Quivira National Wildlife Refuge, Kansas

Quivira National Wildlife Refuge, Kansas

Photo by Jerry Segraves, Wikimedia Commons

Wetlands and Wildlife Scenic Tour 2 Day RV Itinerary

Image from www.byways.orgPelican Flock at Cheyenne Bottoms Image from www.byways.org

Day 1

Start: Hoisington

Hoisington, the beginning point on the itinerary, is the gateway to Cheyenne Bottoms. Make a stop at the Song Bird Habitat and the Nature Conservancy road side stop. There, a display discusses the birds that can be seen and gives a brief history of Cheyenne Bottoms. A brochure is available for further information.

Stop 1: Cheyenne Bottoms Scenic Overlook

Directions from previous place:     

From the Nature Conservancy road side stop, travel 6.3 miles east on KS-4 to reach the Cheyenne Bottoms overlook site.
Distance from Previous Site:            6.3 miles / 10.1 km
Travel Time from Previous Site:     10 minutes
Suggested Time at This Site:          30 minutes

Starting at the Cheyenne Bottoms Scenic Overlook is the perfect way to get a "birds eye view" of the wetlands. You'll be able to experience the acres of water and vegetation as a whole before you become immersed in the marsh. There are picnic tables here and the view is amazing so bring a thermos of coffee and a morning snack. Get out your binoculars at this stop, too, because the bird and wildlife watching starts here!

Stop 2: Cheyenne Bottoms Wildlife Area

Directions from previous place:     

Continue to follow the byway route markers. Go east on Hwy K-4 for one mile, then turn south on CR 2-30/NE 100 Ave. Go 4.4 miles to Highway K-156. Turn right (south) for approximately two miles. The entrance for Cheyenne Bottoms is on your right.
Distance from Previous Site:            7.4 miles / 11.8 km
Travel Time from Previous Site:     10 minutes
Suggested Time at This Site:            1 hour 15 minutes

Early morning at the Cheyenne Bottoms Wildlife area is magical. Bring your binoculars and plan to pull to the side of the road often to spot birds. This 19,857-acre wetland is a stopover for hundreds of bird species traveling the Central Flyway across North and South America. Every year the refuge hosts bald eagles, whooping cranes, pelicans, ducks, geese, shorebirds, songbirds, birds of prey and many species of mammals and reptiles. Bird watchers have called Cheyenne Bottoms a "paradise."

Stop 3: Greyhound Coursing

Directions from previous place:     

Located at the same place as previous stop.

Suggested Time at This Site:     15 minutes

As you enjoy a birding stop along one of Cheyenne Bottoms unpaved roads, imagine the rustle of silk dresses and the cheering of crowds echoing through the wetland. At Cheyenne Bottoms you are on the spot where the first greyhound coursing match was held in 1886. Coursing was a popular pastime for Victorian gentle folk and Cheyenne Bottoms boasted a very fine grandstand for comfortable viewing and the taking of light refreshments. Man has not always been a friend to this wetland, but as you continue to drive through acres of water and see birds of all types, you will witness the ways that nature has reclaimed the Bottoms.

Stop 4: Kansas Wetlands Interpretive/Educational Center

Directions from previous place:     

The Kansas Wetlands Interpretive/Educational Center will be located on the east side of Highway K-156 adjacent to the Cheyenne Bottoms entrance.
Distance from Previous Site:          0.2 miles / 0.3 km
Travel Time from Previous Site:     3 minutes
Suggested Time at This Site:          1 hour 15 minutes

When the Center opens in Fall 2008, you can stop here for a walk along the boardwalk into the midst of the marsh. The Center will also provide multimedia presentations and exhibits to help you understand the wetlands and their vital importance. You'll also get help with bird identification here and have the chance to take an easy hike on the Cheyenne Bottoms Bird Trail. The trail includes signage identifying birds, plants and animals you might see as you walk. The Center will be a great place to stop, learn and enjoy a spectacular view of Cheyenne Bottoms.

Stop 5: Central Kansas Raptor Rehab Education Facility

Directions from previous place:     

Turn south onto Highway K-156 and continue until you reach the junction of K-156 & K-96 (6 miles). Turn right (east) onto K-156/K-96 toward Great Bend until you reach the junction of K-156 & US Hwy 281/10th Street & Main (3.8 miles). Turn right (north) onto US Hwy 281 for one mile. The Central Kansas Raptor Rehab Education Facility is located at the Brit Spaugh Park at Main & 24th Street in Great Bend.
Distance from Previous Site:          10.8 miles / 17.3 km
Travel Time from Previous Site:     15 minutes
Suggested Time at This Site:            2 hours

Scheduled to open in Fall 2007, the Raptor Rehab Education Center will be located in one of Great Bend's great parks adjacent to the Brit Spaugh Zoo. The Center will feature the rescue, rehabilitation, care, and release of injured raptors. Naturalists will explain the process and the need for rescuing birds of prey. Live bird shows will use teacher birds (birds that can't be released but help to educate the public). Enjoy the bird show, learn about raptors, and take a stroll through the small, impressive zoo. Don't miss the waterfall at the entrance. Take a break for lunch in one of Great Bend's many great restaurants and get ready to wing your way to the southern end of the byway in the afternoon.

End: Great Bend

Overnight lodging is available in Great Bend.

Totals for Day 1
Total Distance Traveled:     24.7 miles / 39.5 km
Total Travel Time:                 38 minutes
Total Stopping Time:              5 hours 15 minutes

Day 2

Stop 1: Corridor Community Sites

Distance from Previous Site:          10 miles / 16.0 km
Travel Time from Previous Site:     20 minutes
Suggested Time at This Site:            4 hours

As you begin your next day, you'll find beautiful, natural scenery and charming small towns with fascinating attractions. Explore Ellinwood's Underground Tunnels, pull off the road for a closer look at a prairie dog community, or visit historical museums in byway communities to understand and experience first hand the history of the area. Of course, there are always chances to shop in quaint antique stores or you can make a stop in Claflin where the 100-year-old local furniture store has literally taken over main street and created old fashioned storefronts to entice visitors to shop their gigantic inventory. Every community along the byway has a history and a connection to nature that makes this drive unique and enchanting.

End: Quivira National Wildlife Refuge

Directions from previous place:     

Use the Kansas Wetlands & Wildlife Scenic Byway map to return to the byway route. Follow the byway route to Quivira National Wildlife Refuge.
Distance from Previous Site:        40 miles / 64.0 km
Travel Time from Previous Site:     1 hour

End your trip at Quivira National Wildlife Refuge. The Visitors Center has interactive exhibits, and a room-sized diorama showing Refuge habitat. Quivira was named after the Quiviran Indians. Sand dunes, century-old cottonwood trees, natural grasses and multiple grains harbor over 500,000 birds during spring and fall migrations. This salt and fresh water marsh attracts pelicans, bald and golden eagles, cranes, shorebirds, ducks, geese and even the rare whooping cranes. There is also a prairie dog town. Many species of mammals and reptiles make their home at the Refuge. Quivira has two easy walking trails, Birdhouse Boulevard and the Migrant's Mile, but birds and wildlife are easily seen from your vehicle or from the patio outside the Visitors Center.

Totals for Day 2
Total Distance Traveled:     50 miles / 80.0 km
Total Travel Time:                 1 hour 20 minutes
Total Stopping Time:            4 hours

Featured content and image from www.byways.org

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