by Casual Tourist
September 7, 2001
Our first attempt at seeing Castle Rock was quite an adventure. The day was more than overcast; it was threatening some violent storm activity. The roads were wet. Now if you are traveling where there are only paved roads, wet roads wouldn't matter that much. But in this part of the country, wet roads could spell a call for a tow truck. To reach Castle Rock in Kansas you must travel about 20 miles of gravel and dirt roads. The county roads were a little precarious, but the road leading up to the attraction from the county road was almost impassable. Actually, the vehicle in front of us turned back and decided not to attempt navigating the roads. We had gone a long way out of our way to see this rock and so we pulled off the very wet and muddy road and drove on the grass to the top of the butte. From that point we could finally see what we had driven so far to see. What a truly magnificent view. The butte consists of a rock outcropping and sits at least 40 feet above the surrounding prairie. We got a glimpse of the Castle Rock from that point and also discovered that the roads going around it were impassable due to water and mud. We lingered just long enough to take in the scenery. In the distance we could see two large storms producing lightning and as we were standing on the highest point around for miles we decided to end our visit for that day.
Our second visit to Castle Rock was much more rewarding. The ground had dried out and the roads were again passable. We were able to drive down from the butte to view the rock outcroppings from below and also to actually get close the the rock that gave the site it's name. One of the things that truly interested me were the mud bird's nests covering the Castle Rock. What an experience to watch the birds hover in the air outside their mud nests.
An interesting side note: A few weeks after we visited Castle Rock I saw a news article stating that the top 10 feet of Castle Rock had fallen off. The photos we took were probably some of the last taken before the rock lost ten feet of it's height.
This site is free to whoever wants to go out of their way to have a look at it. Many pioneers used the rock as a landmark on their travels across the prairies.
From journal Six Days On and Off the Santa Fe / Cimarron Trail