WEST KANSAS TOPOGRAPHY
Mt. Sunflower is the high point of Kansas, hence the name Mt. "Sunflower" since Kansas is the "Sunflower State". What Kansas is not is a mountain state. I do believe that state high points should count as summits, as long as there is a reasonable hill with a view from the top. Kansas is a flat state however, and not very exciting to drive through, except for the Central Kansas hill country. Mt. Sunflower is in extreme Western Kansas (near the Colorado border) in Wallace County, and is actually a hill, with a nice view. It is probably not much more than 50 feet up from the beginning of the trailhead to the top.
It is certainly a high point in the area because the wind was pretty substantial blowing in my face, coming down directly from the summit. In fact, Kansas is certainly not the flattest state highpoint (DE, FL, IN, IA, and RI are all flatter). The Kansas highpoint is actually high enough to have an unobscured view of the surrounding areas, so that a person can see for miles and miles.
Getting ThereThe summit is 38 miles from I-70. To get there, take exit 17 in Goodland Kansas, which is route 27 South (speed limit of 65). 17 miles later, there is a sign to Mt. Sunflower. Take a right onto a dirt road. The road goes about 15 miles to another sign to the mountain. 6 miles later there is another dirt road that says, "1 mile to Mt. Sunflower." I took that and parked at the base of the hill leading to the summit sign. From the base of the hill, it is about a half mile to the metal sunflower that marks the highpoint. There is a summit register.
HighpointingSome may ask why anyone would want to travel to this remote area of the country. Mount Sunflower certainly does not provide the best Kansas has to offer, but highpointing takes you places you would never think of going. Like a unique tour of America that few get to experience. Mount Sunflower is one of the few flatland highpoints, but it is accessible from I-70, a highway that goes from Baltimore to Central Utah, and is used by many to drive cross-country. For more information on highpointing, check out the Highpointers Club.
Red TapeThere are no permits, just drive there, park on the dirt road, and hike the last half mile to the summit. Remember that Mount Sunflower is on private land, so be respectful.
When To ClimbClimb any time of year, but remember that in the winter you may face a snowstorm and the dirt roads can get especially nasty in cold weather.
Welcome to Kansas!
- Goodland, Kansas
Weather in Goodland, Kansas
- Is Kansas Flatter than a pancake?
Although Kansas has hills and even rock formations within state boundaries, much of the state is very flat, with few perturbations that would result in any part of the land rising noticeably above the surrounding area. Kansas rises to over 4,000 feet at its highest point, but it is all gradual. Check out the site.
- Kansas rock formations
Kansas is flat, but odd chalk rocks reside on the Western Kansas landscape. Check out this page to learn more about these areas.