The Smoky Valley Scenic Byway takes the traveler through 60 miles of west central Kansas through the Smoky Hill River Valley. Named for their "hazy" appearance at sunrise and sunset, the Smoky Hills provide a transition between the mixed-grass prairie and the short-grass prairie of the plains.
The Byway offers a showplace of native wildflowers and grasses through the seasons. Coneflowers, yucca, Indian blanket and sky blue pitcher sage abound.
In addition, the croplands provide a panorama of vegetation from the emerald green of winter wheat to the rich russet red of milo. Rock outcroppings hint of the layers of stone left by the inland sea millions of years ago.
Westward bound pioneers crossed this area as they traversed the Smoky Hill Trail. The Butterfield's Overland Despatch, established at the end of the Civil War, originally carried freight and then passengers from Fort Leavenworth to Denver. Today limestone markers identify two of its crossings along the Byway.
Threshing Machine Canyon near Cedar Bluff State Park and Reservoir is the site of an 1867 Native American attack on a wagon train transporting a threshing machine to Brigham Young in Salt Lake City. Smoky Hill Trail travelers carved their names in the canyon walls.
Named for the 100-foot tall, cedar-covered limestone bluffs along the south side of the Lake, the Cedar Bluff State Park and Reservoir is a great place to camp, hike, fish, view wildlife, birdwatch, boat, play volleyball and horseshoes.
The Reservoir hosts many fishing tournaments and other special events throughout the year. Th' Gatherin', a Celtic celebration with foods, games and music is held just to the north of Cedar Bluff State Park.
WaKeeney has been known as the Christmas City of the High Plains since 1950.
- Plan Your Trip
- Calendar of Events
Messiah Festival of the ArtsThe Messiah Festival of Music and Art is host to the longest-running continual North American performance of Handel's Messiah, now in its 132st year. Read More
- Things To Do
Weekend Getaway: LindsborgEnjoy a fun weekend getaway in enchanting Lindsborg. Known as the Little Sweden of the Prairie, Lindsborg has long been celebrated as a charming small town with an outs...Read More
Tastebuds Rejoice!Steakhouses, Bakeries, Pizza Places, Micro-breweries and more!
Reserve a Kansas Cabin!Enjoy the comforts of home when you stay in a Kansas state park cabin. Read More
Shop Winfield's AntiquesFind some of the best antique shopping in Kansas in Winfield's downtown antique district. Come for a weekend and take your time discovering treasures in each store. Read More
- International Visitors
An adventure awaits ...Enjoy the hospitality of the Heartland...