Hill Country, Hay Trip

The Smokey Hills  run north to south through central Kansas. Dakoda sandstone rock heaves and sinks into rolling hills and draws. Buttes and plateaus rise from the surface and undulate along the horizon. Few trees grow in the shallow soil, but the formation of these rocks is impressive. Enjoy the view while traveling Interstate 70 through north central Kansas.
blankSmokey Hill vista
blankrolling Smokey Hills

One rest stop along the highway (milepost 224/225), for those headed east between Russell and Salina, has examples of concretions found in greater numbers to the north and south of this major highway. These rocks can be closely inspected for leichen growth and fossil remains. 
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concretion with table toplimestone rocklimestone leichen
spacer(See also Mushroom Rock State Park and Rock City in my Archives.) 

The Flint Hills  run north to south across in the eastern third of the state from Manhattan to Topeka and deeply south. The native grasses make excellent cattle feed and cattle are shipped to large Kansas Flint Hills ranches from other states to feed during the summer months. Again, few trees grow in the shallow earth, where stone rock presses close to the surface of the land, but the undulating hills are visually memorizing, especially at sunrise and sunset. 

Flint Hills vista

To truly appreciate the Flint Hills motorists should leave Interstate 70 highway and travel State Highway 177, US Highway 4, US Highway 77, US Highway 56 or US Highwy 50. A short distance of the Flint Hills can be enjoyed on the Turnpike between Topeka and Wichita, south of Emporia. For an exceptional view of the hills, Skyline Scenic Drive is recommended. (When headed west of Interstate 70, turn south at exit 335. Paved highway stops at a well-graded gravel road. Turn right and travel west through the heart of the Flint Hills. Turn right at Kansas Highway 99. Interstate 70 is north just a few miles.

See an excellent photographic site featuring the Flint Hills by Topekan, Don Palmer.

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All photos © 2000 by Carol Yoho
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