Scenic Drives in Kansas | Midwest Living

Scenic Drives in Kansas

Kansas highways and byways take travelers to historic sites, breathtaking river views, small towns and more.


Missouri River at White Cloud.
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The Buffalo Soldier in Fort Leavenworth.
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Eastern Kansas

Glacial Hills Scenic Byway

From Leavenworth north through Atchison, Troy and White Cloud, forested bluffs and stunning Missouri River views star along the 63-mile Glacial Hills Scenic Byway, also designated as the official route of the Lewis and Clark Historic Trail. Atchison, a graceful bluff-top town, charms with grand 19th- century homes lining steep brick streets. Tour the Amelia Earhart Birthplace Museum, where the aviation pioneer was born and raised. Trace the steps of explorers Lewis and Clark from Riverfront Park, where biking trails hug the swift-flowing Missouri River. Browse downtown shops for irresistible finds. North along K-7, you can savor the spectacular rolling hills to Troy. There, you’ll find sculptor Peter Toth’s 27-foot-tall Tall Oaks Indian Monument, located on the Courthouse Square. At the byway’s northern end in White Cloud, climb the gravel road up the bluff to take in the stunning view of the mighty Missouri River at the Four State Lookout. Glacial Hills Scenic Byway

Frontier Military Historic Byway

Journey through Civil War history with a visit to Mine Creek Battlefield State Historic Site, one of many notable historic areas along this 168-mile route from Leavenworth south past Baxter Springs to the Oklahoma line. Discover the history of Kansas’ first city with a self-guided, interactive wayside tour in downtown Leavenworth’s Landing Park. Then, you can sip a Green River soda or pair a burger with  a thick hand-dipped malt at The Corner Pharmacy’s old-time soda fountain. The C.W. Parker Carousel Museum offers rides on a beautifully restored 1913 carousel. Keep your photo I.D. handy for a visit to Fort Leavenworth, home of the Buffalo Soldier monument, dedicated in memory of cavalry regiments composed of African-American soldiers who helped settle the West. Frontier Military Historic Byway

Route 66

Though not a designated scenic byway, Route 66 remains one of the country’s most legendary roads. Roughly 13 miles of the Mother Road cross Kansas’ southeastern corner, passing through Galena, Riverton and Baxter Springs. In Galena, snap a shot with the rusty celebrity and inspiration for the character Mater from the movie Cars. Riverton’s Eisler Brothers Old Riverton Store, an icon since 1925, stocks Route 66 souvenirs. On the way to Baxter Springs, see the restored historic Marsh Arch Rainbow Bridge, the only one of its kind remaining on Route 66. Route 66 in Kansas


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