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 several 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 are several old explorer routes, including that of Lewis & Clark, Zebulon Pike, and Nathanial Boone.

Beyond the Old West, a short peek at 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 Alexander/Legends of America, updated January 2023.

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