Monument Rocks

Western Vistas

Visit a rugged landscape on the culturally and visually fascinating route known as the Western Vistas Historic Byway. Imagine an ancient ocean once covering the shortgrass prairie. When the water receded and erosion set in, the ocean floor's limestone layers became not only flat plains but oddly placed and shaped buttes, mounts and other chalk formations. Here, in western Kansas, is the Wild, Wild West of legend, where American Indians hunted bison, pioneers trekked and rustlers roamed - all attempting to eke out a living.

The region surrounding the Byway is a geologist's and paleontologist's paradise, punctuated with unusual rock formations and among the best fossil hunting areas in the world. Active fossil digs began with regularity in the 1870s. Early discoveries contributed significantly to the fossil record and included previously unknown and extinct animals, such as flying reptiles and toothed birds. While the area literally "rocks," its cultural history may be petrifying to some. Here you can explore Fort Wallace, "the fightin-est Fort in the West," walk in the footsteps of bison hunter Buffalo Bill Cody and visit Battle Canyon, site of the last conflict between American Indians (the Cheyenne) and United States troops.

View Western Vistas Historic Byway in a larger map

For more information about the Western Vistas Historic Byway, contact: