As we stepped out into the cold, it was clear we weren't going to be able to complete the full hike. We started at the trailhead right outside the visitors center, and you head over a little bit of a rocky trail through a small orchard before breaking out into the prairie. My other mistake in this stop is that it was November, which meant most of...more
Just a few minutes north of Cottonwood Falls on Hwy 177 is the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve, one of the few places in the US with remnants of the native tallgrass prairie. This preserve is on what was formerly the Z-Bar Ranch. More information including travelogue can be found on my Strong City, Kansas, pages (still to come).If you are...more
The main street in downtown Cottonwood Falls is aptly named Broadway. It is paved with brick and was made wide enough to turn a horse and carriage around in it. Along Broadway there are shops, restaurants and a the four-diamond Grand Central Hotel. This makes a good staging area for those who want to explore the Kansas Flint Hills or the nearby...more
The Chase County Courthouse in Cottonwood Falls, Kansas, is the oldest courthouse still in use in all of the 105 counties of the Sunflower State. It is a real beauty, and is said to be the states finest remaining example of the Second Empire architectural style. The courthouse, which stands at the edge of the downtown area overlooking Broadway, was...more
National Geographic Traveler and National Geographic's Center for Sustainable Destinations surveyed hundreds of professionals to evaluate nearly 60 North American parks in terms of ‘sustainable tourism, destination quality, and park management.‘ Coming in the top quarter at number 14…Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve. Panellists commented: "The...more
A few miles north of the twin towns of Strong City and Cottonwood Falls, in the heart of the glorious Flint Hills, you'll find a small outpost amid the grass...a ranch house, stone barn and countryside schoolhouse.The grassland surrounding you is the American Serengeti, great swathes of which have fallen victim to the tractor, steamroller and...more
There are two in town. Shown below is a view of the Roniger Memorial Museum which highlights a large collection of Native American artifacts. I'm sorry to say that I have not yet visited the other, the Case County Historical Society Museum dedicated to preserving the history of the Flint Hills area.more
Mulberry Hill, 1832 Road 200, Cottonwood Falls, Kansas, 66845, United States
Good for: Couples
For great farm and ranch country home-style cooking at great prices, to experience small town life and camaraderie, there is no place like the Emma Chase Cafe, one of Kansas' best-known eateries and meeting places. You will often have the opportunity to sit at a community table with locals and fellow travelers. On one recent visit, I enjoyed...more
That's Emma in the photo (the pretty one standing up). If you eat at her restaurant, you won't be a stranger long!Following is a partial list of the regular events held at the Emma Chase Cafe:1) The Falls Literary Society meets every morning at 9 for coffee and to solve world problems!2)Tallgrass Pickers jam session - first Friday night of every...more
I should have listed this under accomodations but I have not slept there just eaten there. The Grand Central Hotel has a good restaurant. Historical building restored as hotel and dining room. If you have read my travel pages you probably think steak is all I like to eat. It is not true but steak is what I had at Grand Hotel and it was good. Save...more
Cottonwood Falls is well off the beaten path with neither an Interstate nor a US highway leading to it. The town can only be reached by KS-177, which has been designated as the Flint Hills National Scenic Byway. You'll need an automobile because no public transportation is available. If you're a person who enjoys meandering down the backroads, this is one you don't want to miss.
I know from experience that the Flint Hills Scenic Byway is beautiful any time of year. It stretches for more than 47 miles, from Council Grove to Cassoday. Along the way you will enjoy panoramic vistas of the tallgrass prairie as well as rolling Flint Hills ranchland as far as the eye can see. Cottonwood Falls is approximately at the center point of the Scenic Byway.
There are more shopping opportunities in Cottonwood Falls than the average small town because the village attracts a large number of visitors. I was traveling solo on this daytrip and did no shopping, but I will share some observances.
There are a few stores, such as that shown in the accompanying photo, that feature gift items, collectables, and just pure junk. I don't seem to remember the name of this one, but its facade was about the only thing I found of interest, anyway. On the other hand I visited a couple of very nice art galleries where I wish I had some spare cash in the budget for some works I enjoyed.
What to buy: Going on what I have heard, Jim Bell and Sons is a good place to pick some fine western wear, especially boots and hats.
If you go for a hike in the prairie stay on the trail. Poison ivy, ticks and chiggers abound here. Walking off the trail is also harmful to this fragile ecosystem. Be careful for inclement weather. Lightning storms on the prairie can be exceptionally dangerous, and contrary to the rest of the state's level appearance, the terrain is uneven and is very slippery when wet.
Those who think of Kansas as nothing but flat farmland do not expect to see the variations of terrain, the wildflowers and plant life, and especially the waterfall that are part of the Chase State Fishing Lake environment. Few Kansans and not all local residents are aware of this set of three waterfalls cascading down from the lake. The lake itself...more
Many states, both in the eastern and western United States, have National Forests. Here in Kansas, in northern Chase County, you will find the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve. This unique place is operated as a partnership between the National Park Service, The Nature Conservancy, and the Kansas Park Trust.Although the Preserve covers 10,894...more
The Z Bar/Spring Hill Ranch was built in the early 1880's by Stephen F. Jones, a wealthy cattle rancher and businessman. The National Park Service offers free, informative tours that give great insight into prairie, frontier, and ranching life of the late 19th century.more
The focal point of any visit to Cottonwood Falls is the small town itself and the court house. A visit to the court house is free although they accept donations. Take a tour of the court house and explore the old jail upstairs.
Fondest memory: Going to the courthouse for a festival and seeing crafters of all kinds. Then walking down the street and buying some great fudge to eat while window shopping.