Six Days On and Off the Santa Fe / Cimarron Trail

We decided to trek along parts of the Santa Fe and Cimarron Trail while on the way to Colorado to visit relatives. Saw many historic and scenic wonders.

Six Days On and Off the Santa Fe / Cimarron Trail

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by Casual Tourist on July 24, 2001

Highlights included bird watching at Cheyenne Bottoms; watching the world's longest cancan line and enjoying a chuckwagon breakfast in Dodge City; descending down The Big Well in Greensburg; almost losing our dog in the Cimarron National Grasslands; standing in awe at The Great Sanddunes National Monument in Colorado; watching my husband climb 400 stairs at Seven Falls outside Colorado Springs; encountering turkey vultures at Scott State Park in Kansas; avoiding lightning at Castle Rock and dodging rain storms at Monument Rocks in Kansas.${QuickSuggestions} If you travel across the plains in the summer it is best to have an air conditioned vehicle as temperatures often soar into the 100s and the humidity is high. Also, spring and early summer often produce severe thunderstorms and tornados in this area so check a local weather forecast if the weather looks threatening.${BestWay} Unless you wish to travel by covered wagon as the pioneers did, I suggest you travel in a comfortable vehicle. Some of the stops required a good deal of walking.

Townsman Inn - Best Western

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by Casual Tourist on July 27, 2001

Check-in at this motel was quick and easy, though we had to wait for the "key" to be made. The motel uses cards for keys, the kind that have to be slid through a slot to open the door. Total check-in time was less than 10 minutes. The rooms here were clean, spacious and nicely decorated. There was a blow-dryer provided in the restroom and an iron & board in the room. Pets were allowed in the rooms with no additional charge.

There was a pool but we did not make use of it.

The motel was right on the highway as we pulled into town and access to the parking lot was handy.

Townsman Inn Motel
123 E 14th Street
Larned, KS

Holiday Motel

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by Casual Tourist on August 10, 2001

When we''re on the road we always try to minimize our expenses by staying at low rate, but decent, motels. The Holiday Motel in Dodge City fit this criteria. The room wasn''t fancy, but it did have a microwave and a refrigerator. The motel, just down the street from Boot Hill, is on Wyatt Earp Blvd, which is also Highway 50, so the location was convenient. The only untoward thing that might be said about this motel is that some of the help was rather strange. When we checked out the following morning the counter clerk was wearing a t-shirt with a few spots of blood on it. He was engaged in a conversation with another person when we entered the lobby, talking about being late for his court appearance. This just seemed inappropriate to us, but as the night''s experience had been fine I can''t say that a person shouldn''t stay at this motel because of this minor incident.
Holiday Motel
2100 West Wyatt Earp Boulevard
Dodge City, 67801
(620) 227-2169

Continental Inn

Member Rating 2 out of 5 by Casual Tourist on September 7, 2001

This was a very nice looking and modern motel. We checked in pretty late in the day but were fortunate to get a downstairs room. I''m not fond of lugging bags upstairs. Even though this was one of the newest motels we stayed in during our trip, it was one of the least pleasant stays. The walls seemed to have been made of paper and tvs and voices from surrounding rooms could be heard clearly. Thankfully, the noise did not continue much past 10 p.m. Other than this annoyance, the room was quite adequate. It was clean and fresh and had good bathroom facilities. There was a restaurant attached to the motel that we considered eating breakfast at, but as it was pouring when we left in the morning we decided to simply go through a McDonalds drive thru and be on our way.
Continental Inn
1408 Jones Ave
Garden City, Kansas, 67846

Frontier Motel

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by Casual Tourist on August 28, 2001

We got a room with two beds. There was an air conditioning unit that did not work, but as it was a pleasant evening we opted for open windows anyway. We arrived late in the evening and so were happy we found a motel quickly that would accept our dog who travels with us. We really spent very little time at the motel as we left at day break. The room was clean and the beds comfortable and it served perfectly for our needs.
Frontier Motel
815 Goddard Avenue
Trinidad, CO
(719) 846-2261

Wrangler RV Ranch & Motel

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by Casual Tourist on September 14, 2001

This was a cute little motel with only about a dozen rooms. The main thrust of this lodging establishment seems to be its RV Park. We decided to stay in this motel because of its proximity to the offices of a local business we wished to visit and we were quite happy with our choice. The staff was friendly and the rooms clean. Platte Ave was in the midst of construction, which made entry and exit to the motel a little bit of a hassle, but not enough to cause us to find somewhere else to stay.

