Castle Rock, Quinter, KS


People traveling along I-70 through Kansas will come upon an unassuming town called Quinter, Kansas. The town doesn't have a lot of residents, but it did achieve some notoriety in 2006 when one of those residents was declared the oldest worker in the United States at age 104. His name was Waldo McBurney. Another feature that the town has to share is the Castle Rock and Badlands area south of the city.

Quinter, Kansas is in the western part of the state. The badlands area features fossils, limestone, sandstone, chalk and geological formations. Castle Rock is considered to be one of the eight wonders of Kansas. The Castle Rock formation is roughly twelve miles south of Interstate 70 between the towns of Quinter and Collyer. Castle Rock is made up of chalk, limestone and shale. This formation is on private land, so the road to it is not maintained by the state. Portions of the road are rugged with some eighteen inch deep ruts to maneuver around once people leave the dirt road. Cars can make the trip, but SUV's or trucks will have better clearance.

The Castle Rock formation is very fragile and in 2001 there was a thunderstorm that toppled the tallest spire. People are afraid that the Castle Rock spires may not last a lot longer. The badlands are a bit further south of the Castle Rock spires. Visitors to the Kansas badlands will probably feel quite alone. They are totally undeveloped so they are as nature produced them.

The badlands rise up out of the prairie surrounded by cattle and not much else. The lower portions are light colored and form layers of other colored rock until the top is reached with their black tops.

Visitors wishing to get to Castle Rock from the west should take exit 107 off of I-70 at Quinter. Then visitors need to turn south on Castle Rock Road for about fifteen miles. Vehicles then turn east at County Road 466 and follow the signs. If visitors are coming from the east they will take exit 115 at Collyer, then go south on Banner Road for about twelve and half miles. Once they get to County Road 466 or Castle Rock Road they must watch for the sign on the right. The roads to Castle Rock get very muddy in wet weather.

Castle Rock was used in the past as a landmark. The Butterfield Overland Dispatch used the Smoky Hill Trail which is a bit north of the spires. Ruts from the trail can still be seen a few hundred yards north of the Castle Rock spires. The formations got their name from Lt. Julian Fitch who was a surveyor for the Butterfield Overland Dispatch. Fossils from the ancient Cretaceous Sea period are on the private land. Visitors with a keen eye may spot a shark's tooth now and then, although they must be left in place.

There are several hotels in the Quinter area such as the Budget Host Q Motel and the Q Inn. Food sources include the Q Inn Restaurant, Dairy Queen and the Pizza Station.

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