Northeast Kansas Waterfall Road Trip

Posted on August 28, 2016 by Mickey

You’ve seen the ultimate Kansas waterfall road trip. Now try a more zoned in waterfall road trip specialized for northeast Kansas in this Northeast Kansas waterfall road trip! This one is made for people in the area of Kansas City, Lawrence and Topeka. I’m going to take you on a road trip to seven (or more if you hit the optional side trips) beautiful waterfalls in northeast Kansas.

Direct link to the map

Turkey Falls

Merriam, Kansas

Turkey Falls
Turkey FallsPrints Available
Cascades below Turkey Falls in Merriam, Kansas

Starting in the heart of Kansas City, on the Kansas side, is a beautiful waterfall one would never expect to be in the middle of a city. Located in a place aptly called the Waterfall Park in Merriam, Kansas is Turkey Falls. This waterfall is typically flowing year round. Once you’ve had your fill of Turkey Creek Falls, it’s time to head northwest to Lansing.

Angel Falls

Lansing, Kansas

Angel Falls
Angel FallsPrints Available
Angel Falls spans Sevenmile Creek with a drop of 5 feet or so

One of my favorite waterfalls in all of Kansas is Angel Falls in Lansing, Kansas. To find Angel Falls, you have to park at the St. Francis de Sales church, and walk the beautiful hiking path about a tenth of a mile south to the falls. After checking out Angel Falls, it’s time to head north to Wathena for our next waterfall!

Walnut Creek Falls

South of Wathena, Kansas

Walnut Creek Falls
Walnut Creek FallsPrints Available
A cascading waterfall along Walnut Creek

One Glacial Hills Scenic Byway, which is a beautiful drive in it’s own right! However, we’re on a waterfall hunt, so they can wait for another day. Just south of Wathena, nearby the Missouri River, is a beautiful little cascading waterfall that creates a sort of waterfall called Walnut Creek Falls. Once you’ve gotten your fill of Walnut Creek Falls, it’s time to head for Lawrence and our next waterfall!

Optional Side Trip #1: Buck Creek Falls – Hidden in the country to the north of Lawrence is this beautiful rippling waterfall called Buck Creek Falls.

Optional Side Trip #2: Bowersock Dam Falls – You will likely see this one just driving to Wakarusa River Falls, as it stretches the Kansas river in Lawrence.

Wakarusa River Falls

Clinton Lake, Lawrence, Kansas

Wakarusa River Falls
Wakarusa River FallsPrints Available
A small waterfall downstream of the spillway of Clinton Lake

From Walnut Creek Falls near Wathena, you’ll have to head southwest towards Lawrence to get to Wakarusa River Falls. This waterfall is just downstream from the spillway at Clinton State Park along the Wakarusa River. It’s a great fishing spot as well as making for a wonderful place to just relax and enjoy the sound of rushing water.

Swissvale Falls

Southeast of Topeka, Kansas

Swissvale Falls
Swissvale FallsPrints Available
A beautiful natural waterfall along the Landon Nature Trail

From Clinton Lake head west towards Overbrook. A few miles north from Overbrook is the historic Swissvale town, where you’ll stop to hike along a rail to trail project called the Landon Nature Trail. It won’t look much like a trail, but rather a line through a farmer’s field that used to be a railroad track. If you hike north from the road for a third of a mile or so, you’ll arrive at Swissvale Falls along Camp Creek. This is one of my favorite waterfalls in Kansas.

Optional Side Trip #3: Santa Fe Falls – In spring and times of high rainfall, this one is worth checking out. On your way back towards Kansas City from Swissvale Falls, stop in at Edgerton, where the dam spillway creates a pretty waterfall.

Cedar Lake Falls

Olathe, Kansas

Cedar Lake Falls
Cedar Lake FallsPrints Available
A beautiful waterfall in the spillway at Cedar Lake

From Swissvale Falls, you’ll head back towards Kansas City until you get to Olathe, where you’ll make a stop at Cedar Lake’s spillway. If rain has been flowing, you’ll find a fairly impressive waterfall here called Cedar Lake Falls. After exploring for a while, we’re off to our final waterfall of the trip! It’s just a couple miles away.