We had a need to return to Colorado Springs later in the summer and were expecting to arrive after 10 p.m. When I called to reserve a room, I was told that the office closed at ten, but that a certain room would be ready for us and the key would be in the room. We could then just pay for the room in the morning after their office opened up again.

Wrangler RV Ranch & Motel
6225 E Platte Ave
Colorado Springs, Colorado

The Burgerteria

Member Rating 1 out of 5 by Casual Tourist on July 28, 2001

Editor's Note: This property has closed.

Now here was a little burger joint with an appealing appearance. There were drive-up menu boards and parking for those who did not wish to eat inside and also inside dining. As this was more or less a "mom & pop" operation we figured we'd check it out instead of going to the McDonalds down the road.

Orders were placed at a counter just inside the door. The menu boards above the counter had the usual assortment of burgers, fries and other fast food items but listed no prices. We went ahead and ordered sandwiches, paid what we considered to be a pricey fare, and sat down while we waited for the food to be prepared.

The interior of the restaurant was plain but clean. An empty salad bar stood toward the back of the establishment. As we watched other patrons enter we noticed that they were looking at a bulletin board before proceeding to the ordering counter. It was on this bulletin board that the prices were listed.

As we ate our meal we discussed this little local mom & pop operation and decided that for the quality of food and the price we would have been better off eating at McDonalds.

Alpine Rose Cafe

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by Casual Tourist on September 16, 2001

We stopped in the Alpine Rose Cafe for a late breakfast. The cafe contains counter seating, booths and tables. We sat for some time before a waitress came to our table even though there were only one or two other tables occupied at the time, so I wouldn't rate their service as being top-notch. I ordered an omelette and hash browns and they were quite tasty. The coffee was decent also, but not outstanding. Overall, it was an adequate place to have a meal. They could beef up the quality of their service a bit however.
Alpine Rose Cafe
522 Main Street
Walsenburg, CO, 81089
(719) 738-1157

Carl's Jr.

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by Casual Tourist on September 16, 2001

Carl's Jr. seems to be a local chain restaurant in this area. The building was clean and well-kept. We stopped about mid-afternoon to grab a burger before setting out on the highway again. The food was prepared in a timely manner and was a good temperature and tasty. We ate inside, but the establishment also has a drive-thru window.

Cattleman's Cafe

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by Casual Tourist on August 16, 2001

We left Dodge City and headed down Highway 56, following the Cimarron Trail branch of the Santa Fe Trail. Scanning the map, we realized that we had pretty much left most of civilization behind us and that we might have a problem finding something to eat for many hours. Just as an off-chance, we pulled into Sublette, Kansas looking for a grocery store so that we could at least make a few sandwiches. To our surprise, there was a decent looking restaurant right there on Main Street. We decided to give it a go. What a nice surprise as we stepped into the building. There was greenery everywhere in three or four cozy dining areas. We were seated promptly and sat down to enjoy a great meal. The menu offered everything from pastas to burgers to steaks. Half-portions were available for those with a smaller appetite. Good coffee, good service and excellent food. We were glad we got off the road at Sublette.
Cattleman's Cafe
110 S Inman Street
Sublette, KS, 67877
(620) 675-8454

Coronado and Quivera Historical Markers

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by Casual Tourist on July 24, 2001

