Flint Hills Scenic Byway
Come to the vast grassland empire that remains unspoiled by modern civilization. Walk the fields of wildflowers and waving grasses and scan the undulating prairie hills to distant purple horizons. Follow the trails of forgotten tribes and wagon trains rolling westward. Enter the domain of the rancher, the cowboy, and the herds of cattle grazing on the bluestem tallgrass. Glimpse the prairie chicken, the pronghorn, the white-tail deer, and the wild turkey that remain inhabitants of this yet wild land. Experience the solitude, the sounds of the untamed prairie, and breathe the fragrances in the fresh prairie wind. You will not soon forget your adventure in these eternal hills.
From Council Grove at the northern terminus, where you experience the stepping off point for the Santa Fe Trail, to the Prairie Chicken Capitol of Cassoday at the southern terminus, the Flint Hills Scenic Byway offers an endless horizon of the Tallgrass Prairie. Visit the Kaw Heritage National Park to learn the stories of the Native Americans, then visit the Kaw Mission State Historic Site to learn how the Natives and the Euro-Americans interacted. See the remains of the Council Oak where the treaty was signed allowing safe passage on the Santa Fe Trail, where wagon travelers could obtain supplies at the Last Chance Store, and then travel south on the byway to experience the expanse of the prairie from the window of your modern-day prairie schooner.
A stop at the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve tells the story of man's stewardship of the natural beauty of the Flint Hills and provides an opportunity to see wildflowers and tallgrass up close. You can learn about the cattle industry on the Prairie and how the cattle are visitors to the land as well. Next, drive on to Cottonwood Falls to see the beauty of the Flint Hills limestone transformed into the Chase County Courthouse and other buildings in the downtown.
From Cottonwood Falls south, stop at the scenic overlook to get a 360-degree view of the prairie. Afterward, drop down into the river valley to enjoy the beauty of the Pioneer Bluffs-Rogler Ranch Historic District and its limestone fences.
At the south end of the byway, enjoy the hospitality of the Cassoday Cafe where, on the first Sundays in May through October, over 3,000 motorcyclists gather for brunch before touring the byway. If you wish to extend your stay overnight, a trip on the Prairie Drifter from the Grand Central Hotel out onto the prairie will showcase not only the grassland beauty but also the beauty of the galaxies at night.
Byway kiosks are in Cassoday, Cottonwood Falls at Bates Park, Strong City at the Caboose Park, and in a pocket park in Council Grove. In addition, Chase County Chamber of Commerce and Council Grove CVB have Byway information as does Bower Community Center in Council Grove. In fall of 2005, handicapped restrooms also will be available at the Kaw Mission Historic Site's new hands-on education center.
The Grand Central Hotel in Cottonwood Falls (a AAA four-diamond hotel) in Cottonwood Falls has a Prairie Drifter Sunset Tour out on the prairie. The Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve offers prairie tours, ranchstead tours, and, upon reservation, will allow meals served in the three-story barn. Bowers Community Center in Council Grove provides a staging area for tour groups. With advance arrangements, step-on guides are available through the Council Grove CVB for the Council Grove Historic District.
Best Time to Drive
Spring wildflowers are at their peak in late May-early June. Motorcycle groups tour the Byway on the first and third Sundays of every month between May and October. Fall foliage is at its peak in October.
Summer travelers are more numerous, but do not lessen the traveler experience.
Information was obtained by permission from www.byways.org.
This is a motorcycle ride in the state of Kansas. This motorcycle route has 6 scenery characteristics and other road conditions to help you plan your road trip. This motorcycle map was created by OpenRoadRider in March. Click here to see other Motorcycle Roads by OpenRoadRider
My gf and I rode this on a hot summer's day in 2009. We hated it. Boring scenery, and blazing hot. In all fairness, we shouldn't have waited til mid-summer to do it, but we were prepping for Sturgis and it was close by. This part of Kansas is actually pretty, although for us, it does lack scenery. Still, if you want to be out there by yourself, this is a good ride, easy to follow, with no frills.
Fri Jan 11, 2013 at 9:10 AM
I agree completely powerkat.
Fri Jan 11, 2013 at 9:10 AM
Beautiful ride but be careful. Too many sport bikes think they can take this faster then their abilities.
Fri Jan 11, 2013 at 9:09 AM