Jeep or SUV Driving Routes through the Flint Hills
About the Flint Hills
Located mostly west of Emporia and extending north and south for several hundred miles, the Kansas Flint Hills are one of the last remaining tallgrass prairie eco-systems in the world.
The Flint Hills were once a vast inland sea, which deposited alternating layers of limestone, shale, and flint. The Flints Hills were created as softer shales eroded away, leaving behind hardened flint shelves. This creates a unique 'step-pyramid' look to the hillsides.
There are few trees and very few man-made structures in the Flint Hills, creating sweeping views for miles. The area is known for strikingly beautiful, unobstructed sunsets and landscapes.
The routes we've created will take you through some of the Flint Hills most picturesque areas and little-known hidden gems. We have 5 route options, named by color, that interconnect to create shorter or longer drives. Special points of interest along each routes are listed below.
Orange Route Points of Interest
Coordinates: 38.0303294, -96.4232013
There was once a small community here – Teterville, Kansas – founded in the 1920s during an oil boom. The community was named after James Teter who owned the land and oil fields.
The original Teter Rock was a pile of stones created as a guidepost to help homesteaders find their way. However, the original stones were later used in the construction of homes in the area. The current 16' Teter Rock slab was created as a monument to the original by the Greenwood County Historical Society in 1954.
You'll likely see cattle in the open range around Teter Rock. If you're lucky, you may even see the wild horses who roam the area to the south.
Coordinates: 38.0897407, -96.3972368
Heading up to Texaco Hill is a beautiful drive through open range. Just west of the intersection of Madison Road and H50, you'll see an oil rig. This is the top of Texaco Hill, at an elevation of 1,637 feet. Park near the oil rig to enjoy some of the best views in all of the Flint Hills. Texaco Hill is also a favorite challenge among local cyclists – conquering the uphill climb to the top on bicycle is worth it.
Pink Route Points of Interest
Coordinates: 38.187951, -96.401449
This is a low-water crossing over a shallow section of Camp Creek. Camp Creek merges into the Verdigris River about 200 feet south of the crossing. The Verdigris is visible as you come around the bend heading south. If it's rained heavily recently, be careful here and do not drive into high or rapidly moving water. The creek crosses a public road, but the land and waterway on either side of the road are privately owned – remember to stay on the roadway.
Matfield Green Tower
Coordinates: 38.151527, -96.4603423
If you're wanting to watch a sunset, most locals agree this is a prime viewing point. Marking the spot is a 393-foot tall communications tower built in 1952.
Teal Route Points of Interest
Rocky Ford Bridge (aka “Bird” Bridge)
Coordinates: 38.36590899999999, -96.11496
This steel truss bridge was built in 1890s by A.M. Blodgett Bridge Company of Kansas City for a cost of $6,000. The bridge originally stood across the Union Pacific railway tracks at the Kansas City Stockyards and was moved its current location in 1907. At the time of its placement over the Cottonwood River in Lyon County, it was the largest single span bridge in the state of Kansas.
In 1987, the bridge was featured in the true crime movie, “Murder Ordained” and today it is part of a popular gravel cycling route. Read the lore of Rocky Ford bridge here.
Green Route Points of Interest
Coordinates: 38.36590899999999, -96.11496
Please note that this lake is privately owned by the Kahola Lake Community so there is no public fishing or boating allowed. However, you'll be able to view the lake as you travel along the north side and as you cross the dam on the east end.
Yellow Route Points of Interest
Hwy 177 Schrumpf Hill Scenic Overlook
Pull off the highway and follow the path through native grasses and wildflowers while experiencing expansive views of the Flint Hills. The site includes interpretative panels describing the flora and fauna of the prairie.