This was a nice little roadside spot to stop and read up on the history of the area. There were three historical events commemorated at the site. One plaque described the visit to this area of Kansas by the Spaniard Coronado in his quest for gold. A second described the significance of a place called Cow Creek Station in the settlement of Kansas. Most impressive at this site was a monument in the form of a large stone cross dedicated to the memory of Fray Juan de Padilla, a Spanish monk who accompanied Coronado's exploration party. It is a pretty spot to stop and take a short break and learn a little about the area.
Coronado and Quivira Kansas Historical Marker
Highway 56 Rice County
Lyons, KS

Cheyenne Bottoms

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by Casual Tourist on July 25, 2001

Cheyenne Bottoms -- what an exotic name for this "wetland of internation importance." This marshy area is formed by a natural basin in the earth's crust. Prior to development of the wildlife area, flooding was common throughout the surrounding area. Currently the area consists of a pentagon shaped lake with canals and pools emanating from it. Large metal gates control the water in the surrounding pools.

The day we stopped at the Bottoms was gray and drizzly but this in no way hampered our experience of the Bottoms. If you're lucky you can find one of the printed Driving Tour brochures that are provided by the Kansas Audubon Council at the unmanned entrance to the reserve.

At the southeast edge of the basin is an observation tower for getting an overview of the 20,000 acre wildlife area. We saw many birds during our tour of the area, but none of the mammals, such as muskrats and beavers, that live here. Parts of the Bottoms around Pool 1 are set aside strictly for the wildlife and no disturbance by humans is allowed. Some hunting is allowed in certain portions of the refuge, but strict laws are applied to maintain the abundance of wildlife.

The one bird that I viewed that I had never seen before was the Yellow-headed blackbird. This is a remarkably striking bird and was found throughout the refuge. We also observed heron, pelicans, ducks and red-wing blackbirds. Our visit to Cheyenne Bottoms was after the spring migration so we did not experience it at it's best. However we were very pleased with the site. I do wish that there were notices posted regarding the presence of rattlesnakes in the area though. We did trek down a couple of the dikes, not knowing that these snakes are common in the bottoms. I only learned about them after our trip was over. For more information on Cheyenne Bottoms check out

Cheyenne Bottoms Wildlife Area
56 Northeast 40 Road
Great Bend, KS, 67530
(877) 427-9299

Sibley's Camp & The Little Red House

Member Rating 2 out of 5 by Casual Tourist on July 28, 2001

The official travel guide provided by the state of Kansas lists Sibley's Camp as an attraction for the town of Larned. We went a little out of our way to locate this "attraction" but it wasn't anything that I thought it would be. Kansas lists the site as "1825 Santa Fe Trail Survey Team Campsite." There was a beautifully etched sandstone marker indicating the campsite on the corner of 2nd & State Streets. When we approached the actual site however all we found was a basically abandoned quarry site. There was an information board with a few artifacts displayed and a bit of history about the place provided. The town of Larned could do wonders with this historic spot, but as of yet they have not done so.

Across the street from Sibley's Camp was "The Little Red House," an attraction not listed in the state guide. This was a cute little building with the words Saloon painted on the front windows and a fancy sign on the side of it. As it was early in the morning when we visited the door was locked, but we were able to peak in the windows. Artifacts from the past filled the little building and it at least appeared to have been properly restored.

It may seem odd that my recommendation for this site is "Somewhat Recommended," but my attitude is that imagination should still play a role in life and actually visiting points of history adds depth to one's life.

Sibley's Camp
502 West Second Street
Larned, KS

Pawnee Rock

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by Casual Tourist on July 27, 2001

Pawnee Rock was a major stopping point and guide post for the wagon trains following the Santa Fe Trail. I was surprised that it was not very large at all. Basically, it is a hill with a rock outcropping on top of it. Years ago this landmark probably stood out more than it currently does. We didn't realize that we had reached the rock until we were almost on top of it.

Pawnee Rock sits just to the north of the town of Pawnee Rock. There are servicable gravel roads up to and around it. On top of the rock has been constructed a viewing platform. There are a few grills and picnic tables here for picnicking.

