Kansas is the center of the USA. It’s where pioneers passion and drive blazed the Santa Fe, Oregon, and Chisholm Trails. Here, in the pristine prairies historic cattle towns like Caldwell, Wichita, Dodge City, and Abilene exist. Beef cattle ranching continues as a huge industry, and raising beef requires plenty of good quality grassland and…
Day 1 & 2 :: Wichita
Wichita, Kansas’ largest city, is right in the heart of the United States and right at the point where the Big and Little Arkansas Rivers join together. The Wichita Indians, who lived in this area, gave our city its historic name. The Wichita Western Heritage Tour allows travelers to win a Western belt buckle by visiting the 10-sites of this self-guided tour. Sites include: Old Cowtown Museum and the Diamond W Wranglers Chuckwagon Supper, Mid-America All-Indian Center Museum, Keeper of the Plains River Walk, Charles M. Russell Gallery, Botanica, The Wichita Gardens, North American Prairie Exhibit at the Sedgwick County Zoo, Chisholm Trail Exhibit at the Wichita Sedgwick County Historical Museum, Buffalo Bill Monument & Gravesite, and Sheplers The World’s Largest Western Store. Old Town is a restored brick industrial area that is now filled with restaurants, night clubs, and shops.Overnight Wichita
Day 3 :: Wichita – Yoder – Hutchinson
The quaint Amish village of Yoder is home to the unique Carriage Crossing Restaurant a great place for a late breakfast or early lunch. See Country Traditions for handmade Amish quilts. Your afternoon can be spent visiting the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center, a world-class space museum affiliated with the Smithsonian Institution featuring the largest collection of U.S. space artifacts outside of the National Air and Space Museum and the largest collection of Russian space artifacts in the Western world. The Kansas Underground Salt Museum exhibits are in an environment like no other–650 feet beneath the Kansas prairie in a working salt mine. Here, in safe and climate-controlled surroundings, the intriguing and timeless story of salt is told from a global perspective. Overnight Hutchinson.
Day 4 ::Hutchinson – Great Bend
The 77-mile Wetlands and Wildlife National Scenic Byway connects two of the world’s most significant natural wetlands-Cheyenne Bottoms and Quivira National Wildlife Refuge. Abundant wildlife makes the 60,000 acres of wetlands host millions of migrating birds each year and a favorite for wildlife viewers & photographers. Bring your binoculars and watch for the more than 300 bird species. Though impressive any time of year, bird numbers explode in spring and fall, when millions of migrating birds rest and refuel at Byway wetlands. Watch, too, for the region’s many mammals, reptiles, and amphibians, from burrowing owls and bobcats to painted turtles and milk snakes. Overnight Great Bend.
Day 5 & 6 :: Great Bend – Fort Larned – Dodge City
Head southwest to Pawnee Rock State Historic Site, one of the top known natural features along the Santa Fe Trail. One of the best-preserved frontier military posts in the American West, as well as on the entire Santa Fe Trail is the 44-acre Fort Larned National Historic Site, known as the Guardian of the Santa Fe Trail. An important military post established to protect travelers, American Indians, and commerce on the Santa Fe Trail between 1859-1878. There are many self-guided or guided/narrated walking tours given by the National Park Service. Continue to Dodge City. Overnight Dodge City. Dodge City is a pure definition of the West, starting out as a campsite along the Santa Fe Trail. From 1821 to 1886 cowboys driving cattle up the Chisholm Trail named Dodge City the “Queen of Cowtowns”. Lawlessness reigned, creating the need for a burial place…Boot Hill Cemetery. Dodge City was known as the “wickedest little city in the west” during the 1870s and 1880s. Notable lawmen such as Bat Masterson and Wyatt Earp became legends in their own time as they fought to establish law and order on the streets of Dodge City. Today, travelers can experience the boardwalk of Front Street at Boot Hill Museum. Daily activities include chuck-wagon dinner, gunfight re-enactments, and the Long Branch Variety Show. This western history village museum is located on the original site of Boot Hill Cemetery in downtown Dodge City. The Dodge City Trolley will introduce you to all the interesting sites, including the Santa Fe Trail Ruts located west of town on Hwy 50, and the huge cattle feedlots. You are in beef country — we suggest trying one of their great steakhouses for dinner. Overnight Dodge City
Return to Wichita for your flight home.