Western Vistas Historic Byway, Kansas

Western Vistas Historic Byway Map

Western Vistas Historic Byway Map.

In Northwest Kansas, travelers can experience the” badlands” of Kansas and wide-open scenic views on the Western Vistas Historic Byway.

Lake Scott State Park, Kansas courtesy Kansas Travel

Lake Scott State Park, Kansas, courtesy of  Kansas Travel

The 102-mile route begins in Scott City on U.S. Highway 83 and ends on U.S. 40 in Sharon Springs. Crossing through Logan, Scott, and Wallace Counties, it was the first designated historic byway in the state and the 10th Kansas byway to receive official designation from the Kansas Department of Transportation.

Western Vistas features seven National historic sites and six museums, spectacular scenery, limestone formations reaching to the sky, and numerous recreational activities. Wide-open vistas also provide glimpses of wildlife, including turkey, prairie dogs, deer, buffalo, and pronghorn. Museums along the highway tell the stories of the area’s early settlers, pioneers, cowboys, soldiers, and Native Americans.

Pond Creek Station in Wallace, Kansas, by Kathy Alexander.

Pond Creek Station in Wallace, Kansas, by Kathy Alexander.

This rugged landscape, interspersed with plains, was created by an ancient sea that extended from the Gulf of Mexico to the Arctic Circle. When the water receded and erosion set in, the sea floor’s limestone layers became flat plains, oddly placed, shaped buttes, and other chalk formations. The region has long been a fossil-hunting area, with excavations beginning with regular excavations in the 1870s. Some fossil records of the area included previously unknown and extinct animals, such as flying reptiles and toothed birds.

The byway offers visitors opportunities to experience the El Quarteljo Puebloruins, view unique rock formations such as Monument Rocks and “Little Jerusalem,” and explore the various cultures and events that were central to America’s western expansion.

A byway must have significant, visible historical resources and a setting or character that complements them to be designated as historic.

Western Vistas Historic Byway, Kansas Map

Western Vistas Historic Byway, Kansas Map.

The historic byway starts at Scott City, passes through Scott Lake State Park on K-95, returns to U.S. 83, then north to the U.S. 83/U.S. 40 intersection at Oakley in Logan County, and west on U.S. 40 to Sharon Springs in Wallace County.

Compiled and edited by Kathy Alexander/Legends of Kansas, June 2024.

Also See:

Historic Sites

Kansas Destinations

Kansas Photo Galleries

Scenic Byways


Kansas Department of Transportation
Scenic Byways
Western Vistas Historic Byway