Where to Go to Enjoy Time Outside in Trego County

Looking for something safe to do with your kids during this unexpected school closure and Spring Break? Trego County has many sites and landmarks that are great places to learn and play outdoors!

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Hiking and Fishing at Cedar Bluff State Park & Reservoir

Cedar Bluff State Park & Reservoir is continuing to rise and it’s currently at the highest point it’s been in years! State Park officials have turned on the water to the Despatch and Hoonii Campgrounds. The North bathhouse (located by the rental cabins) is open for public use.

Your child will be thrilled when they hook a fish at Pa’s Pond. Located in the Bluffton Area on the North Shore, this is a stocked pond with shade trees that are perfect for a picnic when the weather is nice.

The Cedar Bluff Office is closed to public access at this time and staff will be available by phone. We encourage everyone to use the HuntFish KS and Campit KS apps to purchase all your privileges and reservations prior to visiting the park.


Let your kids run off extra energy at Cedar Bluff State Park’s 5-mile Agave Ridge Nature Trail. The first mile is paved and an easy walk for everyone. Interpretive signs of flora and fauna in the area. The next four miles is a mowed trail that leads to a beautiful view of the 100-ft. bluffs that gives the park its name. This is a more difficult trail for ambitious hikers. Spring is the perfect time to see the blooming flowers and playful animals enjoying the warm weather and this is a great trail to view them.

The Agave Ridge Trail is accessed through the Page Creek Area on the South Shore of Cedar Bluff State Park and is managed on Wildlife Area lands; vehicle permits are required to access the trail head.

NOTE: The bridge over the Cedar Bluff Reservoir spillway is currently under construction on K-147 until August 2020. The road is closed for 1.8 miles, but the rest of the highway is open to travelers. KDOT has created a 60-mile detour around the lake. For a shorter detour, take one of Trego County’s scenic country roads, such as TR CO U or X. Just Make sure road conditions are good, especially after wet weather.

To get to the North Shore: Access to all the north side landmarks can be reached as usual from I-70 at the Ogallah exit traveling south on K-147. (Emanuel Lutheran Church, the Bluffton Campground, Cedar Bluff State Park’s office, Threshing Machine Canyon, and the BOD Marker) 

To Get to the South Shore: Access the South Shore by traveling north on K-147 from Hwy 4 at Brownell. (Page Creek Campground, Agave Ridge Hiking Trail, and the Scenic Bluff Overlook)

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Paleontology on the Prairie

Science class is right under your feet at Castle Rock, the Badlands. Go fossil hunting for sharks’ teeth that date back millions of years to when the Great Inland Sea divided the North America continent in half.

Your kids can imagine the giant prehistoric fish that once lived in the rock’s nooks and crannies and swam right above their heads. The geological features of the Kansas prairie are also a perfect example of how water and wind affect rocks over millions of years.

A Wildlife Safari

Bring your binoculars with you to catch a glimpse of a few of our wild neighbors. White tail and mule deer, coyotes, jackrabbits, and a prairie songbirds, like meadowlarks and red winged blackbirds, fill our prairie. Early morning is the best time to see these animals but beware of rattlesnakes in the rocky areas where they may be sunning themselves.

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Smoky Valley Scenic Byway

The stories of our ancestors come to life at historical landmarks along the Smoky Valley Scenic Byway. Look for one of the Butterfield Overland Despatch (B.O.D.) limestone posts along Hwy. 147 south of Cedar Bluff State Park’s Bluffton Area. It’s just one several markers placed along the historic Smoky Hill Trail in the 1960s to map out the route early pioneers used to travel to the Colorado gold mines over 100 years ago.

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The Wilcox School

Visit one of the last remaining rural schoolhouses in Trego County, Wilcox School. It’s a great opportunity to point out how different students experienced school over a hundred years ago. To get to the school travel 15-miles south on Hwy. 283 south of WaKeeney. Several interpretive panels in the windows tell how the school was used 1886 to the present day and one panel will help you learn more about the native wildflowers found along the byway during the growing season.

Stop at the Smoky Valley Scenic Byway’s informational kiosks located along Hwy. 283 and WaKeeney’s Eisenhower Park at Exit 127 for more lessons on the history and environment of our county and city.

