10 Most Popular National Parks In kansas With Camping

national parks in kansas with camping

Do you know that there is 10 national pack in Kansas? If you are, these ten parks provide a wealth of history, with four of them commemorating and celebrating historical events.

I’ll go over ten related sites with historic paths you can visit in this list.

There are many National Historic Sites to explore in Kansas National Parks. In Kansas, there’s also the Sante Fe Trail, the Oregon Trail, the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail, and the Tall Grass Prairie National Preserve, etc.

Have you been to any of Kansas’ fantastic National Park Sites?

In this article, I will share with you 10 most popular national parks in Kansas with camping

If you’re a history geek like me, you’ll enjoy seeing all of the national parks, museums, and historical plaques.

There is enough to see and do if you like to be in nature. Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve is one of Kansas’ National Parks. It’s a magnificent space with kilometers of golden grasses, the last of their type.

10 most popular national parks in Kansas with camping

1. Fort Scott National Historic Site


The Kansas national park, Fort Scott National Historic Site, was established in 1978 to interpret the 1840s era and the role of the US Army on the frontier.

There are 20 historic structures on the property that have been conserved. Eleven of these are original structures, while the rest have been rebuilt on their original foundations.

Fort Scott’s history covers thirty years of American history. Fort Scott was a military station from 1842 to 1853. Its mission was to protect the Indian Permanent Frontier.

Its warriors kept the peace between the arriving European settlers and the American Indian nations. They also fought in the Mexican-American War and monitored overland highways.

In 1853, the fort was abandoned, and the frontier was extended westward. The fort was transformed into a town in 1855 after the structures were sold.

The United States Army re-established a military base in Fort Scott during the Civil War, and many of the fort’s original buildings were used. Fort Scott served as a Union supply base, hospital, recruitment center, and training site during the Civil War.

The site is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Self-guided tours of the buildings with their historical furnishings are available. A short film describing the site’s history, as well as a series of exhibits, are available at the Visitors Center.

The location hosts special events and living history activities throughout the year. A walking trail through the tallgrass prairie is also nearby. This is without a doubt one of my favorite Kansas national parks.

The National Park Service is in charge of the site.

2. Fort Larned National Historic Site

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Fort Larned National Historic Site is 410 acres in Western Kansas, 110 miles northwest of Wichita, and includes restored structures from the 19th century, as well as a U.S. Army Fort.

During the struggle with Plains Indians, traveling through the Great Plains was risky for pioneers, traders, and mail coaches. The United States Army built a number of forts along vital transportation routes to guard and protect the traffic.

Fort Larned was built near the well-traveled Sante Fe Trail, along the Pawnee River. There are currently nine original buildings on the property, with seven of them open to the public for tours.

Built with locally mined stones, some of the building walls are two and a half feet thick. The quartermaster’s storehouse, commissary, hospital, barracks, and officers’ apartments are among the original structures on the site. The onsite blockhouse is a rebuild.

3. Pony Express National Historic Trail


The Pony Express National Historic Trail honors the Pony Express postal route that ran between Missouri and California between 1860 and 1861.

The Pony Express relied on a relay of horseback riders to transport passengers between 186 Pony Express stations that were spaced 5 to 25 miles apart.

Instead of six months, mail took only ten days to travel the United States thanks to the Pony Express. In 1861, the telegraph rendered the Pony Express obsolete after only 18 months.

Pony Express National Historic Trail was designated as a National Historic Trail in 1992, and it is now a national park in Kansas. It begins in Missouri and ends in California, passing through Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, and Nevada.

Some of the trail’s sections are ideal for hiking or riding. A number of shops and museums dedicated to the Pony Express are also worth visiting.

4. Brown vs. Board of Education National Historic Site


This monument was pivotal in the civil rights movement in the United States. The location, which spans two acres, is the former Monroe Elementary School in Topeka, Kansas, which was originally a public school solely for African-American kids in Topeka.

In the case of Oliver Brown Et Al vs. The Board of Education of Topeka et al, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously in 1954 that racial segregation in schools violated the principles of “equal protection guaranteed by the 14th amendment of the United States Constitution.”

This ruling signaled the end of legal racial segregation in Topeka public schools and the start of desegregation in all US schools.

There are various galleries on the site with interesting exhibitions, as well as a temporary show. You can also take a self-guided tour of the historic Monroe School.

Brown v. Board of Education is a landmark case in education law. On October 26, 1992, the Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site was created as a national park in Kansas and was opened to the public in 2004, on the 50th anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education decision.

The site is open every day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and admission is free. The National Park Service is in charge of it.

5. Nicodemus National Historic Site

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On Highway 24, between Hill City and Webster Lake, roughly 110 miles from Salina, Kansas, Nicodemus National Historic Site is located. The park is open all year and covers 161 acres.

Nicodemus, founded in 1877, is the only town west of the Mississippi River that was built and occupied by African Americans towards the conclusion of Reconstruction. Even descendants of the town’s first black residents live in the area.

In 1996, Kansas designated the town as a national park to honor and memorialize the area’s history.

First Baptist Church, A.M.E. Church, St. Francis Hotel, Nicodemus School District #1, and Township Hall are among the five historic structures on the property.

The Township Hall also houses a visitor center. It consists of a single public building. Orientation videos and interpretive displays are available from the park rangers.

The National Park Service manages this location.

6. Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve


Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve is an 85-mile drive from Wichita, Kansas, a national park. It is over 11,000 acres in size.

Until a generation ago, the tallgrass prairie covered approximately 170 million acres of land in North America. The majority of it had been turned into agriculture. Only around 4% of the land is still intact, and it’s largely in Kansas’ Flint Hills.

