It’s no secret. In the state of Kansas, we have a vast and sprawling system of highways. In fact, as a part of the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956, a portion of I-70 was one of the first completed highways. Needless to say, it is clear that Kansans love their roads. And this love isn’t just limited to Kansas. If you’re from the Midwest, chances are a 10-hour road trip seems like a walk in the park.
A major benefit of taking these long road trips is the ability to get out of the car, and truly take in your surroundings. With plenty of Kansas Historical Markers located throughout the state, as well as scenic views, finding a place to stop and rest while road tripping in Kansas is not a difficult task. And I’ve picked two of my favorite spots that are worth stopping at if you’re in the area.
Bazaar Cattle Pens
If you’ve driven the Kansas Turnpike between Emporia and Wichita, you’ve likely noticed an exit sign for the Bazaar Cattle Pens. What was once used for loading and unloading cattle in the Flint Hills is now a beautiful overlook with access on both sides of Interstate 35. The area is located about 15 miles southwest of Emporia, and will provide you with a beautiful view of the Flint Hills.
When you visit, you can likely expect heavy wind and maybe some cattle. Some say Kansas is where the land meets the sky. And with the expansive view of the Flint Hills you can get at the Bazaar Cattle Pens, you are likely to agree with that sentiment. Parking is plentiful, with space to walk around for different vantage points.
Located about three miles south of Manhattan, KS on K-177, this spot will also give you a unique perspective of the Flint Hills. It overlooks the Kansas River Valley and is on the northeast corner of the Konza Prairie Biological Station. The station is a joint project, and it is one of the largest stretches of land dedicated to the preservation and research of tallgrass prairies. With over 8,600 acres, the Konza Prairie Preserve is something all Kansans should experience.
Whether you are driving to Manhattan, or cruising down I-70, the K-177 Overlook is a stop worth making. The location has benches and a small shelter. Which makes it ideal for a brief snack break, all while taking in the open landscape that Kansas has to offer.