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History and Fun at WaKeeney’s City Parks

WaKeeney is home to great parks and playgrounds. Let them run free on the vast lawn of the Courthouse Square in Downtown WaKeeney.

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Plan a picnic at the Swimming Pool Park. With playground equipment for all ages and covered shelters, families can spend hours at the park without running out of things to do.

Eisenhower Park

City Landmarks

WaKeeney is home to several war memorials that illustrate America’s role in conflicts around the globe and the sacrifices made by the men and women of our military.

Iwo Jima Memorial

You’ll find the Iwo Jima Memorial at I-70’s east Exit #128, an F-14 jet at Eisenhower Park, a Veterans of Foreign Wars Memorial at Courthouse Square, and the KansasVeteran’s Cemetery one mile north of the Iwo Jima memorial on Hwy. 283.

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 Time Out for Parents at Big Creek Golf Course

Spend time teach your kids the game of golf at Big Creek Golf Course. The nine-hole course is arolling prairie with native Buffalo grass fairways and lush, watered greens. With a yardage of 6251, a slope of 122 and a rating of 69.6, you’ll have the opportunity to send that ball sailing in an arc across the big, beautiful prairie sky.

More Ideas

There are even more ways to enjoy time outside in Trego County!

TJH Kay has put together a “Social Distancing Scavenger Hunt” for March 25-April 15. The “Pillars of Education” theme encourages the community to display things in their windows that correspond with the topic of the week. Kids can find them when they are out on walks and enter weekly to win the Family Prize Pack by texting (785) 769-3297 or posting a picture of your participation on KAY Sponsor Stacie Edgett Minson’s Facebook page. (Check out the flyer above for ideas to place in your window.)

Take your little ones on a “Bear Hunt” through town. Several of our citizens have placed teddy bears in the windows of their homes for kids to look for as they pass by. Check out the Facebook page dedicated to the event for more information.

Geocaching is a great way to explore the outdoors through a challenging game and give your kids a lesson about how to use coordinates to locate landmarks.

Anyone who’s attended TCHS knows the glory of “dragging Main,” so let’s crank up the tunes and do it again! Drag Main – WaKeeney! Let’s Do It Again! will be held Saturday, March 28that 8pm. There will be a box on the corner of First Federal for anyone who would like to donate non-perishable items to family food boxes. This is a repeat of an earlier event that saw great success, with over 70 cars and 124 canned goods and other items donated to our friends in need. Check out their Facebook page for more information.

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Family Memories

While it’s important to social distance ourselves at this time, you don’t have to stay indoors. Get out and make some memories with your kids! You’ll find many activities and learning opportunities right outside your door in Trego County.


Kansas Rocks! A Spring Break “Staycation” in Western Kansas

Whether you wear cowboy boots or hiking boots, you don’t have to go far for a memorable and affordable Spring Break. Plan a “staycation” in Trego, Gove, Logan, and Scott counties and you’ll find out that Kansas Rocks!

Here are a few of family-friendly spots to consider when planning your day trip or overnight stay in WaKeeney. (A $5 vehicle permit that will allow access into both Cedar Bluff and Lake Scott State Parks, as well as all other state parks in Kansas.)


Cedar Bluff Overlook

Start your day watching the famous Kansas sunrise from the top of the 100-ft. limestone cliffs at Cedar Bluff Reservoir! Grab a coffee in WaKeeney then head out to the lake where prairie songbirds are waking up and greeting their neighbors. We’ve had an abundance of rain this year and the south shore provides a spectacular view of the lake and the wildlife who live in the park.

To get to Cedar Bluff Scenic Overlook take I-70 to Exit #127 at WaKeeney and turn south. Travel 18-miles south on Hwy 283, then turn east on Trego County AA Rd. Proceed east for 4 miles, north on Trego County 290 and follow the signs.This area of the park is free to the public.


Castle Rock & its Badlands

Just west of Trego’s county line is Castle Rock and its Badlands. This geological feature is evidence of Western Kansas’s prehistoric past as the shoreline of the Western Interior Seaway… Fossils can still be found in the limestone rock formations and many short trails that wind through the Castle Rock and the Badlands.

