Off the Beaten Path Series, Travel Destinations & Stories

Off the Beaten Path in Kansas. Our Top Hidden Gems!

As full-time RV’ers, we travel and see a lot. This is part of our Opting Out of Normal series where we explore the “Off the Beaten Path” of every state. We love the big popular stuff like everyone else, but there is just something incredible about discovering something unique, different, and maybe a little “off the beaten path”. We certainly can’t explore them all, but we’d love you to include your favorites below too. Each blog post will have a link to our favorite free camping areas! Some will include pictures and all will include GPS coordinates and information.

I think everything in Kansas qualifies as “off the beaten path” since it’s such a rural, and unique state in itself. Don’t you think? Don’t let that fool you though! My gosh, there are some beautiful things to see in Kansas! Here are our picks. And I promise not to make a Toto reference. 

Rock City

Rock City is a park located on hillsides overlooking the Solomon River in Ottawa County, Kansas. It’s just over 3 miles south of Minneapolis, Kansas. Rock City claims that there is no place else in the world with so many huge concretions. I think it’s eerie and fascinating. Rock City does have a very small admission fee of about $3 or $4. Well worth it. 

Table Mound Hiking Trail

This is an out and back hike, of just under 3 miles one way. If you choose not to do the whole thing, you are still going to see some fascinating views.

From scenic overlooks to a drop-down into a crack in the rocks. This isn’t a super hard hike but there are some rock scrambles. You’re going to see some pretty amazing rock formations on this hike.

Slide Cave – Kanopolis State Park

This entire state park is worth seeing. But definitely check out some of the caves in the park. 

Geary Lake Falls – Junction City, Kansas

Bet you didn’t know there were waterfalls in Kansas.

There are actually quite a few. A secret hideaway for those hot summer days, this waterfall is only active after a bit of rain. There are few waterfalls in Kansas. And this one is not publicized. On most days you can take in the waterfall all for yourself.

Cedar Bluff Reservoir

Located in Ransom, KS. Incredible views! Atop the bluff, visitors can see for miles in all directions and can walk right to the edge of the bluff. It’s quite the drop to the shoreline below.

There is a small circle turnaround at the top of the bluff for parking. The walk to the edge of the bluff is very short and I think accessible by wheelchair. Also, the state park nearby offers excellent camping, both for RVs and tents alike, whether for group or solo excursions. Well worth a quick stop!!

Castle Rock Badlands

Just about an hour away from the below Monument Rocks National Landmark. We highly recommend this area, but it is very fragile. Please be respectful and careful! A little history – In 2001, a large portion of the tallest spire fell after a thunderstorm, taking ten feet off the overall height.

All that remains of the fourth spire is a stub on the west end. The wind and rain that formed this geological wonder are still eroding today. Human interaction has accelerated the process as well. Just south of Castle Rock are the Castle Rock Badlands. The badlands consist of steep crevices and hoodoos leading off a large ridge. They are fragile as well, with one of the hoodoos known as Cobra Rock collapsing in 1998. Like Castle Rock and nearby Monument Rocks, the Badlands are comprised of Niobrara Chalk and shale.

Monument Rocks National Landmark

I’ve had some people tell me this isn’t such a hidden gem in Kansas. I disagree, but I am also not a local. So I’m including it. Please don’t climb on or write on these amazing rocks. We’d love to have this available for everyone to see. Please Note: Monument Rocks is located on private property. The owners graciously allow any and all to come to visit this wonderful landmark. Near Oakley, Kansas, Monument Rocks are large chalk formations that stand up to 70 feet high and look as though they were arranged by human hands. From US Route 83 south of Oakley, turn east onto Jayhawk Road at the Monument Rocks sign, go 4 miles east, then 2 miles south on Gove County Roads 14 and 16. These roads for the most are gravel, but good.

Here are some more blogs we think you’ll love!

Thank you for coming and reading our favorite hidden gems in Kansas. Have you explored Kansas? Did you find a fun, hidden gem of your own? We’d love to hear about it! Please leave your comments below.

Looking for the best free camping in Kansas? Here’s a link to some great boondocking locations we found!

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4 thoughts on “Off the Beaten Path in Kansas. Our Top Hidden Gems!”

  1. Garden of Eden, Lucas KS – not natural, but kitschy and strange. And a stop at Brants Meat Market for yummy summer sausage. Loved the Barbed Wire Museum (somewhere in central KS, can’t remember where. And the oldest active Geocache in the United States in remote west Kansas.

  2. I think you may have confused Cedar Lake Park in Olathe, KS with Cedar Bluff State Park, which is 300 miles west of those frozen falls.

    1. Thank you so very much for the correction. I had not been there in Winter, so it’s possible the information I got was incorrect. I simply just removed it at this point. Thanks again!!

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