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Kansas Waterfalls

Kansas is not known for its waterfalls, but there are a few if you're willing to look.

Butcher Falls:

Trailhead GPS: 37.14644,-96.26813 (Pull off on Road 14)
Waterfall GPS: 37.14726,-96.26821

Butcher Falls is a 14-foot waterfall on Pool Creek in Chautauqua County.  The waterfall is located on private property on Red Buffalo Ranch, but the public is allowed to access.  The hike is very short and easy.

To visit the falls, head west from Sedan on US-166 BUS/KS-99 for about 2 miles and turn left on Kansas Road.  Drive 3 miles and bear right on Road 14.  Pull off on the side near the gate.  Hike past the gate (be sure to keep the gate closed) to the bridge over Pool Creek.  Butcher Falls is just upstream.

Chautauqua Falls:

Trailhead GPS: 37.15087,-96.20637 (Parking at New City Lake)
Waterfall GPS: 37.16849,-96.21701

Chautauqua Falls is a 20-foot waterfall on the spillway of Old City Lake in Chautauqua County.  The waterfall is located in Sedan City Lakes, a public area owned by the City of Sedan.  The hike to the falls is about 4 miles round trip the way we went; I think there's a shorter way, but wasn't sure where to park on public property.

To visit the falls, head west from Sedan on US-166 Bus for 0.7 miles and turn right on Route 18.  Follow this for 1.8 miles to a parking area before the dam.  You can also pick up Route 18 from KS-99 and the parking is in about 1 mile after crossing the dam.

From the parking area, pick up the nature trail and follow the east shore of the lake.  There are a couple of bridges crossing tributaries that can be tricky if they're wet.  There's not much traction and we had to get a running start.  In about 2 miles, as the trail approaches Old City Lake, the waterfall is visible from the trail.  You have to bushwhack to get a good view.  Since it's on the spillway of a lake, best to visit in high water.

Deep Creek Falls:

Trailhead GPS: 39.12897,-96.44061 (Parking on Pillsbury Crossing Lane)
Waterfall GPS: 39.12994,-96.44065

Deep Creek Falls is a 6-foot high, creek-wide waterfall in Riley County.  The waterfall is located in Pillsbury Crossing Wildlife Area near Manhattan.  The hike to the falls is very short and easy.

To visit the falls, head south from Manhattan on KS-177 south for 2 miles and turn left on Deep Creek Road.  Go 6 miles and turn right on Pillsbury Crossing Lane.  The parking area is on the right in 0.1 miles just before the crossing.  The waterfall is just downstream of the crossing.  If you ford the creek on the road, there is an overgrown path on the left that leads to the base of the falls.

Elk Falls:

Trailhead GPS: 37.37369,-96.18411 (End of Montgomery Street)
Waterfall GPS: 37.37420,-96.18479

Elk Falls is a 10-foot waterfall on Elk River in Elk County.  It is located in the town of Elk Falls, which bills itself as the largest living ghost town.  You can view the waterfall from the bridge or climb down for a closer view.

To visit the falls, head west from Independence on US-160 for 34.5 miles to the town of Elk Falls.  Turn left onto 7th Street and then make the first left onto Montgomery Street.  Follow to the end at the bridge.  Note that some navigation systems direct to turn on Route 20 to approach the bridge from the north side, but the road is closed.  From the parking, you can walk onto the bridge to view the waterfall or climb down to river level on either side to get a closer view.

Geary Lake Falls:

Trailhead GPS: 38.90580,-96.86293 (Geary State Fishing Lake Dam Parking Area)
Waterfall GPS: 38.90489,-96.86716

Geary Lake Falls is a 35-foot waterfall on the spillway of Geary State Lake in Geary County.  The waterfall is located in Geary State Fishing Lake & Wildlife Area.  The hike to the falls is about three-quarters of a mile round trip and easy.

To visit the falls from Junction City, take exit 295 on I-70 and get on US-77 south.  Drive 6.6 miles and turn left on gravel State Lake Road.  Go about 0.4 miles and turn left on a rough gravel road that leads to a parking are at the dam.  Hike across the dam to the top of the waterfall.  A path leads down to the base.  As the waterfall is on the spillway of the dam, it can dry up completely and is very sensitive to water level.

Hollow Falls:

Trailhead GPS: 37.12745,-96.18412
Waterfall GPS: 37.12807,-96.18382

Hollow Falls is a small waterfall on a tributary of Middle Caney Creek in Chautauqua County.  The waterfall is located in Hollow Park in the middle of the city of Sedan.  The hike to the falls is very short and easy.

To visit the falls, head into downtown Sedan on US-166 Bus/KS-99, which becomes Main Street.  Go north on Sherman Street and the parking for Hollow Park is on the right, next to the one-room St. Charles Schoolhouse.  A boardwalk starts next to the gazebo and leads to Hollow Falls.

Prather Creek Falls:

Trailhead GPS: 38.37041,-96.58453 (Parking at Chase Lake Dam)
Waterfall GPS: 38.36979,-96.57882

Prather Creek Falls, also called Chase Lake Falls, is a waterfall in three sections on the spillway of Chase State Lake in Chase County.  The waterfall is located in Chase State Fishing Lake & Wildlife Area.  The hike to the falls is about 1 mile round trip and easy.

To visit the falls, head west from Cottonwood Falls on Lake Road for 2 miles.  Turn left into Chase State Fishing Lake and go 0.4 miles to a pull-off on the left after passing the dam.  Hike back to the dam and cross it and go left on the path following the spillway down.  There are three sections to the waterfall, but only the lowest had noticeable water flow on our visit.  I think the middle section would be the nicest in high water.

Swissvale Falls:

Trailhead GPS: 38.83300,-95.58244 (Pull off on E 129th Street)
Waterfall GPS: 38.84042,-95.58221

Swissvale Falls is a 5-foot waterfall on Camp Creek in Osage County.  The waterfall is located along the Landon Nature Trail south of Topeka.  The hike to the falls is about a mile round trip and easy.

To visit the falls, get off I-70 in Topeka at exit 365 for Rice Road and continue for about a mile to turn right on SE Croco Road.  Drive 9.2 miles and turn left on SE 93rd Street.  In just under a mile, turn right on SE Paulen Road.  Go 4.2 miles and turn right on E 125th Street and then left on S Paulen Road.  In half a mile, turn left on E 129th Street and drive 0.9 miles to a bridge over Camp Creek and park after the bridge on the left.

From the pull-off, hike up the road a short ways and turn left on the Landon Nature Trail.  Hike about 0.5 miles to the railroad bridge over Camp Creek.  Turn left and hike upstream a short ways to the waterfall.  The water level was rather low when I visited, so best to visit after heavy rain.