Chalk Pyramids in Kansas?

Chalk Pyramids in Kansas? Who knew? These giant formations were formed millions of years ago by the erosion of a sea bed. The limestone towers, Niobrara Chalk, and shale out on the rural Kansas prairie are well worth a trip to see.

Chalk Pyramids in Kansas?

Lake Scott State Park

101 W Scott Lake Dr
Scott City, KS 67871

Our RV’s next overnight destination would be the historic Lake Scott State Park. Lake Scott covers over 1,000 acres of land, has a spring-fed lake, and was established as a park in 1928. The park is in a valley with bluffs surrounding it. There are tons of large shade trees, fishing, hiking trails, and our favorite thing – history!

Chalk Pyramids in Kansas?

Although the park is less than a three-hour drive from our last stay in Lucas, Kansas, we did not arrive until well after dark thirty. We always stop to see just about anything that looks interesting to either of us and often finish up our travel days very late. Lake Scott is a terrific state park, beautiful and historic.

It provides all the amenities you could ever want at a state park. However, it is not the best place to arrive after dark! What a wonderfully spooky curvy road we went down to reach this park, carefully watching for wildlife that could have wandered onto the highway.

Chalk Pyramids in Kansas?

So many stars! Expand the photo to see.

The park office staff advised us to select any available campsite that was not marked as a reserved site and to leave our payment in the payment box at the office the following day. The park was so very dark!

It took us a very long time to drive around in circles, zigzag walking with a flashlight, and have ” discussions ” before we agreed on a campsite. The site was marked Reserved, but we felt like no one else would be arriving that late at night to claim that spot, and we could sort the “Reserved” thing out later.

Since the park is in its off-season, ALL of the campsite post tags read “Reserved,” but we did not know that until we talked with the park office folks after we left. Did I mention how DARK it was out there at night?

We appreciated the darkness much more after the RV was parked and set up for the night. The night sky was magnificent! What an adventure here, already.

El Cuartelejo

Chalk Pyramids in Kansas?

The only Pueblo ruins in Kansas, El Cuartelejo, a National Historic Landmark, is here at the park. These ruins were built by Pueblo Indians that settled here in the 1600s, possibly when they fled from Spanish rule in New Mexico. A museum in Scott City illustrates the history of these ruins.  

Battle of Punished Woman’s Fork at Battle Canyon

Chalk Pyramids in Kansas?

This monument overlooks the spot, just a mile from the park, where Indians fought their last battle in Kansas in 1878. Approximately 350 Northern Cheyenne escaped from their reservation in Oklahoma, where the government had placed them.

In their attempt to return to their homeland in Montana, the Cheyenne, led by Chiefs Dull Knife and Little Wolf, decided to stand against the U. S. Calvary soldiers chasing them, so the Cheyenne positioned themselves above the canyon and planned to ambush the U.S. soldiers.

Legend states that one of the Cheyenne fired early before the soldiers entered the canyon, and the trap failed. The Calvary managed to surround the Cheyenne, but after the fighting stopped, the Cheyenne escaped toward the north during the night.

With some of the members, Little Wolf managed to get to Montana. Dull Knife was forced to surrender in Nebraska. This is not the most famous Indian battle but the very last fought in Kansas.

Chalk Pyramids in Kansas?

Castle Rock

Between Quinter and Collyer, Kansas
GPS Coordinates: 38.8611219, -100.1698516

Monument Rocks and Castle Rock are on the 8 Wonders of Kansas list.

Castle Rock is a fragile 70-foot pillar of limestone, Niobrara chalk, and shale. It is on private land in the Smoky Hills, just an hour’s drive from Lake Scott State Park. A very well-worn dirt road leads to this remarkable formation. We were on our way to Lake Scott State Park when we stopped here.

It was necessary to pull off onto the grass and unhook the RV because there was no way we could drive it any further. We went on the few miles to Castle Rock in the Jeep, and this was a bumpy ride but well worth the jarring jolts caused by the deeply rutted road.

It is fascinating that the area of Kansas we are exploring was at one time the bottom of the Permian Sea.

