Frontier Trails of Kansas

19th Century Kansas Trails

19th Century Kansas Trails. Click to see large map at Kansas Department of Transportation.


Santa Fe Trail outside of Baldwin City, Kansas

Santa Fe Trail outside of Baldwin City, Kansas

Kansas probably has more frontier trails than any other state, being the jumping-off point during westward expansion. In addition to the emigrant trails to the west, including the Oregon, California, and Santa Fe Trails, the Sunflower State also provided a number of military trails which connected the many Old West Forts in the state, as well as cattle trails, such as The Chisholm Trail and the Dodge City and Ellsworth Cattle Trails. Old stage routes include the Smoky Hill Trail and the Cannon Ball Stagecoach Road. Along with these, there are several old explorer routes including that of Lewis & Clark, Zebulon Pike, and Nathanial Boone.

Beyond the Old West, a short peek of Route 66 can also be seen in Kansas.

Get off I-70 and enjoy the history of Kansas‘ many old trails, and explore historic forts, old stagecoach stations, ghost towns, and a lot more along the way.


© Kathy Weiser/Legends of Kansas, updated April 2021.

Also See:

Indian Battles in Kansas

Kansas – The Sunflower State

Kansas Photo Galleries

Legends of Kansas, where the history of the Sunflower State is explored in-depth.

Tales & Trails of the American Frontier

1 thought on “Frontier Trails of Kansas”

  1. Have you ever heard of “Swanson Swells”? It was posted on Facebook this morning on Kansas Geeks site. This site is NW of Hutchinson(which I was born and raised at), south of highway 56, which could be in Rice county. They said it was Wagon trail ruts. If my mother ever knew of this site, she would have us out there with it. She was an American History teacher at HHS until 1980.

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