To get toCastle Rock and the Badlandstake I-70 Exit #115 at Collyer, turn south and travel12.4 miles south on Banner Rd. Then, turn west and travel 2.8 miles, on Trego County U Rd. It will become Gove County K Rd. Turn into the pasture that has the Castle Rock sign & cross cattle guard. Pay attention to weather conditions, as the limestone trail can become difficult to drive on. Castle Rock is free to the public.

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Buffalo Bill Cultural Center

“GoWest, young man!” to Logan County where a 16-ft. bronze sculpture of the Old West hero Buffalo Bill “races” after an American buffalo. The privately funded installation was first created in clay, then broken into over 100 smaller pieces and cast separately. Once cooled, the pieces were welded together and a layer of patina as applied to the outside. Today, it welcomes visitors outside the Buffalo Bill Cultural Center, a cultural history museum that includes many artifacts from that legendary time period.

The Buffalo Bill Cultural Center and its Buffalo Bill Bronze Statue take I-70 to Exit #76 or    #70 Oakley. This museum is free to the public.


Fick Fossil & History Museum

Stare down an enormous, fearsome prehistoric fish fossil at Oakley’s Fick Fossil & History Museum. Over 11,000 marine fossils are included in the museum’s collection, including a 15-ft. Xiphactinus Audax and the world’s oldest known mosasaur fossil with a rare intact eye socket. Other exhibits include artifacts from pioneer days and a “Funky Fossil Folk Art display.

Fick Fossil Museumis located just off I-70 at Exit #76 or #70 Oakley. There is no fee to visit the museum. A donation is suggestion.

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Little Jerusalem Badlands State Park

Explore the surreal landscape of Little Jerusalem Badlands State Park, Kansas’s newest state park. This 330-acre park was established in 2019 and features white chalk rock spires dating back 85-million years. Named for their resemblance to the ancient rock walls of Jerusalem, the area was once home to giant prehistoric clams and oysters, but now visitors will find ferruginous hawks, cliff swallows, rock wrens and several species of amphibians and reptiles living in the rock crevasses. There is a 1/4-mile scenic overlook trail and a 1-1/2 mile self-guided trail to explore, and a two-hour naturalist guided hike into the outcroppings is also available by booking ahead.


Monument Rocks

Visit the Badlands nearby neighbor Monument Rocks for more paleontology explorations. The 70-ft. chalk formations date to the Cretaceous Period and has been designated as one of the “8 Wonders of Kansas.” Photographers often gather at sunrise and sunset to capture dramatic images of the sun’s softening colors reflected on the white limestone cliffs.

Both Little Jerusalem Badlands State Park and Monument Rocks are located south of Oakley on Hwy. 83.A daily or annual vehicle permit for $5 is required to visit Little Jerusalem Badlands and there is a strict no-collection policy that applies to paleontological and all other finds atthe site.

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Keystone Gallery

Stop by the Keystone Gallery and enjoy the art of Chuck Bonner and Barbara Shelton in the gallery’s Prairie Ocean exhibition. The gallery’s building was built from native limestone in 1917 to serve the community as a church. Today, you’ll find Bonner and Shelton’s paintings, landscape photography, and more. An additional collection includes a 20-ft. Mosasaur and fossils of several fish, reptiles, and bird species.

The Keystone Gallery is located on Hwy 83 South of Oakley.


Historic Lake Scott State Park

Tucked inside a prairie canyon, Lake Scott State Park is both an archeological site and a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. Listed on National Geographic’s “50 must-see state parks,” it features natural springs, deep wooded canyons, craggy bluffs, and a number of important early American historical sites.

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Battle Canyon at Lake Scott

Battle Canyon, the location of the last Native American battle in Kansas is located in a canyon about 1-mile south of the park. The Battle of Punished Woman’s Fork was a clash between US Troops from Fort Dodge and Northern Cheyenne people led by Chief Dull Knife and Little Wolf. During the battle, Lt. Colonel William Lewis was mortally wounded in the thigh, becoming the last army officer fatality in Kansas during the Indian Wars.

