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

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.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: Portions of these routes are on low/minimum maintenance roads, meaning the road can be very ROUGH OR ROCKY and some areas have low water crossings. These routes were designed for Sport Utility Vehicles and therefore we do not recommend attempting them by car. Make sure your SUV is in good working condition before embarking!

Parts of these routes are remote, and cell phone service may not work in all areas. PLEASE PRINT OUT A COPY OF THE ROUTE MAP AND TAKE IT WITH YOU in case you are unable to access online maps.

All routes utilize public roads, however, the land on either side of the side of the road is privately owned. Therefore, DO NOT LEAVE THE ROADWAY and trespass onto private land. Much of the area you'll pass through is open pasture and prairie where there are no fences. Be respectful and remain on the road. Watch out for cattle and other wildlife who may be crossing roadways.

In the springtime (March-May), ranchers perform controlled burns to renew the land. Keep a safe distance from any fire and DO NOT drive into heavy smoke.

Finally, leave the Flint Hills as beautiful as you found them – they are a unique ecological area. Do not litter, and do not disturb or remove plants, rocks, wildlife, architecture, or other objects.

Orange Route Points of Interest

teter-rock

Teter Rock

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.

texaco-hill

Texaco Hill

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

verdigris-crossing

Verdigris Crossing

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.

att-towers

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

bird-bridge2

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

lake-kahola

Lake Kahola

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

schrumpf-hill-overlook

Hwy 177 Schrumpf Hill Scenic Overlook

Coordinates: 38.3210175,-96.5437375

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.