There are quite a few metal stands with historical information written on them scattered about the site. We enjoyed reading the history and viewing the photos of past ages that were included. This is a great place to visit if you are into living history. There's nothing better than standing in a spot that embodies so much of the history of the settlement of our country.

Pawnee Rock State Historic Site
Highway 56
Pawnee Rock, KS

Ft Larned National Historic Site

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by Casual Tourist on July 31, 2001

Ft Larned is an authentic military frontier post. The common conception of a frontier post is that it is a walled garrison, but this is not the case. Ft. Larned is unwalled, as were most frontier forts. It sits beside the meandering Pawnee River on well-kept grounds. There is a picnic area just inside the park grounds, with the parking area just south of this. Just inside the compound to the left is the Visitor's Center, where an entrance fee of $2.00 per individual or $4.00 per family needs to be paid before proceeding further.

We had a great time at the fort. There was a 15 minute slide presentation in the visitors' center that was very informative. Most of the buildings on the site have been restored and were open for touring.

Though the fort itself was fascinating, the most interesting part of our visit was the time we spent with a Native American couple who had pitched their teepee on the fort grounds. We spent about 1/2 an hour visiting in their teepee, learning about Indian ways and teepee etiquette. This will always be a treasured experience for me.

Fort Larned National Historic Site
Kansas Highway 156
Larned, KS, 67550
(620) 285-6911

Fromme-Birney Round Barn

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by Casual Tourist on August 5, 2001

Talk about off the beaten path -- well, the Round Barn is about as far off the beaten path as one can get. If you're a barn lover or just love unusual architecture, you'll love visiting the Round Barn outside Mullinville. When we arrived at the Barn there was no one in attendance, but the barn was accessible for viewing. We simply opened the door and walked in. Seems the honor system is in effect here. There was a counter just inside the door with metal shingles from the original roof for sale. The prices were listed and a round metal container stood ready to receive your money. The main floor of the barn had photos and information about the barn arranged on the inner walls. The upper floor seemed to be ready to receive a barn dance at any time. This was a charming place to visit. It was constructed in 1912 and isn't really round at all. Actually, it has sixteen sides, is 70 feet wide and 50 feet high. The barn is currently on the State and National Register of Historic Places.
Fromme-Birney Round Barn
2 Miles West of Mullinville
Mullinville, KS

Off the Trail for The Big Well

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by Casual Tourist on August 2, 2001

From Ft. Larned we drove southwest along the Santa Fe Trail until we reached Kinsley. At Kinsley we detoured off the trail, taking Highway 183 south to Greensburg, so that we could see what is touted as being the World's Largest Handdug Well. This indeed is a very big well. My husband and I paid the $3.00 fee to trek down over 100 stairs to the bottom of the well. There's not a whole lot to see at the bottom of the well, but it was fun anyway. The awesome part was knowing that humans had hand dug this thing way back in 1887. It really is a very large structure. For our trouble of traveling to the bottom of the well we were each given a souvenir penny taken from the well bottom. Above the well, at ground level is a little museum and gift shop. This shop houses the World's Largest Pallasite Meteorite. Apparently this is a very rare type of meteorite. The specimen on display is one of the larger pieces of pallesite rock that was found in this area in the late 1800s.

The Big Well is open daily. The hours are:
Summer Hours
Memorial Day - Labor Day
8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Winter Hours
9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
During the winter months the well is also closed on Sunday mornings. Closed Thanksgiving & Christmas
Phone (800) 207-7369

Cimarron National Grassland -- The Wildlife

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by Casual Tourist on August 20, 2001

We entered the grasslands during the early afternoon and really didn't expect to see much wildlife out and about at that time of day. We were pleasantly surprised, though. Parts of the area are set aside for open grazing and we did encounter some cattle on the roadways. Though not exactly "wildlife" they are fun to see up close. We also saw two deer on the open range. They stood for quite a while before our dog barked loud enough to spook them, and then they turned up their white tails and took off into the distance. There were prairie dogs scattered in little towns here and there throughout the grassland. These guys didn't mind staring right back at you while you took their picture. Besides these four legged critters we saw lots of birds not commonly seen in your backyard. It would have been great to see a coyote, but these wily creatures kept out of sight, though I'm sure there were some around.
Cimarron National Grassland
242 East Highway 56
Elkhart, KS, 67950
(620) 697-4621

