Indian Rock Nature Trails has a lot to offer for short trail. Everything from steep slopes, huge rocks, trees, lake and a beautiful view overlooking Salina. Great place to chill and take beautiful photos of Sunsets.
Indian Rock is located right by the Smoky Hill River. There are spots from the Indian Rock where you can see the Smoky Hill River channel blasted out by the Corp of Engineers. The Corp of Engineers built a levee around the City of Salina for flood control. This has resulted in couple of small waterfalls on the River.
Bill Burke Park Salina Kansas
You can also access Indian Rock from the adjacent Bill Burke Sports Complex. There are walking and biking trails right along the Smoky Hill River that connects the park the levee system. You can walk along the levee all around Salina. You can walk South to the Soccer fields South of town and beyond. You can walk North past the old Marymount College as well.
The Old Smoky Hill River Channel separating Bill Burke Park from Indian Rock Park. City of Salina has a water well located right where the new Smoky Hill Channel meets the old.
Four Lane HighwayLinks 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.
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.
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.
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.
Here are some places you can go to while you are visiting Salina, Kansas:
Kenwood Cove. This water park is around the center of town and next door to the Tony’s Pizza Events Center. Since it is outdoors, it is only open during the summer.
The Alley. This is not just for bowling. There is also an arcade center, laser tag, sports grill, billiard tables, etc. It just opened recently and is near the Fieldhouse and the library on the northwest side of town.
Sky Trampoline Park. As you would expect, the place is full of trampolines! Purely for entertainment, the place is on the west side of town on Ninth Street.
The City. Mostly for teens, the place is full of games! You can do a number of things there. You can find it downtown just south of the library.
Tony’s Pizza Events Center. This is where a number of things happen. There will be events every once a while here. The events center is next to Kenwood Cove or west of Ohio Street.
Salina Public Library. The county building is on the south part, the library on the north part. Feel free to check out books or even play games on the computers if you feel like it if you have a card. It is south of Elm Street and east of Ninth Street.
SALINA YMCA. If you go to the center of town just south of Kenwood Cove, the YMCA is a place to workout. If you live closeby, it will be worth it to get a membership there if you would like.
Salina Municipal Golf Course. If you are a golfer who lives closeby, this is where the city golf courses are located. It is on the very east side of town south of Crawford Street and west of Markley Road.
Salina Fieldhouse. Next to the Alley in downtown Salina, you can do a number of sports. It also opened fairly recently, so go check it out for yourself!
GreatLIFE Golf & Fitness. If you have membership with GreatLIFE club, it’s another place to play golf, use the gym/physical fitness center, and go swimming in the summer. In the southeast part of the city, it is located right at the south end of Marymount Road.
What are you waiting for? There are so many options to choose from. For more info visit Saline.Com. Please feel free to do any of these activities in town!
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.
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)
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.
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.
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.
Kanopolis Lake is located west of Salina and Lindsborg, and east of Ellsworth and the town of Kanopolis. You can get here via K-141. Take K-140 or K-4 to get to this highway.
Up north you can find more campgrounds and hiking grounds to take. For the people wanting to ride a boat, a way to do it is going to the Buzzard Bay Boat Ramp. My youth group took me here once and it was pretty interesting. We went hiking, and then made a campfire to cook hotdogs and smores. There is one public swimming beach along Beach Road. The best way to get here is by taking Vendago Road west. It splits into Horsethief Road and Beach Road and you can navigate from there depending on your desired destination.
Down south include more campgrounds, but most importantly, in my opinion, a better beach for swimming. There are showers and restrooms nearby. There are also some included up north for the activities up there. The way to get there is by taking Langley Point Road.
On the other side of the highway, the same road is called Riverside Drive. This is how you get to the outlet which requires another left turn. This is where the Smoky Hill River comes back from the lake and meets Sand Creek. Last time I went here, I saw people swimming, so I assume you can swim as well. There are restrooms in the same area. Or if you don’t like the water, it is a good place to take pictures.
