Visit a rugged landscape on the culturally and visually fascinating route known as the Western Vistas Historic Byway. Imagine an ancient sea that extended from the present day Gulf of Mexico to the Arctic Circle. When the water receded and erosion set in, the sea floor’s limestone layers became not only flat plains but oddly placed, shaped buttes, and other chalk formations. In western Kansas you will find the Wild, Wild West of legend, where American Indians hunted bison, pioneers trekked and cowboys roamed the vast and beautiful prairie – all attempting to eke out a living.
The region surrounding the Byway is a geologist’s and paleontologist’s paradise, punctuated with unusual rock formations and among the best fossil hunting areas in the world. Active fossil excavations began with regularity in the 1870s. Early discoveries contributed significantly to the fossil record and included previously unknown and extinct animals, such as flying reptiles and toothed birds.