Cimarron National Grassland -- Wagon Tracks

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by Casual Tourist on August 20, 2001

Point of Rocks in Cimarron National Grassland offers some outstanding vistas. From this point one can see 360 degrees all around. Looking to the south and west from atop the Point of Rocks you can distinctly see the wagon tracks left by the trains that passed through on this Cimarron portion of the Santa Fe Trail.

The day was quickly coming to a close as we viewed the scenery from the Point of Rocks and a storm was brewing. We had a pleasant visit, but then moved on so as to avoid the dark and storm. I couldn't help but think about the pioneer families that came this way and did not have the advantage of an air conditioned car to get them away from the dark and storm.

Cimarron National Grassland
242 East Highway 56
Elkhart, KS, 67950
(620) 697-4621

Cimarron National Grassland -- The Land

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by Casual Tourist on August 20, 2001

I was amazed at the beauty of this grassland. Our trip was at the end of May and fields of yellow and orange flowers were everywhere. We entered the grassland via highway 56, heading southwest, then at Elkhart we turned north on highway 27. Some may say that this land is desolate, but in my eyes there was beauty everywhere I turned. The road we followed ran close by the Cimarron River, but for the most part we could not see the river from the road. We knew it was there though as the telltale line of trees meandered along beside us. We left highway 27 and drove into the heart of the grassland on a road that took us past Point of Rocks. This was the only elevated spot around and gave us a good view of the Park. There was plenty of open space with only a few cattle and an occasional oil well to dot the landscape. Markers were placed along the way to indicate where the Cimarron Trail portion of the Santa Fe Trail ran.
Cimarron National Grassland
242 East Highway 56
Elkhart, KS, 67950
(620) 697-4621

Self-Guided Tour - Dodge City Kansas

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by Casual Tourist on August 13, 2001

The self-guided tour of Dodge City was rather fun. We picked up our tour brochure at the Great Western Hotel, but they can also be obtained from the Visitor's Center at 400 @. Wyatt Earp Blvd. You can also rent or purchase an audio tape to go along with the tour, but we didn't do this. The area covered by the tour is confined within a 5 x 7 city block area so it can be walked if you wish. We drove as the temperatures were on the hot side when we visited. Sites included in the self-guided tour include both statues and buildings of historical value. What I found extremely interesting and different about the tour was the mural painted on the five story First National Bank Building. The artist is Stan Herd and the mural is of a stage coach on the plains. The mural is awesome. Several buildings featured unique architecture, including the Carnegie Center for the Arts on the corner of 2nd & Spruce. We would have liked to tour the House of Stone, but this museum is only open from June through August and our visit was in May. Nineteen points of interest are included in the tour.
Walking Trail of Dodge City
400 West Wyatt Earp Boulevard
Dodge City, KS, 67801
(620) 225-8146

Castle Rock in Kansas

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by Casual Tourist on September 7, 2001

It seems as if everywhere you go there is a castle rock. I was surprised to find that there was one in Kansas because the general knowledge about Kansas is that it is flat. However, there is indeed a Castle Rock in Kansas. We visited this rock twice during our summer excursions due to weather related problems during the first visit.

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.

Castle Rock
South Of Interstate 70 At The Quinter Exit
Gove County, KS

Highway of Legends

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by Casual Tourist on August 28, 2001

This is a beautiful drive through the mountains, going up and over the Cuchara Pass. Along the way there are several picturesque towns such as Stonewall, Aguilar, and Cokedale. There are also several prominent geological formations along the way with names such as the Dakota Wall, Monument Lake, and Devil's Stairsteps. We stopped at the Dakota Wall and took photos. At Monument Lake we took a break from our drive and simply strolled beside the lake for a while. As long as you are not camping or driving around the lake you can enter the lake area without paying a fee. As we just wanted a break we didn't pay to drive around the lake. There is also a restaurant at Monument Lake, which my sister-in-law informs me serves the best chicken fried steaks around.