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El Quartelejo Ruins at Lake Scott

During the 1600s, Taos Indians from the Southwest fled north to the High Plains to escape oppressive Spanish rule. They settled near Lake Scott in what is now known as the El Quartelejo Pueblo Ruins. In 1701 a group of Picuris Native Americans resided there for two years, and by 1727 is was abandoned and left to deteriorate until only a mound and a few irrigation ditches remained. The site was rediscovered in the mid-1890s and today you can see the pueblo’s reconstructed foundation at the site. Evidence of an Apache roasting pit and floors, hearths, and spots where support beams were placed to support the structure can also be seen.

To get to Lake Scott State Park, Battle Canyon and the El Quartelejo Ruinscontinue down Hwy 83 between Oakley & Scott City


Plan a Western Kansas “staycation” for your family’s Spring Break this year and enjoy the history, beauty, and adventure in your own backyard!


Limestone: Trego County’s Foundation Stone

Throughout Trego County you’ll find unique white rock formations breaking through our vast prairie. These chalky outcroppings are evidence of the great Western Inland Seaway that divided the North American continent millions of years ago. Today, you’ll find the same rock has been used in many of the most notable buildings you’ll find on the Great Plains.

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Niobrara Chalk

The majority of the limestone found within Trego County’s borders is classified as Niobrara Chalk, a geologic deposit created between 85 million years ago during the Late Cretaceous period. It is a soft stone formed from calcium deposits that easily flakes apart to reveal fossils of plesiosaurs, mosasaurs, pterosaurs, sharks, and primitive aquatic birds.

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Fossilized Oyster Shells, Image by James St. John

Geological maps show the largest deposits of Niobrara Chalk limestone are located in the southern section of Trego County in the Smoky Hill River Valley, where you’ll find exposed sections at Cedar Bluff Overlook in the Cedar Bluff State Park and Castle Rock southwest of Collyer. More examples are to be found at Monument Rocks in neighboring Gove County and at Little Jerusalem, Kansas’s newest state park which is located south of Oakley. For a tour of these sites head south from WaKeeney on Hwy. 283 to begin at Cedar Bluff State Park & Reservoir, then follow the Smoky Hill River Valley west to each of these formations in Trego, Gove, and Logan Counties.

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Greenhorn Limestone

Greenhorn limestone, or Post Rock, is a hard limestone found along Trego County’s eastern border. It was formed during the Late Cretaceous period along with Niobrara limestone and includes many of the same marine animal fossils found in the softer, chalky variety of limestone. Today, it is quarried along the eastern border of Trego County.

Due to the lack of wood on the grassy prairie, Post Rock limestone was a primarybuilding materialin the 1800’s. Many early construction projects in Trego County relied on this hard stone, when city founders Albert Warren and James Keeney created their “Queen City of the High Plains.” Here are a few of the most notable buildings that utilized limestone quarried in Trego County.


The Trego County Courthouse

Built between 1888-1889, the grand Trego County Courthouse is an American Queen Anne style building. At the time of its construction it featured an Elizabethan frontage and a 100-foot cupola imported from Europe. The limestone used on its exterior is Post Rock that was quarried locally, as well as limestone brought from Manhattan, KS.

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The building has undergone a few changes since its construction, but still retains its original limestone exterior.

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Kansas Pacific Railway Depot

WaKeeney’s Kansas Pacific Railway Depot was an ornate railway station completed in 1879 with limestone found along the Saline River and Big Creek. On July 4, 1879, Warren, Keeney & Co. held a grand celebration to advertise their land sales. The Governor of Kansas was present and made a speech from the new depot’s platform. At the time, the magnificent, stone railway depot was described as the best and most modern facility between Kansas City and Denver.  It was acquired by the Union Pacific Railroad and housed their operations until the 1930’s, and later demolished.


WaKeeney Opera House

One of the most impressive limestone buildings in Trego County was the WaKeeney Opera House. In 1884, this large, attractive building was the center of WaKeeney’s activities, and  entertainment. It had a seating capacity of 400 and featured ornate murals on the ceiling and walls and a large brass chandelier with Rochester electric lamps. The Oprah House cost $20,000 to build andhoused grocery stores, newspapers offices, land offices, real estate agents, the post office, a bank, the school, and the opera hall. This fine example of Great Plains architecture was destroyed by fire on February 4, 1895 and today the site is home to the Trego County Health Department.

