Natural Wonders of Western Kansas
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Steer down byways in Western Kansas, and you may stumble across some remarkable and unexpected scenery. In the state’s extreme northwestern corner, Parks Road leads to the Arikaree Breaks (a two-mile wide “break” in the terrain), a rugged badlands landscape of yucca-studded cliffs, caves and gullies. Formed during the Ice Age, the loess soils harbor two species of sage and16 rare native plants and grasses ideal for cattle and wildlife. Stop in St. Francis for a self-guided tour brochure.
Southeast of Oakley, a soft sedimentary layer known as Niobrara Chalk has been exposed and sculpted by eons of wind, water and river ice. The result is spots like Monument Rocks (from Oakley, 20 miles south on US-83, eight miles southeast) where otherworldly bright-white turrets, spires and other formations rise from the prairie like dissolving sand castles. Fifty miles east, Castle Rock (15 miles south of Quinter) resembles a moonscape, a bizarre maze of narrow cuts and canyons cleaved into green cropland.