Wetlands & Wildlife

National Scenic Byway

Everywhere you look, you see evidence of motion and change!

Along the byway, you'll encounter landscapes and communities shaped by the powerful forces of motion and change. You're entering a region formed by ancient and ongoing geological movement, a land of stunning bird migrations, wild winds, and weather, and of richly layered human history. Everywhere you look, you'll see evidence of motion and change - from rippling wheat fields to the grand spectacle of a hundred thousand shorebirds alighting in the Byway wetlands.

The Wetlands & Wildlife National Scenic Byway takes visitors through Barton, Stafford, and Reno counties in central Kansas. The road moves through radiant wetlands exploding with wildlife, prairie vistas with immense blue skies, and seven rural communities shaped by nature and the entrepreneurial spirit. The marshes that anchor this drive, Cheyenne Bottoms and Quivira National Wildlife Refuge, are international treasures nestled in the heart of America and the Central Flyway.

Wetlands & Wildlife National Scenic Byway Website

    The Nature Conservancy's Cheyenne Bottoms Preserve is a 7,848 acre wetland preserve adjacent to the state-owned Cheyenne Bottoms Wildlife Area north of Great Bend. The Cheyenne Bottoms wetlands complex is excellent for wildlife and bird watching and photography. More than 350…

    Quivira NWR is one of a system of over 500 refuges administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). The Refuge encompasses over 22,135 acres and is managed primarily to provide migratory waterfowl with food, water, and shelter; however, other migratory birds…

  • Directions - North to South

    Distance: 77 miles

    Hoisington to St. John (North to South) - Begin your journey in Hoisington at the intersection of US-281 and K-4. Head east on K-4 towards the Cheyenne Bottoms Wildlife Refuge. Just past Cheyenne Bottoms will be NE 100 Ave. Make a right and head south on NE 100 Ave. Stay on NE 100 Ave for about 4 miles until you reach the intersection of K-156 and NE 100 Ave. This is where the route can be tricky, so pay close attention to the road signs. Turn right on K-156 and remain on the road for about 4 miles until you are at the  K-156 and NE 30 Rd intersection. You'll turn left onto NE 30 Rd and then immediately right onto NE 60 Ave.

    NE 60 Ave will eventually become SE 60 Ave (no need to turn). Remain on this road for 10 miles. Turn right on SE 70 Rd; then an immediate left onto NE 40th Ave. Keep going southwards on NE 40th Ave for 7 miles until you hit the intersection of NE 40th Ave and NE 140th St. Make a left on NE 140th St towards the Quivira National Wildlife Refuge. You'll stay on NE 140th for about 12 miles. NE 140th St will eventually become 95th Ave (no need to turn). Where 95th Ave intersects with Raymond Rd, just past the Quivira National Wildlife Refuge, turn right on Raymond Rd.

    Keep heading south on Raymond Rd. for 7 miles until you reach the intersection for NE 70th St and  Raymond Rd. At this intersection, turn right onto NE 70th St. Remain on NE 70th St, heading west for 16 miles. The route concludes just north of St. John where NE 70th St intersects with US-281.

  • Directions - South to North

    Distance: 77 miles

    St. John to Hoisington (South to North) - Starting in the city of St. John, head north on US-281 until you reach the intersection of US-281 and NE 70th St. (The intersection is by Wild Horse Creek). Make a right onto NE 70th St and continue on the road for 16 miles until you reach Raymond Rd. Turn left onto Raymond Rd and continue onwards for an additional 7 miles until you are at the intersection of Raymond Rd and 95th Ave. You'll then turn left onto 95th Ave, which will then become NE 140th St. (no need to turn) once you are at the Quivira National Wildlife Refuge. Drive for 12 more miles on NE 140th St. through the Quivira National Wildlife Refuge until you hit the intersection of NE 140th St and NE 40th Ave.

    This is where the route can be tricky, so make sure to pay close attention to the road signs. At the intersection of NE 140th St and NE 40th Ave, turn right onto NE 40th Ave and drive for 7 more miles until NE 40th Ave meets SE 70 Rd.  You'll make a quick right onto SE 70 Rd, drive for about half a mile to SE 60 Ave, then make a left. Stay north on SE 60 Ave for 10 miles. SE 60 Ave will eventually become NE 60 Ave (no need to turn). Until the intersection of NE 60 Ave and NE 30 Rd, make an immediate left onto NE 30 Rd, then an immediate right onto K-156.

    Continue on K-156 for 6 miles until you reach the intersection of K-156 and NE 100 Ave. Turn left onto NE 100 Ave, and continue for about 4 miles until you reach the intersection of NE 100 Ave and K-4, then turn left onto K-4. Stay on K-4, heading west towards Hoisington and the byway’s end at the intersection of K-4 and US-281.

  • Plan Your Road Trip

    Cheyenne Bottoms Refuge

    The Nature Conservancy's Cheyenne Bottoms Preserve is a 7,848 acre wetland preserve adjacent to the state-owned Cheyenne Bottoms Wildlife…

    Kansas Wetlands Educational Center

    The Kansas Wetlands Education Center (KWEC) is your one-stop shop for every visit to Cheyenne Bottoms, a wetland of international importance…

    Shafer Art Gallery

    Shafer Art Gallery on the BCC campus in Great Bend features bronze sculptures created by its namesake, Gus Shafer and boasts an outstanding…

    Great Bend Brit Spaugh Zoo

    Our free zoo offers up-close views of wildlife, places to relax & educational programs to foster understanding of the animals in our natural…

    Ellinwood Tunnels

    Ellinwood was originally home to up to 11 saloons. Visitors are welcome to stop by our Underground Saloon and get a complete tour of the…

    Quivira National Wildlife Refuge

    Quivira NWR is one of a system of over 500 refuges administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). The Refuge encompasses over…

    Migrants Mile Trail

    This trail allows the visitor to see a variety of habitats: woodland, prairie, and marsh. There are two loops on this trail: the inner loop…

    The Historic Wolf Hotel

    Come stay with us! We have rooms to suit every taste and budget. From our Suite with all the amenities of home to Grandma's room with a…

  • Things to do along the way

    Photos

    Kansas Byways

    Route 66

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

    Native Stone

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

    Western Vistas

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

    Frontier Military

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

    Gypsum Hills

    Ancient floodplains, buttes, canyons, mesas and sinkholes are rare on the Great Plains. Yet, nestled in the Kansas grasslands is the Gypsum…

    Post Rock

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

    Glacial Hills

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

    Smoky Valley

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

    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…

    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…

    For more information about the Wetlands and Wildlife National Scenic Byway, contact:

    Great Bend CVB
    620-792-2750

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