The National Park Service administers and manages Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve, which was formed in 1996 as a cooperation between private landowners and the federal government.

The site was created to preserve and interpret the fragile grassland environment as well as the history of this region of Kansas. It is one of Kansas’ best national parks.

The park contains around 40 miles of hiking paths, some of which are quite easy and others which are backcountry difficult. White-tailed deer, coyotes, badgers, and bobcats can all be seen.

The National Area Service and the Nature Conservancy collaborated in 2009 to successfully reintroduce a herd of bison to the park. Windmill Pasture is now home to the animals, who are thriving.

The site is open all year. Bus trips, educational tours, hiking paths, and wildlife viewing are all available to visitors.

Kansas-related websites

Associated Sites of Kansas is a collection of five national historic trails that traverse through Kansas and are included in the list of national parks in Kansas.

A National Historic Trail is a long-distance route that recognizes and follows a historic journey that shaped the history and character of the United States.

The routes, which are now controlled and protected as national parks, allow tourists to walk along historic trails, visit surviving landmarks and sites, and learn about the intriguing stories they tell.

7. California National Historic Trail

The California National Historic Trail stretches approximately 5,000 miles through ten states, including Kansas. The trail follows the paths taken by over 250,000 emigrants in the 1840s and 1850s on their way to California’s bountiful farmlands and goldfields.

The California Trail is a collection of hiking trails rather than a single trail. It consists of a network of hiking paths, small and major roadways, and historical landmarks. Many US roadways have been constructed to follow the wagon track created by the pioneers on their way to California.

The California National Historic Trail can be enjoyed via car touring, hiking, biking, or horseback riding trail segments, as well as visiting interpretive sites and museums along the way.

The park, which has been administered by the National Park Service since 1992, does not have any camping facilities along the trail.

8. Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail


The Meriwether Lewis and William Clark Expedition traveled across the emerging western territory of the United States, and the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail follows in their footsteps. In Kansas, it is a national park.

The trail is approximately 4,900 miles (7,900 kilometers) long. It spans from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to Astoria, Oregon, near the Columbia River.

The Trail passes through 16 states and tribal territories (Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, South Dakota, North Dakota, Montana, Idaho, Washington, and Oregon).

The journey began in May 1804 and ended in September 1806. The mission of the explorers was to claim these regions for the United States and prevent European expansion.

The trip was a huge success because it made it all the way to the Pacific coast. The explorers compiled a catalog of the many different landscapes, plants, and animals they saw. They formed bonds with the many native tribes they encountered along the trip.

The path has over 100 stops and covers land, vehicle, and water routes. Visitors can hike and bike along the trail’s portions, as well as visit other historic monuments and places along the way.

The National Park Service manages the national historic path, which was designated on November 10, 1978.

9. Oregon National Historic Trail

The Oregon National Historic Trail traces the 2,170-mile route traveled by over 400000 emigrants in covered wagons looking for bountiful land in the west. It provided a link between the Missouri River and Oregon’s lowlands.

The Oregon Trail ran through what is now Kansas, Nebraska, and Wyoming on its way east. In Kansas, the trail leads to a national park.

There are no well-marked hiking trails on the Oregon National Historic Trail. It runs through towns, cities, public lands, and the wild. Many sections of the path are off-limits to the public. While the National Park Service manages the trail, passing through private land requires permission from the landowners.

Fort Laramie National Historic Site, Scotts Bluff National Monument, Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument, and Fort Vancouver National Historic Site are among the national parks that the trail travels through.

The trail crosses Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Wyoming, Idaho, Washington, and Oregon today. Although it is mostly an autoroute, many stretches offer excellent hiking and animal viewing opportunities, as well as different and fascinating vistas.

Many museums, churches, historic buildings, and pieces of the original trail are worth seeing along the journey.

10. Santa Fe National Historic Trail


The Santa Fe Trail recalls a 19th-century commercial roadway that ran through central North America until the train arrived in Santa Fe in 1880.

Franklin, Missouri, and Santa Fe, New Mexico were connected by this route. The route was founded in 1822 to promote active trade between Mexico and the United States.

Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Colorado, and New Mexico are all part of the trail. The original route is roughly followed by a freeway.

In Kansas, the path splits into the Mountain Route, which travels west into Colorado before turning south, and the Cimarron Cutoff, which travels through the Cimarron Desert.

Many locations along the trail are worth visiting to learn more about the trail and the region’s history. A Cimarron National Grassland in Kansas, a lovely natural environment rich in plant and animal life, is a great place to stop.

National parks in Kansas with camping

Kansas’ national parks offer a wonderful blend of history and environment. They are well-maintained and, in most cases, free to see, and they provide a view of the growth and changes in the area that influenced the rest of the country.

It’s inspiring to view the sights and roads our forefathers traversed in search of a better life, battling nature, animals, and indigenous peoples.

To round it up, below are the 10 most popular National parks in Kansas with camping

  • Fort Scott National Historic Site
  • Fort Larned National Historic Site
  • Pony Express National Historic Trail
  • Brown vs. Board of Education National Historic Site
  • Nicodemus National Historic Site
  • Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve
  • California National Historic Trail
  • Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail
  • Oregon National Historic Trail
  • Santa Fe National Historic Trail

Neighboring National Parks States in the State

Nebraska National Parks

Missouri National Parks

Oklahoma National Parks

Colorado National Parks

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Stephanie Heitman

Stephanie is the managing editor of the LOCALiQ blog. She Travels a lot and also shares her travel photos on this site. Also, she regularly publishes content about holiday destinations where she'd like to go, but where we haven’t been yet., she enjoys watching reality TV with her husband and their two pups

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