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Emanuel Lutheran Church

Today’s Emanuel Lutheran Church used limestone quarried from nearby Threshing Machine Canyon located along the Smoky Hill Trail. It was built by Swedish immigrants in 1902 and was originally christened as the Swedish Evangelical Emmanuel Lutheran Church.

Municipal Building

WaKeeney Municipal Building

The WaKeeney Municipal Building was a project planned in 1937 by the Work Project Administration (WPA) as part of the President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal initiative. It incorporates native limestone blocks in a modern design, with a broad staircase that leads up to a sheltered portico.

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The Wilcox School

The Wilcox School, a one-room schoolhouse located 16-miles south of WaKeeney, was built in 1886 with limestone quarried by area’s early settlers along the Smoky Hill River. They cut it from the river’s south shore and hauled the stone to the building site across natural fords or low-water bridges. Visitors can see this historic landmark up close by traveling south on Hwy. 283.

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B.O.D. Markers

A more recent addition of Post Rock to our landscape are the B.O.D. markers travelers can follow along the historic route of the Butterfield Overland Despatch, Smoky Hill Trail. In 1960, Historian Howard C. Raynesford of Ellis, KS researched the location of the trail and had the posts erected at points where it crossed a North/South road. The markers are engraved with “BOD – 1865” and stand on a concrete base that offers more information.

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 Visit the Trego County Historical Museum

To learn more about our region’s limestone deposits we invite you to visit the Trego County Historical Society Museum. Don’t forget to check out the Purinton Fossil Collection which includes many fine examples Cretaceous period creatures that were in both Niobrara and Post Rock limestone.



Celebrating Memorial Day Weekend at Cedar Bluff State Park

Camping season is here, and Cedar Bluff State Park is ready to kick off the summer with an all-day event to celebrate Memorial Day Weekend!

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The lake is up one foot since April 30 and continues to rise every day or so. As of May 12, the Lake elevation is 2126.80. It has recently hit another official lake foot marker and is now up nine-feet! Soon the Cove 1 boat ramp, a ramp that hasn’t been used in years, will be put back into use. It’s the perfect time to spend a relaxing weekend at Cedar Bluff State Park!

On May 25th, the Saturday before Memorial Day, Cedar Bluff’’s park rangers are hosting a park party for the families of Trego, Ellis, and other counties. Games, food, and a day of fun in the sun are waiting for you at the lake!

Memorial Day Weekend Party (Saturday May 25th)

Compete in informal outdoor games, like horseshoes, cornhole, bladder ball, and outdoor Twister, or sign up to be a part of the beach volleyball tournament right on the lake’s sand beach.

Briney Motorsports will be performing jet ski demonstrations throughout the day with the best and newest water craft. You can also find out more about their new boat rental service.

Throughout the day there will be four food trucks serving delicious food and treats to keep you cool. Our fishing pond is open, too, so don’t forget your bait and tackle! The kids will love spending time on the shore waiting to hook “the big one” with their mom and dad.

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The evening will close with a dance party under the stars. DJ Willy Will is on the schedule to play the best in pop, rock, country, and the golden oldies, and you can dance the night away with your special somebody.

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Set Up Your Campsite

Plan to spend the long weekend at the lake!

Cedar Bluff State Park has two campgrounds. The Northside camping area is a social area, with paved streets and a neighborhood feel, while the Southside offers a more private experience for those who want to really dive into that country feeling. RV hookups are available at both camping areas. Spots fill up fast, so be sure to reserve your Northside campsite before Tuesday for Friday camping.

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Spend your Memorial Day Weekend on Saturday, May 25that Cedar Bluff State Park! It’s the best way to start a summer filled with fun outdoor adventure and great memories with friends and family!

Note: Vehicle permits are required. Life jacket rentals are now available through the Sea Tow Foundation’s Life Jacket Loaner program and check out the Cedar Bluff State Park’s Facebook page for updates to the schedule and information about the park.

Winter Activities at Cedar Bluff State Park

We’ve had an amazing winter, with several snowstorms transforming our landscape into a shimmering white wonderland. At Cedar Bluff State Park, our summer playground has become an icy recreation area for those adventurers who love to get out and explore during cold months.