If you are traveling out west to Colorado or east to Missouri through Kansas via I-70, there are some towns you can stop at along the way to your destination. More specifically, I shall give some suggestions that have enough variety.for you. I will list the exit numbers, the town, and some reasoning. It is up to you which place is more convenient according to the pace of your travel. From Kansas City to Topeka is the Kansas Turnpike that I will talk about in the future.
Topeka (KS Capital City) (Exits 355-366) It is expected to be a big city and it is. The west part of I-470 is not a toll road unlike the east part once it meets up with I-335. I feel there are many more options in this part of the city that are much closer to the road. If you want to keep traveling through, you can take your pick which way to go. You can see more downtown on I-70 and I-470 bypasses most of it. If you don’t mind the toll you can get on ahead of time taking I-470 east.
Junction City (Exits 295-300) From Topeka to Junction City there really aren’t a lot of places to go that are right close by. You can find some but they might not have what you are looking for. Junction City has plenty of good options. If you so happened to check out K-State University before heading here, just take K-18 to make your way to Junction City and the interstate. Fort Riley is east of the town right between the K-18 exit and the main town. We normally take exits 296 & 298 for food whenever we travel in that direction. Check out Milford Lake!
Abilene (Exit 275) Exit 272 has a Love’s Travel Shop you can stop at to get gas and a few snacks. The main road is at Exit 275 where it meets up with K-15 and is most likely where you want to stop if you stop at all here. Most options are south, but there are a couple north from it. You can learn more about Eisenhower if you go to the south part of town taking K-15 if you wish.
Salina (Exits 250-253) It seems like a small town at first, but there are many more options by taking I-135 south at Exit 250. There you find a much bigger looking city, so you should be able to find the maximum amount of options this way. However, if you wish to stay near the interstate, take Exit 252 to K-143. Going south into town takes some time but connects to downtown. Up north is the quickest solution for rushed travelers. The travel store might be a convenient short stop on the north side of the road. Check out the Rolling Hills Zoo!
Russell (Exits 184 & 189) There are more smaller towns along the way, but don’t have too many places that are familiar to most people. However, if this is something that interests you, there is Wilson (Wilson Lake), Dorrance, and Bunker Hill for example. The town of Russell is a bit bigger and will have more options than the ones along the way. Just take north US-281 at Exit 184 or the main exit or take Business US-40 at Exit 189.
Hays (Exits 157 & 159) This is considered a major city in this part of the state. Be more than happy to take Exit 159 to get on US-183 and travel either direction north or south. Going south gives you more options, but there are also a number of places on the north side. Or if you care to take Exit 157 for Bypass US-183, you can go by Fort Hays State University and the west part of town. This is what I like to do occasionally when I’m travelling west.
WaKeeney (Exits 127 & 128) Traveling west from Hays, you could stop at Ellis at Exit 145, but WaKeeney in my opinion is a better choice if you have already stopped in Hays. South of the interstate on US-283 is a travelstore connected to a McDonald’s with a drive-thru. This is probably the best place to stop in WaKeeney. It is pretty easy to spot right to the side of both roads and we usually stop here most of the time when we travel.
Oakley (Exit 70 & 76) What exit you take can depend on your direction of travel. Both exits are good because they both have good rest stops and gas stations to get gas and a short snack. You can take Exit 70 for US-83 and Exit 76 for US-40. Exit 76 has a big gas station with multiple places to go. However, Exit 70 takes you to Buffalo Bill Cultural Center and also has a Cenex with a restaurant next door. You could even take both roads instead of the interstate if you were really curious about the town of Oakley.
Colby (Exits 53 & 54) The main exit would be Exit 53 since it connects with K-25. It is one of the main roads of the town. Just travel up north and find something there. Whenever we would travel west, we would stop here before heading to Colorado to get to somewhere like Denver. We just always found something there like the McDonald’s close by the interstate.
