Gypsum Hills

Scenic Byway

Ancient floodplains, buttes, canyons, mesas, and sinkholes are rare on the Great Plains.  Yet, nestled in the Kansas grasslands are the Gypsum Hills, or Red Hills, with plenty of geologic diversity.  The 42-mile-long Gypsum Hills Scenic Byway is enchantingly noteworthy for its rolling, weathered hills, picturesque vistas, and outdoor recreational options.  The drive affords tantalizing views of the rugged landscape and includes two scenic overlooks to help you soak it all in.

Yet the Gypsum Hills' geological good looks are just the beginning. The region boasts a history and spirit enriched by cattle ranching, Native-American heroes Chiefs Black Kettle and White Bear, temperance-movement heroine Carrie Nation, westward-moving American pioneers, and much more. You'll also find art galleries, a drive-in theater in Medicine Lodge, museums, restaurants, and shops to leisurely explore and enjoy. And in the hills' parks, enjoy biking, birding, camping, climbing, fishing, hiking, and swimming.

  • Route Description

    Distance: 42 miles

    Medicine Lodge to Coldwater: Beginning at the intersection of US-281 and US-160 in southwest Medicine Lodge, KS, head west for 40 miles straight towards Coldwater, KS. 

    Coldwater to Medicine Lodge: Beginning at the intersection of US-183 and US-160 in north Coldwater, KS, head east for 40 miles straight towards Medicine Lodge, KS.

  • Gypsum Hills Trail Rides

    Gypsum Hills Trail Rides is a family owned trail riding and hiking operation that started in 1974. We are located 9 miles west of Medicine…

    Gyp Hills Guest Ranch

    Experience life on the Gyp Hills Guest Ranch, over looking the scenic Gypsum Hills southwest of Medicine Lodge. We have something for…

    Buster's Saloon

    Buster's Saloon, in a building built in the 1870's, offers a full lunch and dinner menu, and don't forget the "fishbowl"! A truly unique…

    Barber State Fishing Lake

    Barber State Fishing Lake is a 77-acre lake located at the north edge of Medicine Lodge. Camping, picnicking, and fishing are allowed…

    Lake Coldwater

    Dedicated in 1980, Lake Coldwater is a wonderful, scenic place for water-related sports including swimming, bird-watching, wildlife…

    Maker Mercantile

    Housed in a former church, Maker Mercantile, is a one of a kind place. On the main floor, you will find a unique shopping environment…

  • Things to do along the way


    Kansas Byways

    Flint Hills

    The Flint Hills National Scenic Byway offers incredible views of the native grasses and flowers of the tallgrass prairie - one of the last…

    Prairie Trail

    When you travel the Prairie Trail Scenic Byway, you follow in the steps of Native Americans, explorers and pioneers as they sought food…

    Glacial Hills

    The Glacial Hills Scenic Byway gets its name from the rolling hills and rock-strewn valleys carved by ancient glaciers. 

    Wetlands & Wildlife

    Along the byway, you'll encounter landscapes and communities shaped by the powerful forces of motion and change. You're entering a…

    Smoky Valley

    Named for their hazy, blue appearance at sunrise and sunset, the Smoky Hills divide the more easterly mixed-grass prairie from the…

    Western Vistas

    Visit a rugged landscape on the culturally and visually fascinating route known as the Western Vistas Historic Byway. 

    Land & Sky

    Travelers along the Land and Sky Scenic Byway have the opportunity to experience the Wallace Branch of the Great Western Cattle Trail, scale…

    Native Stone

    Discover the natural beauty of the panoramic Native Stone Scenic Byway.

    Route 66

    Kansas' Historic Route 66 Byway offers opportunities for visitors to enjoy a variety of experiences to "get their own kicks…

    Frontier Military

    Travel through time, visiting multiple forts along the Frontier Military Historic Byway.  Originally built to move soldiers and…

    Post Rock

    Over the Smoky Hills of weathered bedrock, the Post Rock Scenic Byway winds through fields, pastures and prairie.

    For more information about the Gypsum Hills Scenic Byway, contact:

    Dollie Mathes
    Medicine Lodge Tourism