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Hiking on the Agave Ridge Trail

Head to the Agave Ridge Trail, accessed in the Page Creek Area, to begin your exploration of our park. The one-mile paved portion of the trail provides an excellent opportunity to explore the area and find the many types of wildlife that live in the park. This beginning stretch of the trail contains interpretative signs and a representation of the area’s native habitats and can be completed in approximately 20 minutes.


The more ambitious hiker will enjoy the expanded four-mile, primitive section of the trail which winds through the mixed grass prairie. This area provides a great opportunity to view many wildlife species, and can be completed in approximately 90 minutes. Both portions of the trail are open to the public for hiking and are lined on the west with a half-mile of the 100-foot cedars that give our park its name.

Wildlife Photographers Paradise

Life abounds around our reservoir in winter! Cedar Bluff Reservoir is home to a variety of creatures, large and small. Bald eagles and white-tailed deer are great subjects for your wildlife photography. Get here early to watch animals go about their daily hunt for food or look down to find their tracks in the snow. In the coming weeks ducks and geese will soon be bringing even more activity to the park as they fight for dominance and establish their territorial boundaries.

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Winter Fishing

Winter fishing for walleye and crappie at Cedar Bluff State Park has been excellent this year. Our lake has benefited from all the precipitation we’ve been receiving, with water levels rising just over five feet! There are many great fish attractor areas that present fishermen with great chances to catch that elusive “big one.”

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On the Hunt

During the 2018-2019 season we’ve seen hunters from as far as Maine and Florida visiting our park due to the amazing opportunities for bird hunting that are being reported. Our county has claimed Kansas’s number one spot waterfowl hunting this year and quail numbers are continuing to rise due to the ample rainfall that produced quality food sources and good habitats. Stay alert during the hunt and keep within the boundaries of the wildlife section and Page Creek area where hunting activity is allowed.


Cedar Bluff’s Newest Attraction

Our archery range is a new addition to the park, with targets ranging from  20, 30, 40, 50,  and 60yds. At this time, it is field point only range (no broadheads) and no crossbows but rangers are looking to add Crossbow and Broadhead targets soon. Get your aim straight and true as you try out our latest challenge!

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Experience Winter at Cedar Bluff State Park!

Cedar Bluff State Parkis open every day and vehicle permits are required to access the Agave Trail, please, follow the state park rules and regulations. Come outside, get some fresh air, and enjoy winter at Trego County’sCedar Bluff State Park!

A Peaceful Vacation at the Country Barn Loft B & B

A comfortable bed, a delicious homemade breakfast, fresh country air, and a beautiful Kansas sunrise. This is the peaceful existence you can experience at Trego County’s newest lodging destination, the Country Barn Loft B & B.

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Lifetime county residents Jerry and Peggy White moved the historic 1951 barn onto their two-acre private property in 1999, and over the years it has served many purposes before taking on a new life as a bed & breakfast.

With an eye toward maintaining the look of a working barn, the Whites have chosen to use repurposed barn wood for the original arched ceiling and walls, and sliding “barn” style interior doors and ceiling fans complete the upscale country look of this historic building. There are eight beds available for guests, with four located in the upstairs hayloft suite where families can enjoy the large space in separate bedrooms under skylights that make the whole space feel light and airy.

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Quaint balconies on all four sides of the barn offer an expansive view of pastureland and farm ground. It’s the perfect place to watch the sunset on the western horizon as millions of stars fill the night sky. Listen close and you will hear songbirds, frogs, deer and many more animals calling to one another as you relax in your own prairie paradise.

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The Whites have upgraded the barn to include all the necessary facilities for your stay, including a kitchenette and bathroom in the hayloft suite. Take your time waking up with a fresh cup of coffee, free WiFi, and a homemade breakfast you’ve chosen from Peggy’s menu of delicious country dishes

“We enjoy meeting new people and look forward

to showing our guests what is special about country living.”

 Jerry White

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Outside you’ll find flower beds, a trellis bench in a “secret garden,” the White’s summer vegetable garden, a wooden swing and other areas to sit and read or just enjoy the peaceful rural setting. Onsite dog boarding is offered so your pets and hunting dogs can enjoy the serene landscape, too!