As for wildlife we did see a couple of deer jump up onto the road and just avoid hitting the vehicle in front of us. We also happened across a hawk sitting on a post fairly close to the road which was a treat.

We enjoyed our drive along this scenic highway and would recommend it to anyone traveling in the area.

Highway of Legends
Highway 12 In Colorado From Trinidad To Laveta
Trinidad, CO

Seven Falls and South Cheyenne Canon

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by Casual Tourist on September 16, 2001

This is a highly developed site. Admission to the box canyon and natural falls is $8.50 per adult. The fee includes the use of the mountain elevator and access to the falls and surrounding area. The mountain elevator gives access to an observation deck opposite the falls. This platform can be reached also by a set of over 180 steps. There is also a set of stairs next to the falls that has over 200 steps. This stairway takes you to the top of the falls and some hiking trails. The area also includes three souvenir shops, two at the bottom of the falls and one on the observation deck.

This was a fun place to visit. There was a wait to get into the gate as there is limited parking available. Our visit was in the evening and we stayed until just after dusk so that we could view the falls with the colored lights that they turn on at dusk.

Seven Falls
South Cheyenne Canyon Road
Colorado Springs, Colorado, 80901
+1 179 632 0752

Monument Rocks - The Outback of Kansas

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by Casual Tourist on September 11, 2001

Monument Rocks and the Chalk Pyramids stand out on the prairie much like Ayrs Rock in Australia. The area seems quite desolate, with nothing around for miles and miles. And then in the middle of the prairie are these tall, whitish colored rocks standing like giant sentinals. They are quite a sight to see. Pioneers used them as landmarks to guide them across the rolling grassland.

There are no commercial enterprises here, just the awesome stones jutting up against the sky. Viewing is free. Be advised to keep an eye out for rattlesnakes. I don't know of any reports about rattlesnakes in the area, but the landscape is perfect for them.

Monument Rocks/Chalk Pyramids
East Of Us Highway 83
Gove County, KS

Scott State Park

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by Casual Tourist on September 10, 2001

Scott State Park was absolutely fascinating. We arrived the day after a major hail storm so we found the park rather deserted except for some hearty souls still hanging about in their campers. The park has numerous rocky hills for climbing, and a large lake for water sports. There are numerous monuments and historic sites within the park, including the only pueblo ruin found in the state of Kansas. The main roads are paved but there are also dirt roads within the park. We found at least one of the dirt roads impassable due to standing water.

The most fascinating thing we saw on our trip through Scott State Park were the vultures. We'd seen them soaring overhead, but we certainly did not expect to find a large group of them sitting together on a hill that must have been their nesting area. We also found a couple with wings extended sitting in trees and on fence posts. We enjoyed Scott State Park and intend to return for further visits when we have the chance. The landscape is fascinating and the wildlife intriguing.

Scott State Park
520 W Scott Lake Drive
Scott City, Kansas, 67871
(620) 872-2061

Santa Fe Trail Tracks

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by Casual Tourist on August 13, 2001

Just outside Dodge City is an expanse of open prairie with a large wooden sign announcing "Santa Fe Trail Tracks." From the highway there is nothing to see but the prairie, but if you pull over and step out of your car you will see what is billed as the longest remaining stretch of visible wagon tracks on the Santa Fe Trail. A well-kept trail leads out onto the prairie where you can view the tracks. Some portions of the tracks were quite visible, but I had trouble making out continuous markings. However, this was the most clearly marked stretch of remaining tracks that I had seen to this point in my life. (If you check out my entry on the Cimarron National Grasslands you'll find where there is a much better stretch of tracks.)

Viewing of the tracks is free and there are markers with historical information along the trail. There are even a few benches for relaxing on.