Goodland (Exits 17 & 19) West of Colby, US-24 joins the ride, you pass by Brewster followed by the time zone change. An hour behind is Goodland. Exit 19 leads to Bypass US-24 which comes back with K-27 at Exit 17. This is the main exit to get something to go in my opinion. This is really the last big stop before the state line. Kanorado at Exit 1 is the last town in Kansas and it is a pretty small one. Then you shall make your entrance into Colorful Colorado and the Rocky Mountains. Burlington is the first available stop in Colorado 13 miles west from the state line. We also like to stop here sometimes.
Rest Areas There are many located along the interstate if you want to use the restroom or just stop driving for a bit. This is not including the toll road. Here is roughly where they are at based on mile markers: 336, 309, 265, 224, 187, 132, 96, 48, 9. These are what I can find and remember. If you are coming east from Colorado the rest area at around mile 9 is a welcome center for anyone new coming through the state.
Driving through Kansas via I-35 or I-135 or US-81 If you are traveling through Kansas via I-35 or 135, there are some towns you can stop at along the way to your destination. More specifically, I shall give some suggestions that have enough variety.for you. I will list the exit numbers, the town, and some reasoning. It is up to you which place is more convenient according to the pace of your travel. I-135 is a non-toll road. Almost all of I-35 in Kansas is toll road except from Kansas City to Emporia. The Kansas Turnpike is something that I will talk about in the future.
Emporia to Kansas City via I-35 There are a few cities between Emporia and Kansas City on I-35: Lebo, WIlliamsburg, Ottawa, Wellsville, Edgerton, Gardner, and then you enter the Kansas City suberbs. If I were to stop anywhere on the way to Kansas City or Emporia, I would probably choose Ottawa since it is bigger and has more ways to get there. Therefore, you should find somewhere to stop if you choose to stop here along the way to either major town.
Driving North to I-80 via I-135 and US-81 I-135 runs from Wichita to Salina. It is very helpful when traveling north from places such as Wichita or Oklahoma when getting to Nebraska for example.
Past Salina, US-81 is a two-laned road all the way to York, Nebraska where it meets I-80. Looking on the flip side of things, it is useful for people in places such as Nebraska and Kansas to connect directly with I-35 to get to Oklahoma and even Texas.
Summary In summary, I-35 travels from Texas and Oklahoma and then makes a slant starting from Wichita towards Missouri, Iowa, and Minnesota. I-135 and US-81 from Wichita through Salina to I-80 in Nebraska create a fast and convenient route through central Kansas and Nebraska and help travelers trying to stay in the center part of the northern states have an easier time getting there. Now where to stop on I-135? Here are some suggestions that I have for you:
Wichita (Exits 1-11) As you can tell there are many places to get off in Wichita. You can check out Wichita State or take a plane from Wichita to either Dallas or Chicago and go just about anywhere from there. It is known as the air capital of the world. If you are just passing through, Kellogg (US-54 & US-400) has more potential as well as K-96.
Park City (Exits 13-16) If you don’t like to feel so crowded in Wichita, you can stop just north of it in Park City. We tend to stop here a time or two on the way back to Salina. There are a lot of places to stop even here if you want. Exit 14 is probably a good exit.
Newton (Exits 30-34) The main exit is most like Exit 31. It actually has more than one road you can turn on and has a few places off to the sides of the road. The north part of town is at Exit 34 where it connects to K-15. Exit 30 connects with K-15 & US-50 to get to the south part of town.
Hesston (Exit 40) Not the biggest town, but if you continue, you will have to go about another 20 miles for another good stop. Probably a good place to stop between Newton and McPherson. Exit 40 is the only way from interstate into town. We don’t stop here too often, but it is somewhere we can go just in case we need it.