The Country Barn Loft is located only a few miles from Cedar Bluff State Park and Reservoir, Trego County’s best place for water skiing, jet skiing, hiking and fishing for catfish, walleye, crappie, bass, and more. Wild game hunting and wildlife viewing opportunities are also found throughout the area.

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Take a 15-minute drive into WaKeeney to enjoy the many restaurants and shops in our historic Downtown or enjoy a day in one of our beautiful parks. In the summertime, your kids will love taking a dip in WaKeeney’s Water Park.

Book your stay during one of the many county-wide festivals held throughout the year. The Trego County Fair is the highlight of the summer and, beginning with WaKeeney’s annual Christmas festival held on the Saturday after Thanksgiving and continuing through the month of December, our famous holiday lights brighten up the “Christmas City of the High Plains.”

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Next time you’re searching for a peaceful setting in a country escape make the journey to Trego County’s Country Barn Loft B & B!

Experience Fall on the Smoky Valley Scenic Byway

Smoky Valley Scenic Byway

The Northwest Kansas prairie is beautiful in the fall and there is no better way to enjoy the beauty of the changing season than by touring the Smoky Valley Scenic Byway of Trego County.

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The Smoky Valley Byway is a sixty-mile route over gently rolling hills that takes you past stunning natural settings and historic landmarks, like the Emanuel Lutheran Church on South Hwy. 147, which is made of locally quarried limestone.

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As is the Wilcox country schoolhouse on South Hwy. 283 that is currently under restoration.

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Cedar Bluff State Park is a beautiful spot to stop and enjoy outdoor activities. Fishing, boating, and hiking are all accessible at the park. Along with many great spots on the reservoir, Pa’s Fishing Pond is a stocked pond created for children and the disabled to enjoy. If exploration is more your style give the hiking trails a try. The Agave Ridge Trail will take you deep into the park where you are sure to spot many kinds of wildlife. The trail leading down into Threshing Machine Canyon will take you right to the spot where pioneers traveling across the prairie carved their names and dates into the limestone cliff face.

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When you’re back on the Byway keep your eye out for the limestone posts marking the old route of the Butterfield Overland Despatch. These posts were added in 1960 to mark the historic trail that adventurers followed on stagecoaches from Atchison, Kansas to Denver, Colorado in 1865. The limestone blends in with the surrounding grasses in the fall, but the easiest marker to locate is found on Hwy. 147 south of the turn to the state park office on west side of highway below Cedar Bluff’s dam.

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As you cruise on down the road you’ll notice the stark white limestone cliffs that reveal our prairie’s prehistoric life as the floor of a great inland seabed. Professional and amateur paleontologist regularly uncover fossils in the exposed cliffs, including animals dating as far back as the Cretaceous period.


Don’t forget to look for the many species of wildlife that fill our Great Plains as you’re driving. Trego County is known for its great deer and pheasant hunting. (Hunters—mark your calendar for the start of the 2017 Pheasant Season next month on November 11th.)


One of the most beautiful things to see on the Smoky Valley Scenic Byway are the amazing sunrises and sunsets that paint our skies every day. Experience an unparalleled connection with nature and “share our sky of wonder” with us.

This fall plan a drive along the Smoky Valley Scenic Byway and experience the history and natural beauty of Trego County.

Where to Celebrate Independence Day in Trego County

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The Fourth of July holiday is here and it’s time to light up the night! Trego County is getting into the patriotic spirit early with two firework displays on Saturday, July 1st.

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Cedar Bluff State Park

Head to Cedar Bluff State Park for day of fun in the sun and night of beautiful fireworks. Come for the day, or bring your tent or RV to enjoy the many fun activities to found in a natural prairie setting.

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Water ski, swim, hike, and fish throughout the day, then as the sun goes down set up a chair and watch the firework display high in the sky. The show starts at dark on the Northside (Bluffton) Park and it’s brought to you by the Cedar Bluff Lake Association. Vehicle permits will be required.

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WaKeeney Mini Speedway

For those who like a shot of adrenaline on their holidays, head to the WaKeeney Mini Speedway!

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Roaring engines and intense competition will energize the crowds when the racers take to the oval dirt track. Racers are both experienced and novices and there are several classes of cars and ranges of ages of the drivers.

