Flint Hills Scenic Tour 1 Day RV Itinerary

Image from www.byways.orgChase County Courthouse Image from www.byways.org

Day 1

Start: Council Grove National Historic Landmark District

Begin your journey over the Grassland Sea as Native Americans and the Santa Fe Trail travelers once did from Council Grove. Take time to appreciate the the early European settlers throughout the Council Grove Historic District and the Kaw Nation at the Kaw Nation Heritage Park. Enjoy the historic manmade scenery all over town as you take the National Park Service self-guided wayside tour. Begin at the Kaw Mission State Historic Site and obtain a guide brochure and map. The tour may be driven or, for the hearty, it may be walked. It includes stops at the DAR and Kaw statues on the Neosho Riverwalk. It also includes Hays House, an historic restaurant that serves great strawberry pie.

Stop 1: Flint Hills Tallgrass Prairie

Directions from previous place:     

Following K-177 along the Byway.

Travel Time from Previous Site:     5 minutes

As you travel south from Council Grove, you will ascend up onto a hillside to catch your first glimpse of the vast Tallgrass Prairie. The Byway then takes you up, down and around the Flint Hills. Enjoy the wildflowers: look for profusions of pale blue pitcher sage in the fall or the brilliant orange butterfly milkweed in spring and summer.

Stop 2: Lower Fox Creek School

Directions from previous place:     

Remain on K-177 until you cross a bridge and see the Lower Fox Creek School ahead. Take the first road to the west and turn immediately south onto the driveway to the schoolhouse.
Distance from Previous Site:           10 miles / 16.0 km
Travel Time from Previous Site:      10 minutes
Suggested Time at This Site:           30 minutes

The Lower Fox Creek School sits on a hillside. It is a one-room schoolhouse left much as it used to be. The view from the schoolhouse is great, and the perspective of early life on the Prairie enhances the journey.

Stop 3: Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve

Directions from previous place:     

Return to K-177 and proceed south on the byway.
Distance from Previous Site:          1 miles / 1.6 km
Travel Time from Previous Site:     1 minute
Suggested Time at This Site:          4 hours

This stop provides an opportunity for you to get out of your vehicle and learn about life on the prairie. See the intricate balance between flora and fauna. You'll get an "up close and personal" perspective of the prairie and feel a connection to the earth.

Stop 4: Chase County Courthouse

Directions from previous place:     

Proceed south on the Byway, cross US 50 and continue on K-177 through Strong City. You might stop at Caboose Park and check out the Byway kiosk for information about Strong City along the way. Continue south on K-177. Cross the Cottonwood River Bridge (check out the falls to the west) and turn west onto Main Street to Broadway. The Courthouse will loom large.
Distance from Previous Site:          5 miles / 8.0 km
Travel Time from Previous Site:     5 minutes
Suggested Time at This Site:          5 hours

The Chase County Courthouse demonstrates how early residents celebrated life in the Flint Hills using native stone material to build a beautiful building. While you're in Cottonwood Falls, visit the Chase County Museum, the Roniger Museum, the Fiber Factory, the shops, the galleries, and Grand Central Hotel. Stop at the Prairie Maid/Emma Chase Cafe for an ice cream cone and a "traffic waving license" so you can sit outside on the park bench eating your ice cream and waving at passersby.

Stop 5: Scenic Byway Overlook

Directions from previous place:     

From Broadway in Cottonwood Falls, proceed east on Main Street to K-177, the Byway. Continue south on the Byway, past the sand-green golf course on the prairie. As you climb the next hill, the overlook is on the west side of the Byway. It has a handicapped accessible parking area and ramp. There are no restroom facilities here.
Distance from Previous Site:          3 miles / 4.8 km
Travel Time from Previous Site:     3 minutes
Suggested Time at This Site:        25 minutes

This Byway overlook will give you a chance to park the car and get a 360-degree view of the Prairie. There are native wildflowers to see, as well as five interpretive panels that describe life on the Flint Hills.

End: Stone Fences at Pioneer Bluffs-Rogler Ranch Historic District

Directions from previous place:     

Proceed south on the Byway past Bazaar and continue south. The Pioneer Bluffs-Rogler Ranch District is on the east side of the Byway.
Distance from Previous Site:          5 miles / 8.0 km
Travel Time from Previous Site:     5 minutes

While this is not a "stop," it is part of the visual experience along the Byway. The Ranch Historic District provides a wonderful example of ranching in the river valley beside the Pioneer Bluffs. The stone fences have been wonderfully preserved.

Totals for Day 1
Total Distance Traveled:     24 miles / 38.4 km
Total Travel Time:                 29 minutes
Total Stopping Time:              9 hours 55 minutes

Featured content and image from www.byways.org

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