Travel Tips

Lake Scott State Park Kansas

Lake Scott State Park is located in Scott County ten miles north of the town of Scott City, Kansas. It is hard to find a lake this nice this far west in Kansas. Taking via US-83, you can take K-95 at the first available moment. The speed limits are no joke. There are plenty of curves on not the widest road.

From a distance, it looks like the prairie continues forever and ever, but in this big gap in the land, you will find a lake located in Lake Scott State Park. I have always enjoyed stopping by a time or two here. It is a nice detour along your travels on US-83.

Lake Scott State Park Kansas
Lake Scott State Park Kansas

You can find canyons, springs, ponds, small rivers, and several campgrounds. All campgrounds I found on the map will be listed below:

  • Elm Grove
  • Apache
  • Lakeside
  • Flatland
  • Circle Derive
  • Boat Ramp
  • Bull Canyon South
  • Lake View
Springs in Lake Scott State Park Kansas

Whenever I used to visit with my family, we would almost always stop at the Circle Drive Campground to view the lake and enjoy life. There is a west and east Scott Lake Drive that together surround the lake. We always like to take the west drive, but the east drive is very good also. There are restrooms and showers available for those wanting to know.

Overall, this is a decent state park. If there is one thing in western Kansas I enjoyed visiting, this will be put on the list for sure. The lake’s size is good considering where it is located. Consider stopping by here along your travels on all of the two-laned highways out there in western Kansas!


Mile Markers in Colorado

Colorado is one of the homes the Rocky Mountains occupy. If you are traveling here by car through Utah, New Mexico, Kansas, Wyoming, or even Nebraska, it might be helpful to know what locations you might pass along the way. I will just briefly list cities on each interstates and the exit numbers that connect with it. 

Rocky Mountain National Park
Rocky Mountain National Park

Remember that exit numbers aren’t just made up. They represent at what mile of the interstate you are at. For example, if you are at mile marker 100, and you find an exit, you will notice the exit number will be the same or off just by a mile or two. If you are traveling west or south, the numbers will count down until you reach a new state or the end of the highway. It will be the opposite if you are traveling north or east on the road. 

Knowing this information, you can take the mile marker you are at as well as the exit number you are looking for and do the math. If you are at mile marker 88 and are traveling to a location with the exit number being 256, that means you are 168 miles away from your destination. It might be another two and a half hour trip assuming traffic is good and you make less stops along the way. So, with all of that being said, listed below are cities all in Colorado you will find along each interstate and what exit number they are at. Note that not every single one you can possibly find is listed. I hope you will find this useful someday.

I-25

  • 11-15 – Trinidad
  • 49-52 – Walsenburg & Farista
  • 71 & 74 – Colorado City
  • 94-104 – Pueblo
  • 128-161 – Colorado Springs Area (Including Suburbs)
  • 181-188 – Castle Rock & Castle Pines
  • 194-228 – Denver Area (Including Suburbs) 
  • 240 & 243 – Longmont Exits
  • 257 – Loveland Exit 
  • 269 A & B – Fort Collins Exit
  • 278 – Wellington

I-76

  • 1-25 – Denver Area (Including Suburbs)
  • 31 – Hudson
  • 39 – Keenesburg
  • 64 & 66 – Wiggins
  • 75-82 – Fort Morgan
  • 89-92 – Brush
  • 125 – Sterling
  • 149 – Crook
  • 165 – Sedgwick
  • 180 – Julesburg

I-70

  • 11-44 – Grand Junction Area (Including Suburbs)
  • 62 – De Beque
  • 75 – Parachute
  • 87-97 – Rifle & Silt
  • 114 & 116 – Glenwood Springs
  • 140-147 – Gypsum & Eagle
  • 163-168 – Edwards, Avon & Eagle Vail
  • 176 & 180 – Vail
  • 195 – Copper Mountain
  • 201 & 205 – Frisco, Silverthorne & Dillion
  • 226 & 228 – Silver Plume & Georgetown
  • 239-241 – Idaho Springs
  • 260-289  – Denver Area (Including Suburbs)
  • 304-316 – Bennett, Strasburg & Byers
  • 328 – Deer Trail
  • 359-363 – Limon
  • 371 – Genoa
  • 395 – Flagler
  • 405 – Seibert
  • 419 – Stratton
  • 437 & 438 – Burlington

Clinton Lake Kansas USA

Directions to Clinton Lake and Clinton State Park
Located west of Lawrence and Douglas County, you will find Clinton Lake. You can find signs along US-40, K-10, and US-59 that will help navigate you to this destination. If you take K-10, you can find it much easier. Off of that exit, you can either visit Clinton State Park or ride the east dam. You can also find this route from a turnoff on US-59 as well. From that turnoff, you can visit the Rockhaven, Bloomington, and Woodridge Public Use Areas and the town of Clinton. The turnoff from US-40 takes you straight down to the Clinton State Park or the Wildlife Area

Things to do at Clinton Lake
At the north part of the lake, this tends to be the main spot. Locations include campgrounds with restrooms and showers, trails, a disc golf course, and an archery range. East of the lake, locations include a waterfall, spillway, and outlet park near Wakarusa River, and a golf course.