Cedar Creek Falls

Olathe, Kansas

Cedar Creek Falls
Cedar Creek FallsPrints Available
Cedar Creek Falls

Just a couple miles north of Cedar Lake Falls is Cedar Creek Falls. This waterfall is located on the south side of Lake Olathe, where Cedar Creek flows into the lake. It’s a wonderful fishing spot, and a great place to finish off this northeast Kansas waterfall road trip!

Posted under: Kansas

Top 10 Kansas Waterfalls

Posted on June 24, 2015 by Mickey

Last Updated: May 15th, 2017

After traveling the state of Kansas for the past few years, hitting up as many waterfalls as possible, I thought it was time to make a fun little Kansas waterfall list! This year, I’ve made it a point, with all the rain, to try and hit most of the ones I’ve yet to visit. I’m up to over 60 of nearly 80 waterfalls that I have on my list. That’s a lot, considering most people don’t even realize there are waterfalls in the state of Kansas! I recently published my map of Kansas waterfalls on my new website, Kansas is Beautiful.

Before I begin, if you just want to view all the Kansas waterfall photography, I’ve set up a gallery of all the waterfalls I’ve visited in Kansas located on my Kansas waterfalls photo gallery!

With that said, here are my current top 10 Kansas waterfalls:

1. Geary Falls

Geary Falls
Geary State Fishing Lake WaterfallFine-Art Prints Available
Geary Falls near Junction City, Kansas

Geary Falls are located just south of Junction City. I’ve now visited this waterfall three times and it’s become my favorite after the most recent trip. In late April, I visited when early morning fog and heavy rains had a very mystical feeling to the falls. The only downside to Geary Falls, like most spillway falls in Kansas, is when the water is running low, they nearly dry up. But when they’re flowing, they’re really flowing! The main viewpoint is from the top of the falls, but if you follow a little path down through the trees and do a bit of rock-hopping on the creek, it leads you to the vantage point from below the falls where this was shot. This was also one of the first Kansas waterfall I ever visited.

2. Prather Creek Falls (Chase Lake Falls)

Prather Creek Falls
Prather Creek FallsFine-Art Prints Available
Prather Creek Falls, also known as Chase Lake Falls, near Cottonwood Falls

Prather Creek Falls, also known as Chase Lake Falls, may not be the tallest of all the waterfalls in Kansas, but it’s become one of my absolute favorites! There are three tiers to this waterfall. The middle being my favorite, is pictured above. Prather Creek Falls are pretty easy to find. Just head out to Chase State Fishing Lake to the east of Cottonwood Falls and park at the dam. Walk across and follow the spillway down the creek to stop at each layer of falls. Each of the three tiers seem to offer a new angle to photograph them, and depending on the day of the year and time of day, sunlight can hit these falls just perfectly to light them up! If you’re driving the Flint Hills Scenic Byway, this is one stop that’s absolutely worth the extra couple of miles to visit Chase State Fishing Lake!

3. Santa Fe Lake Falls

The Floodgates Opened - Santa Fe Lake Falls
The Floodgates OpenedFine-Art Prints Available
Heavy rainfall causes a deluge at Santa Fe Lake Falls near Augusta, Kansas

Santa Fe Lake Falls might be the best kept secret in the Wichita area! While most lake-goers head towards Cheney and El Dorado for their lake fun, there’s a smaller lake between Augusta and Andover called Santa Fe Lake that offers some really beautiful Kansas beauty. Growing up, I visited this lake on many occasions, as my grandparents lived a mile or two down the road, but I never knew the lake harbored this beautiful waterfall until more recent times. Located in the spillway of Santa Fe Lake, this waterfall is awesome when the water is flowing! These falls shouldn’t be confused with the waterfall of the same name of Santa Fe Lake Falls that are located in the spillway of Santa Fe Lake in Edgerton, Kansas near Kansas City.

