City Escape: Topeka, Kansas

Text: James T. Parks • Photography: James T. Parks

For folks who have the misimpression that Kansas is just one huge flat wheat field, the Flint Hills region is in fact a landscape of subtle beauty and fascinating history. If you’re not from these parts, and even if you are, prepare to be surprised. 


Approximately 220 miles round-trip 

Meet-up Spot

EagleRider, 2047 SW Topeka Blvd, Topeka, KS

Lunch Stop 

Grand Central Hotel & Grill serves American fare, including both steaks and healthier options, in a historic building dating from 1884. Find it at 215 Broadway St, Cottonwood Falls, KS (620) 273-6763,

Scenery 3 out of 5

An ethereal landscape: the rolling tall grasslands that make up the prairie mimic a progression of ocean swells stretching as far as the eye can see.

Difficulty 1 out of 5

Mostly straight with moderate elevation changes, the roads in this region aren’t technically challenging, but keep an eye out for changing weather conditions here in Tornado Alley.

Road conditions 3 out of 5

The roads on the route are all paved and generally in good shape.