So, I've been trying to find a fun driving road near here for a long time. To start the search in earnest, I figured I'd check out some Scenic Byway's nearby and see how they hold up. The Flint Hills Scenic Byway stars about 30 miles outside of Wichita and runs north for 60 miles or so through the Flint Hills.
As a driving road? Eh, nothing special. But it's not a bad drive, and it is, as the name promised, fairly scenic. Scenic for Kansas at least, which isn't saying much.
I brought a camera along and took some pictures. Most pictures are from the Tallgrass Prairie Natural Preserve where I stopped and went for a hike on one of the trails.
About 20 miles into the byway there was a 'Scenic View', where I stopped and snapped a couple pictures. Pictures taken by me don't do the region justice. It's vast rolling hills in all directions, which has a beauty of its own that's very different from your typical mountain vista.
There were little sunflowers everywhere. I'm going to have to do this drive again in the spring.
And the view from the 'Scenic View'. I can't stress 'Scenic View' enough, that's what the signs said, which I found odd. 'Scenic Overlook' seems more typical, 'Scenic View' sounds funny to me
Again, pictures don't do it justice.
A waterfall over a dam in Cottonwood Falls, KS. Apparently there's a bunch of falls at a lake near here, I'll have to go back and check those out some time. (http://kansastravel.org/chaselakefalls…) Again, not that impressive, but this is Kansas.
The view the other direction. The bridge is what the byway runs over, and where I spotted the fall from. Neat little stop along the way
A few miles up the road you come to Strong, KS, which had this pretty neat abandoned rail station
Down the road I made it to the National Preserve. Met this kitty in an old farmhouse
My attempts at photography are met with mediocre results. Sunflower closeup
Start of the trail. Super rocky, if you go (and next time I go) wear boots. I was wearing my Vans, and my feet are punishing me now.
There are Bison on the preserve, a throwback to what the Prairie must have been like before we spread westward. I wanted to see some Bison, and I did, but only a few and they were pretty far away. I did like the sign though
I think this is a flower. Not sure
Lots of flowers in this field. Again, I need to come back in the springtime
BISON! 3 miles or so down the trail, I was starting to get annoyed ("Where's the damn Bison, I was promised Bison!") then I saw them on a hill. Too far away to see really well, and getting closer would have involved going off trail through..shocker...Tall grass (get it? Tallgrass?). Seriously, Tallgrass is a good name. There were points where the grass was taller than me.
Last flower, I promise
And finally, looking back on the trail. Really, it's a very pretty area, just not that spectacular.
From here I drove the rest of the byway up to Council Grove then cut back southwest to Wichita. It's not a bad drive, and the Prairie Preserve is interesting. Makes me long for some mountains, but the Rockies are about 8 hours from here, which isn't a drive I really want to make alone on a weekend.
There's a couple other byways fairly close by, someday I'll go check them out. Until them, enjoy the pictures and send your condolences my way for being stuck in Kansas with no good driving roads.