Monday, January 17, 2011

New Year's Day in the Gyp HIlls

One of Kansas's best treasures is the Red Hills physiographic region, which spans parts of up to 7 counties in South Central and South West Kansas. The heart of this area, also known as the Gypsum (or Gyp) Hills is in Barber and Comanche Counties between the towns of Medicine Lodge and Coldwater.

My wife Karen, has wanted to take a trip to this area since she moved to Kansas. When we saw clear sunny weather in the forecast on New Year's Day, we decided to take a day trip to this area. I have been to this area a number of times, but always enjoy going back, especially in different seasons.

On the way to Medicine Lodge, we made stops in Harper and Anthony to observe some murals, the old Runnymede Church, the 9-11 memorial and the Harper County Courthouse in Anthony. Karen has just begun a quest to photograph all the Kansas Courthouses. This will be an ongoing quest as we travel Kansas.

See Karen's Kansas Courthouses photo gallery at:

We left Medicine Lodge heading west on US-160 and turned south onto the 22 mile long Gyp Hills Scenic Drive, which travels through some of the most scenic areas of the Red Hills. Heading south, then west, then back north to US-160, this drive is suitable for all vehicles in good weather, and offers great views all along it's length. Below is a small sampling of photos of this area, taken during my journeys along this road.

Gyp Hills Scenic Drive (Karen's Photo)

Gyp Hills Scenic Drive (Karen's Photo)
Flower Pot Mound (Larry's Photo)
Gyp Hills Scenic Drive (Larry's Photo)
For more information about the Gyp Hills Scenic Drive and related Gypsum Hills Scenic Byway, which together are a winner in the 8 Wonders of Kansas Geography, see the Kansas Sampler Foundation's page at:

Dog Creek area - Lake City Road (Karen's Photo)
 Leaving the Gyp Hills Scenic Drive at US-160, we headed north on Lake City Road and viewed some of the ruins in Lake City.

From there, we headed east on River Road before turning north on another favorite road, Mingona Road towards the Elm Mills area in northern Barber County.

Approaching thunderstorm on Mingona Rd (Larry's Photo)

We had seen the Flat Ridge Windfarm windmills from Mingona Road, so we backtracked south on US-281, then east and north on Isabel Road to view them up close. By now it was dusk, so we headed north to US-54/400 and back east to Wichita.

To view more photos that Karen and I have taken in the Gyp Hills, see our photo gallery at:

What a great way to start a new year with a trip to a beautiful area of Kansas!