Santa Fe Trail Tracks
West Highway 50
Dodge City, Kansas

Old Dodge City -- Boot Hill Museum

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by Casual Tourist on August 11, 2001

The Boot Hill Museum is a recreation of Front Street in Old Dodge City. The attractions run about one block by 1/2 block and entrance is gained through the Great Western Hotel. The hotel is now a gift shop with a small theater that presents historical information about Dodge City.

Some of the highlights of our visit to Old Dodge City were watching the citizens of the community line up for and perform an old fashioned can-can dance in an attempt to achieve a record for the longest can-can line ever. This was a special event lined up for the Memorial Day weekend celebration and was held outside the museum in the parking lot.

The museum itself housed an awesome collection of guns. This was one of the most impressive exhibits on the site. The Long Branch Saloon was also a nice attraction. Historical reenactment actors wandered the grounds and were more than happy to visit with anyone.

The morning we visited they were offering a Chuck Wagon breakfast at $1.00 per plate -- biscuits and gravy and a beverage. There were plenty of picnic tables available for the guests.

Boot Hill Museum

Dodge City, Kansas

One Man's Insanity is Another Man's Art

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by Casual Tourist on August 5, 2001

When we left the Round Barn we returned to Mullinville and Highway 54/400 to head toward Dodge City. What we encountered on the western edge of Mullinville will never be duplicated anywhere else in the world. Lining the outer edge of a field for at least two blocks to the west and two blocks to the north were the strangest apparitions you could ever imagine. My best guess is someone began tinkering with cut-out metal figures and simply got carried away. The figures are rather cartoonish and some have signs attached with some rather politically incorrect humor. Even though we were trying to keep to a time schedule, we stopped and drove the whole length of the display. We spent a good twenty minutes driving past one crazy thing after another. I hope you take time to check out the photos so you can have some idea of what this spectacle looked like.

Ahead of the Storm

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by Casual Tourist on September 10, 2001

One of the age old problems with traveling across the plains in spring is a possible encounter with a major storm system. On the day we visited Scott State Park, Monument Rock and Castle Rock, we found ourselves just staying ahead of such a storm. We awoke to a heavy rain and set out toward Scott State Park. We soon drove out of the rain, but the clouds hung low overhead. This was not an overcast sky. There were distinct cloud formations, some on the horizon and others almost overhead. The most threatening was a roll cloud that began to the northeast and extended back toward the southwest. It was enormous. Just north of Scott City we drove under the cloud and left it to our rear, and for the rest of the day we managed to stay just ahead of it as we drove east. We ate lunch in Oakley and an hour after making our departure we heard on the radio that a tornado had been spotted just outside of Oakley. We were fortunate to stay just ahead of this storm. It was exciting and frightening all at the same time. The clouds were both glorious and intimidating. These spring storms are really something to see, but remember to show them respect if you happen to find yourself in the presence of one.

Resting at Brit Spaugh Park, Great Bend

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by Casual Tourist on July 26, 2001

After several hours on the trail we needed a break. Great Bend boasted a small zoo and appealing park so we pulled off the highway to take a look at what there was to see. Unfortunately, Brit Spaugh Zoo was closed for the day, having closed its gates at 4:00 p.m. Brit Spaugh Park did offer us a bit of respite though. Some of the zoo exhibits were outside the zoo proper, so we strolled through the park, stretching our legs and viewing the animals. The park also has a nice swimming pool, not opened yet when we visited as it was a few days before Memorial Day.

One rather cute feature of the park were carvings of Miss Piggy and Kermit the Frog. The tree stumps that they were carved from were still in the ground.

After about 1/2 hour rest time we got back on the highway, but found we couldn't leave town without taking a good look at the numerous wall murals we found painted on the buildings.

If you're going to stop in Great Bend, make it early enough in the day to take in their zoo. Reportedly it is quite nice for a small town. Also, take the time to drive around scoping out the beautiful wall murals.

© LP 2000-2009