View from Kansas Highway K-10
If you are driving along K-10, there are sports complexes to the east of the lake and a nice overlook park at the northeast corner of the lake for a quick but good look at this huge lake. You should check out this lake if you have the time to tour something special along your travels in a very scenic eastern Kansas. 


From York, Nebraska (I-80) to Salina, Kansas (I-70) via US-81

Four Lane Highway Links I-80 to I-70
Not too long ago, the state Nebraska and Kansas decided to make a four laned road stretching from I-80 and I-70. It would start from York, Nebraska, travel south through McCool Junction, Fairmont, Geneva, Strang, Bruning, Hebron, past the Nebraska – Kansas border through Belleville, Concordia, Minneapolis, and finally Salina where it meets I-70 and even I-135. It still exists today and serves a good purpose for faster transportation.

US-81
To explain a little better, this US-81 route contributes with I-135 and its purpose as well. If you look at a map, you see I-35 which was once in the central part of the country starting to shift east away from the north central states. With the new roads, there is a faster route for the area that I-35 missed when going east to Missouri, Iowa, and Minnesota.

In the Dakotas and Nebraska, you realize there is no interstate that runs vertically through the middle of the states. We have history to blame for this. But in short, this new route gives these north central states a faster way to access I-35 in a more direct way to travel to places in Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas.

From the flip side of things, it is easier for the south central states to travel to the north central states as well. It is a step towards making transportation slightly faster in this area.

Here are a few good places to stop along this road from York, NB and Salina, KS:

York
North of I-80 you can truly see the size of the town. US-81 & US-34 mostly bypass the town, but Lincoln Avenue is a main road that runs straight through the town. This is a good stopping point even when traveling along the interstate. Most travelers when in a slight hurry stop south of town rather than in it. They should consider going up a mile if they have the time.

Geneva
To get more options, you can either travel west on F Street or NE-41, whichever comes first. You could stop at Shell for gas, Dollar General for a snack, or even Subway for a nice, healthy lunch.

Hebron
Most of the stops are again west of the highway. Lincoln Avenue is a good way to enter the city from the highway. You can find another Dollar General here as well as a Casey’s. The airport and the country club is south of the town near US-136.

Pawnee Indian Museum Kansas
Pawnee Indian Museum Republic Kansas USA

Belleville
North of US-36 and east of US-81 is where the city of Belleville resides. Up north is a Love’s, a speedway, swimming pool, and Rocky Pond. For anyone looking for businesses you can find in most places, there is a Super 8 hotel near a Dollar General, Casey’s, and even a DQ where you can stop for a treat.

POW Camp Concordia Kansas USA
POW Camp Concordia Kansas USA

Concordia
You don’t have to leave the highway too much at all to stop at a DQ, Sonic, McDonald’s, Subway, Arby’s, and more. South of town they even have a Walmart. It should fill most needs someone would like during the trip.

Kenwood Cove Salina Kansas
Kenwood Cove Salina Kansas

Salina
This city is blessed to have four lane roads in all four directions. When US-81 reaches Salina, people traveling south have the option to travel west to Hays and Denver, east to Topeka and Kansas City, or south to Wichita and Oklahoma City. Taking I-135 south by Salina gives you more options rather than I-70, but there are still enough stops north of Salina by I-70 to support travelers along their way. US-81 continues south with I-135 after Salina to Wichita and beyond.


4 Lane Highways in Kansas

asphalt junction near greenery on city street
Photo by Kelly Lacy on Pexels.com

Makes Driving Fun
What is so important about four laned highways? Well, for one, it is easier to handle the traffic since you can pass cars without going in the other lane that cars use to go the opposite direction. An additional benefit is higher speed. These factors add up to a sum of easier driving and faster travel. The interstates aren’t the only four laned roads you will find in the state of Kansas.

Kansas City
For example, near Kansas City, it is harder to find highways that are just two laned compared to other parts of the state. Parts of US-69, US-169, US-73, US-24, and US-40 around the area will have more lanes so traffic can flow more smoothly since it is very populated.

