas, and includes Jerry’s incredible Western Heritage, Native American, and U.S. Cavalry collection, which showcases amazing artifacts and memorabilia from The Battle of The Little Bighorn, items from the Indian and Civil War eras, and the finest collection of The Battle of Punished Woman’s Fork memorabilia anywhere.

The Midland Railway operates excursion trains on a line originally constructed in 1867. Train rides feature an over 20mile round trip from Baldwin City via “Norwood, Kansas” to Ottawa Junction, Kansas, traveling through scenic Eastern Kansas farmland and woods via vintage railway equipment. The Midland Railway is a completely volunteer-staffed, non-profit 501c3, common carrier railroad operated to preserve and display transportation history as an educational demonstration railroad. Join us for a train ride – bring the whole family! We are in easy reach of Kansas City, Overland Park, Olathe, Ottawa and Lawrence, Topeka, and nearby communities. Normal excurions trains June-October every year.

Special Events Include; Easter Bunny Train Thomas the Tank Engine Haunted Halloween Train Santa Express

A long running tradition of 24 yeras is coming to Baldwin City, KS

Operations  5-course evening Dinner Meals & casual Sunday 3-course meal Beginning 902 W. HigHWay 96, Scott city, Reminisce as you travel in our 1940’s Era decoratedLatecars2012! anSaS 67871 | (620) 872-5912 K A long running tradition of 24 yeras is  Big Band Era Music coming to Baldwin City, KS  5-course evening Dinner Meals & casual Sunday 3-course meal  Live entertainment  Reminisce as you travel in our 1940’s Era decorated cars  Big Band Era Music  MurderLecompton mystery plays Historical  Live entertainment Civil War Birthplace  Murder mystery plays Where slavery began to die  WWII USO shows  WWII USO shows  Melodrama Performances  Melodrama Performances 800.942.7245 Territorial Capital Museum Visit Constitution Hall &

10-5 pm Wed-Sat • 1-5 pm Sun Tours (785) 887-6148 •

785. 594.8505


785. 594.8505

road trip There’s more to the byways than you think. Due to the state’s unique physiographic regions, the byways are placed in scenic and historic areas that provide travelers experiences among distinctive landscapes.

Physiographic Regions HIGH PLAINS Excellent farmland slopes gently downward from the west. ARKANSAS RIVER LOWLANDS Irregular hills and dunes follow an ancient river path. RED HILLS Sandstone and shale mix with areas of rugged hills, buttes and mesas. SMOKY HILLS A larger sea once covered this area of astonishing rock formations. WELLINGTON AND MCPHERSON LOWLANDS Permeable sand covers an area surrounded by salt mines and marshes. FLINT HILLS This scenic pastureland is named for the flint rock that covers the bluestem slopes. GLACIATED REGION Rounded hills and broad valleys feature glacial deposits of quartzite. OSAGE QUESTAS This broad terrace panorama has steeper eastern slopes than western slopes. CHAUTAUQUA HILLS This province is only a few miles wide, with underlying thick sandstone. CHEROKEE LOWLANDS Bituminous coal veins near the surface of this region reveal its mining history. OZARK PLATEAU The extreme southeast corner of the state is rich with fossils. Map Key


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Medicine Lodge, KS


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Ellinwood, KS



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lazy xxx T ranch Manhattan, xxx, KS KS

With knowledge of the surrounding area, community events, historic sites, shopping, sports, and great restaurants, your innkeeper will assure you of a quality experience. xxx-xxx-xxxx 785-537-9727

henderson inn and reTreaT cenTer Stafford, KS





Kansas Byways Guide  
Kansas Byways Guide  

The official guide to Kansas Byways.