You could follow the “yellow brick road” through Kansas in the fall or you could consider our ideal route! The two-day drive will take you to a unique coffee shop, before exploring interesting landscapes through the prehistoric ocean floors, thousands of discovered fossils, home town restaurants, manageable hiking trails, and so much more. Get away and experience the best of Kansas in the fall.
Never start a road trip without a fantastic cup of coffee. Fresh Seven Coffee shop in St. Francis is an “oasis, best kept secret” at the very tip of enchanting northwest Kanas. This coffee house offers fresh ground coffees, delicious, healthy, unique food items, craft beers and more.” Friendly folks might persuade you to take the time to explore the nearby “Arikaree Breaks.”
Spend a few moments exploring the true “badlands of northwest Kansas” which forms a two-to-three-mile-wide break of rough sceneries of northwestern Kansas and eastern Colorado, along the south sides of the Arikaree and Republican Rivers. This spot is a true piece of history.
Head 40 miles south on State Highway 27 through Goodland to Sharon Springs, then turn east on State Highway 40 and enjoy the Western Vistas Historic Byway, a 52-mile drive to Oakley. In Oakley visit the Fick Fossil & History Museum. This museum is home to a collection of local art that artist have created with shark teeth and fossils to make elaborate paintings, and artist's representations of local natural wonders. The museum has the oldest documented marine reptile skull, a mosasaur skull. Gaze at over 10,000 shark teeth all excavated from this area of Kansas.
Enjoy lunch at Mitten’s Country Pride Restaurant inside the Western Kansas Wildlife Travel Center in Oakley. Open 24/7 they serve lunch specials and homemade soups and desserts. After lunch wonder through the extraordinarily hung stuffed wildlife throughout the travel center.
After lunch, continue to travel south on State Highway 83 and drive 45 miles toward Scott City, stopping at Lake Scott State Park for a 6.6-mile hike around the lake. This trail starts at the lake entrance, Barrel Springs trout pond. The trail starts as a single, and has sections of a double trail. The trail circles the park and parallels the paved lake road. Vegetation and wildlife are plentiful and explore the El Cuartelejo Indian pueblo.
Continue south on State Highway 83 and drive an additional 30 minutes past Scott City to Garden City and rest for the night at the Heritage Inn. This hotel is comfy, spacious and the staff is friendly and nice. A great place to stretch out and relax before supper.
After a day of traveling through parts of the Land & Sky Scenic Byway and the Western Vistas Historic Byway along the western corridor of Kansas, dine at Old Chicago Pizza & Taproom in Garden City, just walking distance from your hotel. Enjoy Italian American cuisine, made-from-scratch pizza, craft beer on tap or any of the 110 other beers in-house.
End the day enjoying live music or karaoke, at the Fool Moon Saloon in Garden City. The minute you walk through the doors the staff welcomes you in like family with southern Kansas hospitality.
In the morning continue south on State Highway 83 about 50 miles to the intersection of State Highway 160 and turn east, driving a quick 15 minutes to Plains. At Plains stop by the Applehutch orchards and spend the rest of the morning picking fresh grown apples and pears. Eat them on the spot and bring some home for pies, jellies, jams, cobblers. Yum!
After you have stored your picked fruits on board continue traveling east on State Highway 160 and stop at St. Jacobs Well in the Big Basin Prairie Preserve Wildlife Area in western Clark County. This area has rolling hills, plateaus, small canyons and Keiger Creek, an irregular stream that creates both the Big and Little Basins. Folklores tell stories of other strange sinkholes that mysteriously appear water filled or dry and home to “Sinkhole Sam, a sea serpent.” And locals tell of a man who was digging in one of these sink holes and disappeared, never seen again. Big Basin has never run dry and is thought to be stocked with blind fish. See for yourself before heading home.