Christmas Tree Crown Center Kansas City Missouri USA
Christmas Tree Crown Center Kansas City Missouri USA

Around Kansas
Here are some other areas where you can find them along your travels with the locations listed from east to west:

US-59 (Lawrence – Ottawa)

US-75 (Holton – Topeka – US-56)

Manhattan Area (K-18, K-177, US-24)

K-254 (Wichita – El Dorado)

US-54 (Kingsman – Wichita – Augusta – El Dorado) 

US-81 (York, NB / I-80 – NB Border – Concordia – Salina / I-135)

K-96 (South Hutchinson – Wichita – US-54 & 400)

K-61 (Hutchinson – McPherson)

US-50 & 400 (Garden City – Holcomb)

Kansas > Oklahoma > Texas
Bonus: (OK Border – Liberal)
Oklahoma → (Texhoma – Guymon – Tyrone)


Historic Fort Hays Kansas USA

Fort Hays Historic Site Kansas USA
Fort Hays Historic Site Kansas USA

How to get to Hays, Kansas, USA
Via I-70, US-40, and US-183 lies the town of Hays, Kansas, one of the more popular places in the area. Hays and Salina were a big deal when the interstate was first built. If you have noticed when you first approach an interstate, it will have north and south or west and east directions depending on the interstate. With that they will have an important town name in addition to the sign so people know where things are. West of Hays, you will get names of towns on the signs that aren’t even in Kansas such as Limon or Denver in Colorado. East of Hays you will get signs for Salina, Topeka, Kansas City, St. Louis, etc. Based on that information, we can figure that Hays is recognized more than some cities in the state. 

Old Fort Hays Historical Marker
Old Fort Hays Historical Marker

In addition to the interstate and US-183, there is Bypass US-183 that travels around the southwest parts of town, including Fort Hays State University. If you are traveling from East I-70 to South US-183 or from North US-183 to West I-70, this is an excellent way to skip town traffic along Vine Street or US-183. Vine Street is one of the main roads in town with many places to eat. The road actually named “Main Street” takes you through downtown, the library, pool, park, etc. There are also enough businesses north of the interstate to choose from.

Fort Hays Historic Site Kansas USA
Fort Hays Historic Site Kansas USA

Besides Fort Hays State University, you can visit the Sternberg Museum, Old Fort Hays, a golf course, country club, and more parks. My family likes to visit a park east of Main Street and just north of Bypass US-183. There is a playground, picnic areas, and a great view of Big Creek from the bridge going over it. We like the location of Hays mostly because it is a nice halfway point to meet up with family out west. We have many places to stop for food right off the interstate along US-183 north or south. Occasionally, even though it is slightly off track for us, we like taking the bypass so we can check out more of the town and Fort Hays.

Jellison Covered Bridge - Fort Hays University Kansas
Jellison Covered Bridge – Fort Hays University Kansas

Fort Hays State University Kansas

In the southwest part of Hays, there is the university of Fort Hays State. Along Bypass US-183, you can view some of its sports complexes such as the tennis and baseball fields and their basketball stadium. Slightly east, you can find its campus and educational buildings. 

Fort Hays State Kansas
Fort Hays State Kansas

There is a nice bridge otherwise known as the Jellison Bridge. If I had to pick a cool place at the university, this would be a top pick. Looking south from South Campus Road, it is cool to see the length of the bridge over the water and through the trees. This is a route for students to get to and from the Custer, McMindes, and Agnew Halls or the Performing Arts Center and Nursing Departments. 

Jellison Covered Bridge - Fort Hays University Kansas
Jellison (Covered) Bridge – Fort Hays University Kansas

The main campus extends as far north as North Campus Drive, as far east as Elm Street and Lewis Drive, and as far west and south as the Big Creek Trail. Again, all sports complexes however are near Bypass US-183 west of the trail. There are signs that will help guide you to the fields and stadiums. For people living out west, they consider this to be a decent sized and popular college. K-State and Kansas Universities are all located in the east of the state and Wichita State being centrally located south. This is most likely the next best choice after these three public colleges. There are many community colleges you can find in western Kansas towns such as Garden City, Liberal, Dodge City, Colby, Goodland, etc. 

Fort Hays State University Kansas USA
Fort Hays State University Kansas USA
Fort Hays State Kansas
Fort Hays State Kansas

After everything mentioned, for any future college students, the choice is yours. Visitors can tour at times and see its beauty with all of the buildings, trees, and water such as Big Creek in the background of the college. It looks satisfying enough to be a decent university that deserves to be seen by more people. Feel free to stop by and check out the university! It might be the one for you! 