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The races begin at 5pm on Saturday, July 1st, with the fireworks display following afterwards. This will be the place to watch fireworks in the city of WaKeeney, and we’re expecting another great show this year.

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Celebrate the birth of this great nation with the people of Trego County and watch fireworks light up the sky at Cedar Bluff State Park and the WaKeeney Mini Speedway this Saturday, July 1st.

Happy Fourth of July!

Summer Fun Abounds at Cedar Bluff State Park

Summer is here and there’s no better place to spend your weekends than at Cedar Bluff State Park, where fun is found every day of the week!

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Of course, we all love the many water sports you can take part in at the lake. Jet skiing, water boarding and skiing are just many of the fun activities you’ll find at our active state park, but did you know there is even more to explore outside the water? Check out all these great summer events at Trego County’s Cedar Bluff State Park.

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Pull Up to the “Cruise In” Car Show (May 20)

Come on down to the lake between 11am to 3pm to see the best in refurbished antique cars at the “Cruise in” Car Show. The event will be held in the North Shore Park and will feature cars, trucks, and motorcycles that have come to the park from around the country. A donation of $25 per vehicle includes a vehicle day permit and two tickets for $5 off at Rods and Ribs traveling BBQ truck. Stick around for a chance to win a door prize!

The Jr. Camper’s Club Returns (May 27 to August 19)

The Jr. Camper’s Club will run throughout the summer every other Saturday at 11am. We expect a lot of young rangers to join us during this popular series for hiking, fishing, gardening, camping, wildlife education, and a behind the scenes look at what it takes to run a state park. Snacks will be provided.

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Drop Your Lines During the Free Fishing Weekend (June 3-4)

Mark your calendars for Free Fishing Weekend! The lake is filled with fish just waiting to be caught. Crappie, walleye, and white bass are looking for a hook and you don’t want to miss out on reeling those big fish out of the water! No fishing license required.

Cedar Bluff’s “OK Kids Day” Returns (June 10)

The OK Kids Day (Outdoor Kansas Kids Day) is chock full of great activities meant to entertain and educate kids about all the great things to be experienced at Cedar Bluff. The day starts at 9am with a fishing derby in Pa’s Pond, where kids can enjoy the thrill of catching the “big one” in the stocked pond. Afterwards, there’ll be a free hot dog feed, a presentation by representatives from the Sternburg Museum, an “Amazing Race” competition the state park way, a jet ski simulator and laser hunt, and minnow catching for the younger kids. The free event lasts until 4pm and families are invited to join in with the kids. (Free vehicle entry all day.)

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Bring your families and enjoy the beauty and fun you’ll find this summer at Cedar Bluff State Park!

Pokemon Go at Cedar Bluff State Park


We’ve been invaded! Pokémon Go has come to Trego County and taken over Cedar Bluff State Park, but don’t worry—Saturday, October 1st is open season on the pesky virtual critters and the park is holding an event to bring out hunters, young and old.

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 Pokemon Flyer.jpgPokémon Go, first featured on Nintendo Game Boys, has a long history of being tracked, captured, and trained. Today’s mobile version takes those same challenges outside, placing the characters all around you via your mobile device’s GPS system, so, now it’s your family’s turn to ferret the characters out. Download the app here, then head out on the trail with your cell phones to locate hundreds of Pokémon you’ll see overlaid on our beautiful prairie landscape through your cell phone’s screen.

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Trego - Pokemon.jpgThere will be ten Pokémon Stops and three Gyms to be found in the Bluffton Area Campground on the North side and two Pokémon Stops and one Gym in the Page Creek Park on the South side. For Saturday’s event park officials will be placing additional Lure Modules in three different Pokestops throughout the Bluffton Area Campground during the hours of 10am to 8pm.

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This event is sponsored by BlueCross BlueShield of Kansas in honor of Healthy Trails Day and AmeriCorp Members will be available to answer any questions you might have. No Vehicle permits will be required but camping fees will apply. Make sure to show up with a charged phone (free charging will be available in non-reserved electrical campsites) and Wifi will be available at spots throughout the park.

Join us this Saturday, October 1st for Cedar Bluff State Park’s very first Pokémon Go hunt!