Kansas is a state of unexpected road trip discoveries.There are examples of folk art in just about every small town and the very first National Natural Landmark in the country is only about twenty-five miles from Interstate 70. Bluegrass pickin' and fields and fields of magnificent sunflowers are only two of the surprises to be experienced along Interstate 70.
Here are only a few of the attractions to be seen along this route:
Kansas City, Missouri (Starting point)
Kansas City is home to the 2nd largest working train station in America and has a beautiful downtown.
Minneapolis, Kansas (mile 174)
Rock City Park a few miles south of Minneapolis is a field with about 200 mysterious circular rocks, some as large as 27 feet in diameter. They are actually sandstone concretions and due to their size unique in the world. This is a lovely spot to see wildflowers and take a short hike.
Beverly, KS (mile 203)
As you drive the back roads near Beverly, you'll see about 30 sculptures created by artist, Jim Dickerman, from pieces of discarded farm machinery. The artist calls this 'The Open Range Zoo.' This site has photos of some of the collection and a set of directions for finding most of these creatures,
Lucas, KS (mile 250)
Garden of Eden. In the heart of Lucas, Kansas, there is a collection of surreal people and things surrounding an ancient house. Samuel Dinsmoor created most of these sculptures between 1907 and 1928. He died around 100 years ago, but you can still see him today. He stipulated in his will that he be placed amongst his treasures in a see-through coffin.
Monument Rocks (mile 397)
Monument Rocks is the first natural landmark chosen by the US Dept. of the Interior as a National Natural Landmark. This landmark in on private land. Take US Hwy 83 south at Oakley, Kansas exit from I-70, driving south 20 miles. Turn east onto gravel road at the sign, go 4 miles, then 2 miles south from the "T" intersection.
Colby, Kansas (mile 486)
Colby is a small town by most standards, but the largest city in this part of Kansas, and if you find yourself here in the middle of July, you'd better have a motel reservation, because this is the the site of the best bluegrass and folk music festivals in the Great Plains.
The keyhole in Monument Rocks National Monument in Kansas.
Photo courtesy of iStockPhoto.com/© Rusty Dodson