Waconda Lake Kansas

How to get to Waconda Lake, Kansas, USA
Waconda Lake out in north central Kansas is located west of Beloit and east of Downs. There isn’t much at all in the south part of the lake. All of the activities and important parts are up north. The lake extends as far west as Cawker City and as far east as Glen Elder.

Waconda Lake, Kansas, USA.

South of Cawker City, you can take Lake Drive for some scenic views. South of Glen Elder, you can take Glen Elder Dam Road for more scenic viewing. Additionally, even if you are just travelling along US-24 & K-9 north of the lake, it does cut through part of the lake so you can have another decent view looking south.

World's Largest Ball of Twine, Cawker City, Kansas, USA
World’s Largest Ball of Twine, Cawker City, Kansas, USA

Fun Fact: Cawker City, Kansas has the world’s largest ball of twine for any photographers out there!

Glen Elder State Park, Kansas, USA
The town of Glen Elder is a decent town with a view of the lake daily. West of the town is Glen Elder State Park, or the state park used to visit Waconda Lake. Restrooms and showers are nearby the Pawnee, Kanza, Kaw, Arikaree, and Takoda campgrounds and the Glen Elder Marina. US-24 & K-9 is the main route to get to Cawker City and Glen Elder. If you are coming south on K-128, you can just keep on going straight even after its end and it will take you directly to the campgrounds and the state park. Coming west on US-24 & K-9, the turnoff after Glen Elder Dam Road seems to be a more direct way to access the state park. It is an unnamed road south of the highway but north of it, the street is called 190 Road.

Boat Ramp at Waconda Lake, Kansas, USA

Cawker City and Glen Elder are both small towns but are very near Waconda Lake. US-24 & K-9 run through and near these cities which give these towns some more popularity. Since it is closer to Glen Elder, they named the state park after the town and gave its citizens a better view of the town. However, I am a little more familiar with Cawker City since some of my family has lived there before.


Cedar Bluff State Park Kansas

Cedar Bluff Reservoir is a lake out west in the state of Kansas. If you were to look at a map of western Kansas, this is most likely the first lake you would notice from its size. The main way to get there is by taking K-147 via I-70 or K-4. There are also ways to get there from US-283. I like taking this route through the Smoky Valley when I am going south or even north coming from family out west. 

Cedar Bluff State Park Kansas USA
Cedar Bluff State Park Kansas USA

Going east from US-283 or west from K-147 south of the lake takes you to the Cedar Bluff State Park-Shop. It is just another area to visit at the south end of the lake. Traveling on K-147, you can spot a fish hatchery to the east. There is a nice dam and a 14 foot tall bridge over the Smoky Hill River along the way north to Ogallah and I-70 or south to Brownell and K-4.

Sunset on Cedar Bluff Lake Kansas USA
Sunset on Cedar Bluff Lake Kansas USA

However, I recommend going towards the northeast part of the lake where Cedar Bluff State Park is located. This is where my grandparent loved to fish. We go here mainly to remember them and also enjoy the great scenery of the lake. The wood branches coming out of the water really caught my attention for some reason. Maybe I’m not the only one who enjoyed that look so I thought I might mention it. There will be enough restrooms near the campgrounds of the park if you wish to visit. 


El Dorado Lake Kansas

How to get to El Dorado Lake
El Dorado Lake is one of two great big lakes closest to Wichita, Kansas. To the west is Cheney Reservoir which you can get there from Wichita by taking via K-251 from US-54 and US-400.

To the east is the El Dorado Lake which you can get to from Wichita by taking via K-254. US-54 and US-77 also meet up in the town of El Dorado.
K-177 runs on the east side of the lake and I-35 runs through the north part of the lake and even cuts through a part of it. If you look on the map, you can tell that the south and the east part of the lake have more activities since it is more accessible to the two-laned highways. 

El Dorado Lake Kansas USA
El Dorado Lake Kansas USA

Driving via K-177
Driving via K-177, you can visit the Shady Creek Area or the Bluestem Area.

Shady Creek Area
Towards the south you can find the Shady Creek Area by taking Access Road to NE 6th Street. You can find tons of designated camping areas with a boat ramp to use as well as plenty of restrooms. It will be a right turn after the park station unless you want to go to the Shady Creek Sales & Service building. If you are taking Access Road west from the highway and you don’t want to take NE 6th Street to the campgrounds, just continue west to find more excitement by the Walnut River.

Bluestem Area
To the east north of the Shady Creek Area you can find the Bluestem Area that includes some cabins, more campgrounds, and a swim beach. There are many restrooms and showers you can use to clean up, change clothes, etc. Apart from the highway and anywhere east from it the area is surrounded by the lake on both sides. This is in my opinion probably one of the cooler places to visit for the day.