Welcome to our beautiful Western Vistas Historic Byway!
Visit a rugged landscape on the culturally and visually fascinating route known
as the Western Vistas Historic Byway. Imagine an ancient ocean once
covering the shortgrass prairie. When the water receded and erosion set in,
the ocean floor’s limestone layers became not only flat plains but oddly placed
and shaped buttes, mounts and other chalk formations. Here, in western Kansas,
is 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 digs 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. While the area literally “rocks,” its cultural
history may be petrifying to some.