McPherson (Exits 58 & 60) Exit 60 is the main exit where it connects to US-56 and Business US-81. Business US-81 going south goes through downtown, joins with K-61 from Hutchinson, and intersects with I-135 at Exit 58. Going west from the interstate, there are many places off US-56 you can stop for food, gas, or a restroom break. Continuing west you can find the downtown if it interests you.
Salina (Exits 88-95) This is where you really get to see the length of Salina going from north to south. You can’t see too much from I-70 since it just gets by the north part of the town. Exit 88 is the outskirts of town and then Exits 89 and 90 get you to the south part of town. Those two exits long with Exit 92 is where I recommend you stop if you stop here at all. After that, it is just a few miles north to I-70. From there, you can go west, east, or north on US-81 to Concordia and beyond.
Rest Areas There are only a few on I-135 & I-35 that are not on a toll road. Based on mile markers, there are two around 24 and 68 on I-135 and one around 175 on I-35. All other rest areas on I-35 in this state are on the Kansas Turnpike.
The state of Kansas has a lot to offer. Out of the 48 contiguous states, this state is right in the center. More technically speaking, the most northern tip of the state is the actual geographical center of the states (Alaska and Hawaii not included).
Kansas City Even though it may seem like the biggest in the state, the majority of the city is on the Missouri side. The city combined with other suburbs is one of the biggest cities in the region. Don’t forget to stop by for some BBQ!
Lawrence Kansas University resides in this town. It is also not far from two major cities, Topeka and Kansas City. If you are a Jayhawk fan, this is where you come for all of the home games!
Wichita According to the population, this is the biggest city in Kansas. Wichita State University is where all of the shockers come for home games! The air capital of the world has made a newer airport, Wichita Dwight D. Eisenhower National Airport; fly through here if you wish.
Hutchinson This is one of the bigger cities on the western side of the state. The Cosmosphere there is a place you can go to study more about space. There is even an underground salt museum you can go to.
Manhattan Kansas State University resides in this town. If you come to watch any sport, football is what the Kansas State Wildcats are all about. The city is also scenic; it is surrounded by many hills around on the outside and the two main roads from I-70 are good roads you can take to get there
Hays Home of Fort Hays State University. You can go here for college if you live in the western part of the state so you don’t have to travel as far east to get to KU, KSU, or WSU. You can also go see the Sternberg Museum of Natural History here.
Liberal This city is found right next to the Oklahoma border in southwest Kansas. You can get here via US-83 or US-54, which are both major highways. Dorthy’s House is a popular place you can go to here.
Dodge City Another look at southwest Kansas! This place is known for being a frontier cow town founded back in 1871 aka Fort Dodge. You should stop by to visit the Boot Hill Museum while on your way to your destination.
Pittsburg This city is close by the Missouri border in southeast Kansas and is only thirty miles away from Joplin. You can get here via US- 69 or US- 160. You could visit Miner’s Memorial or Veterans Memorial Amphitheater Museum during your travels.
Emporia I-35 and I-335 meet at this point. You can travel north to Topeka, east to Kansas City, or south to Wichita using these interstates. Emporia State University is an option for college to the high school graduates or if you want to watch an event or explore the place.
Coffeyville This city is found in southeast Kansas right next to the Oklahoma border. You can get here via US-166 or US- 169. Dalton Defenders and Coffeyville History as well as Brown Mansion are some places to visit here.
Elkhart This city is next to both Oklahoma and Colorado state borders. Elkhart is known as the Cornerstone of Kansas since it is just about as southwest as you can get in Kansas without entering another state. Wide open spaces! You can learn more about Cimarron National Grassland if you visit the museum there.
We are the kind of travelers who like to really explore each place and find the best places to visit. Maybe it’s the place with the best views for great photos, or maybe it’s the place that’s the most fun. Or maybe you need to know where to get the best deal on souvenirs. For each place that we have visited or will be visiting, we will give you our best advice. We hope that your family will enjoy your trips as much as we have. We hope that our tips will help you have a more successful trip with your family.
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