In late April of 2021, Pat and I set out for our first camping trip of the season. Our ultimate destination was the Oklahoma panhandle to climb the state high point. As it turns out, when one drives from Denver to Oklahoma there’s quite a lot to see along the way. So naturally, we stopped to see as much as humanly possible in what turned out to be quite the whirlwind three-day trip.
Technically, the Kansas high point wasn’t exactly “along the way.” But it wasn’t too far from one of the national historic sites we planned to stop at (more on that in the next post), so I figured we should probably go while we were so close. It’s not like western Kansas is a place we’re going to find ourselves very often. Or ever again. Aside from farms, ranches, and dirt roads, there’s not much out there.
So on Friday morning we headed east out of Denver all the way to Kansas.
Mount Sunflower – located just across the border from Colorado – has three things in common with Panorama Point in Nebraska: (1) it’s on private land, (2) you can drive right up to it, and (3) it’s not much of a high point. It’s the highest point on the Kansas plains, sure. But aside from a manmade monument, there’s nothing that would make it identifiable. It’s just a flat spot that is slightly higher than the surrounding miles of flatness, reaching an elevation of 4039 feet (1231 m).
And that’s really all there is to say about this one, so I’ll end with a few photos of our drive from Kansas through southeastern Colorado and into Oklahoma. Our main stop was at the Lamar, Colorado welcome center, which has some displays and informational signs. Lamar is located along the Santa Fe Trail, which was a main travel and trade route between Missouri and Santa Fe, New Mexico during the mid-to-late 1800s.
The Important Stuff:
- Getting there: Mount Sunflower is located off Road WW near Weskan, KS; the roads are dirt but well maintained and passable by any car
- Fees and passes: none
- Hiking: none, it’s a drive up site
- Where to stay: this is best visited while passing through the area, as options for overnight stays are few and far between
- Other: plan ahead for your visit and be sure you have adequate food, water, and gas as there are no amenities. Also note that phone service is limited; I took a screenshot of the directions just in case, and we ended up relying on it