Keystone Gallery

Barbara Shelton & Chuck Bonner, Owners
401 US Highway 83
Scott City, Kansas  67871
Phone:  620.872.2762
N 38° 44.578′ W 100° 52.116′

This fantastic, inviting, humble-looking museum gallery has been operating since 1991. The famous Keystone Gallery has been featured in magazines and on TV many times. Fascinating examples of fossils are on display here, as pieces of Barbara Shelton’s photography and Chuck Bonner’s paintings.

The owners spend much of their time preserving local fossils from this Badlands area of Kansas.

Chalk Pyramids in Kansas?

This remarkable place is near Monument Rocks, our next destination. Some of these fossils at the Keystone Gallery were discovered here. We were greeted by Barbara Shelton, who explained a bit about their work and offered to answer any questions we might have. This is a “do not miss” adventure if you are in this area.

I came across this YouTube video, Chuck and Barb Go Hunting, by Katy Scoggins, which provides an exciting look into fossil collecting and preparation. It also shows the beautiful scenery in this part of Kansas.

Monument Rocks

4 miles east of US-83
25 miles south of Oakley, Kansas
GPS coordinates: 38.7937° N, 100.7632° W

Chalk Pyramids in Kansas?

Designated as a Natural Historic Natural Landmark in 1960, these rock outcroppings are also on private land. Isn’t it great that these landowners are so generous in sharing these natural wonders with the public? Camping is not allowed, and the property is open during daylight hours only.

We will forever remember standing next to and looking up at these magnificently and naturally formed structures. Quite a sight to see!

These rock formations, including Castle Rock, often collectively referred to as the Badlands of Kansas, were formed during the Cretaceous Period, between 145.5 and 65.5 million years ago. Some of the best marine fossils in the world have come from these rocks.

Little Jerusalem Badlands State Park

Logan County, KS
GPS coordinates: 38.80280561 -100.9282032

Chalk Pyramids in Kansas?

Little Jerusalem is only about 15 miles from Monument Rocks so we could visit both in one afternoon. The property became a state park in 2018, with a $5 fee to visit. This relatively new park is only open during daylight hours, and camping is not permitted.

This is our third Niobrara chalk pyramid experience, the most expansive and, just like the others, very striking. Here you can see a long stretch of chalk formations formed by sediment at the bottom of the ocean millions of years ago—a popular place to find fossils. However, collecting or taking anything from the park is prohibited.

This state park is also remarkable because it is the only place in the world where Great Plains wild buckwheat grows. There are a few excellent hiking trails here – easy enough for me, and only guided tours are permitted off the trails.

We had a great picnic at one of the picnic tables at the park’s parking area entrance. There are also bathrooms available here, a great amenity in rural Kansas!

ANOTHER flat tire!

Chalk Pyramids in Kansas?

I suppose a flat tire shouldn’t have been a surprise, right? Didn’t we spend two full days meandering around on dirt backroads in Kansas? Not a problem, though. I often refer to Steve as MacGyver because he is always prepared for every possible hazard, problem, and situation and “almost” was ready for this one.

He had all the tools necessary to change a flat tire, but we did not know the spare tire had a locking lug nut. We did not have the key! Steve twisted, banged, applied heat, slammed, “spoke words over” the tire, and finally, after almost two hours, was able to get the locking lug nut off.

He was able to melt the plastic cover off with his blow torch. How many people have a blow torch in their vehicle bag of tools? He was replacing the tire when a wonderful young man named Cayde stopped to help us.

Cayde very kindly finished the job by placing the spare tire on, and we were able to be on our way. It was very refreshing to find such a polite and respectful young man on a back road in the middle of nowhere. We spent over two hours stopped on the roadside.

The entire time Tank unsuccessfully, but annoyingly, tried to break free of his leash and chase every vehicle that passed! Another full day of travel adventure and flat tire number three so far! This was the first flat for the Jeep, but we have had two on the RV. One was while we were camped at Lake Wister State Park.

What’s next? Dodge City and more! Check back next week.

Chalk Pyramids in Kansas?

7 thoughts on “Chalk Pyramids in Kansas?

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  4. Who knew Kansas would be such an interesting place?

    1. Certainly not me! We will have to return for a closer look for sure.

  5. Thank you for another great adventure as usual……..see you next time!

    1. I’m happy you’re reading! Thank you.

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