Midwestern US, US High Points

On Top of Kansas: Mount Sunflower

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.

Most of our drive through Eastern Colorado looked something like this

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).

The high point monument (right) and a little free library (left)
Kansas handstand (can I call it a Kanstand?)

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.

Madonna of the Trail; one of twelve identical statues across the country dedicated to “the spirit of pioneer women in the United States”
A wind turbine blade (Pat for scale). A lot of wind energy is harvested on the Colorado plains. It makes sense; it’s a windy place.
An old Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe (AT&SF) Railroad engine, which was in use from 1906-1953 and covered more than 916,000 miles!
Gobbler’s Knob rest area. I wish I could give some information about these geological oddities, but the informational sign at this rest area only contained a collection of disjointed anecdotes about “Two Buttes”… which happen to be located a few miles south of here and aren’t even visible from this rest area. I’ll spare you the rest of my rant and sum it up by saying it was a completely useless sign
Thunderstorm over Oklahoma

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

16 thoughts on “On Top of Kansas: Mount Sunflower”

    1. Your comment got me curious on the high points of each Canadian province so I looked them up. I wonder if visiting all of them is a popular undertaking in Canada as well?

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh nice! We drove through eastern Kansas a few years back and I was surprised that it wasn’t as flat as everyone makes it seem. What part did you live in?

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  1. Love finding these fun roadside attractions! I think we drove on that same Colorado highway a few years ago. The wind was really rocking our truck and trailer as we drove east on I-90! Thanks for sharing about a place many people just pass by.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love your last photo of thunderstorm gathering over the vast planes of Oklahoma. The state must be an amazing place to watch interesting cloud formations. Thanks for showing around and have a nice day 🙂 Aiva xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, we do get some massive thunderstorms here. Even from Colorado we can sometimes see some cool storms, but the further out onto the plains you get the larger they seem to become. It is pretty neat to watch!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. two things, I think you needed to be inside the fence to really say you did the handstand on the highpoint, ha! ha! Number two wind energy is huge here in Texas also. In fact when I go hike at Colorado Bend I always see these blades moving through Lampasas Texas on trucks. I think there is a facility near there that builds them. They are HUGE!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah they’re enormous! We see them sometimes here on trucks or trains and I’m always blown away at how huge the turbines are. We actually use 100% wind power to power our condo now (part of a program in Colorado you can sign up for)!

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  4. Wow! Never been to Kansas, but it looks to be more than just the Wizard of Oz, that’s for sure! Looks very flat, but intriguing all the same…I appreciate you sharing this state this us (even for an American as myself)!

    Liked by 1 person

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