4. Cowley Falls

Cowley Falls
Cowley FallsFine-Art Prints Available
Cowley Falls near Ark City, Kansas

Cowley Falls are my go-to falls when I know there’s been some rain. They almost never disappoint (other than a visit in drought conditions), and when they are in full flow, like the above photo, there’s some great angles to view them from! The typical lookout point is above the falls to the west, near the parking lot. But a sketchy path can take you down towards the base of the falls. It’s worth the hike down, as you get views like the above photo! I would almost consider moving Cowley Falls up above Santa Fe Falls or even Prather Creek Falls, but the amount of littering people have done here has left a lot of broken glass and trash at the site. Still, if you can overlook that negative, Cowley Falls can be extremely impressive! Just be careful of the broken glass if you trek down to the base of the falls.

5. Chautauqua Falls

Surging Chautauqua Falls
Surging Chautauqua FallsFine-Art Prints Available
Upper Chautauqua Falls near Sedan, Kansas

I found Chautauqua Falls by accident while Google Mapping one day. And they sure don’t disappoint! Located near Sedan, Kansas, these beautiful falls are similar to Prather Creek Falls, as there are numerous drops along the creek. The photo above showcases part of the upper falls during high rainfall. Depending on rainfall amounts, this waterfall has multiple drops, sometimes including a twin or triple set of falls at the top. Below these is a smaller drop that can provide a more intimate waterfall to view, as it drops off a flat shelf and gets wider as more water flows over.

6. Rock Creek Falls

Rock Creek Falls
Rock Creek FallsFine-Art Prints Available
Rock Creek Falls near Fort Scott, Kansas

Rock Creek Falls are another set of falls like Prather Creek Falls that have multiple drops within a hundred yards of each other. At the top is the spillway. It’s man-made, but still pretty. But below that are the falls pictured above. And further below that are a number of smaller shelf-like falls that are equally as pretty! Rock Creek Falls can be found by visited Rock Creek Lake west of Fort Scott in eastern Kansas, and following the creek between the lake spillway and Marmaton River. These falls are just a few miles west of the Frontier Military Byway.

7. Swissvale Falls

Swissvale Falls
Swissvale FallsFine-Art Prints Available
Swissvale Falls near Topeka, Kansas

Located along the Landon Nature Trail, southeast of Topeka, Swissvale Falls are a true natural gem. They’re not the tallest waterfall in Kansas, but they have a certain charm that makes them beautiful! The drop is probably only 4 feet or so, but spans the entirety of Camp Creek. They can be found just north of the small town of Overbrook, Kansas. If you’re trying to visit from the road, it’s a good quarter to half mile walk up the Landon Nature Trail to Camp Creek. Just use the map in the link above to find the location.

8. Butcher Falls

Spring at Butcher Falls
Spring at Butcher FallsFine-Art Prints Available
Red Buffalo Ranch’s famous Butcher Falls

Butcher Falls are located on Red Buffalo Ranch, which is owned by Bill Kurtis, a native Kansan famous for broadcasting. It’s located to the northwest of Sedan, Kansas is some beautiful Chautauqua Hills country! The falls drop a good 10-15 feet between boulders into the pool below. You can even stay on the ranch in the Butcher Falls Bunkhouse! This is one of the few non-spillway natural waterfalls in the state!

9. Angel Falls

Angel Falls
Angel FallsFine-Art Prints Available
Angel Falls in Lansing, Kansas

Angel Falls are actually located inside the city limits of Lansing, Kansas in northeast Kansas. They make a great stop on the south end of the Glacial Hills Scenic Byway or north end of the Frontier Military Historic Byway. You can find them along the nature trail south of St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church in Lansing. Angel Falls makes for great photography in the fall when autumn leaves swirl around in the pool below.

10. Pillsbury Crossing (Deep Creek Falls)

Pillsbury Crossing
Pillsbury CrossingFine-Art Prints Available
Famous Pillsbury Crossing’s Deep Creek Falls near Manhattan, Kansas

Pillsbury Crossing, also known as Deep Creek Falls, are probably the most famous of all waterfalls in Kansas. They certainly deserve their fame, as they are gorgeous in any season of the year! Located to the southeast of Manhattan, Pillsbury Crossing can also be a favorite hang-out spot of folks from Manhattan and surrounding areas. If you visit on a nice day, it’s quite likely you will not have these gorgeous falls to yourself!

Because of how difficult it is to narrow down a top 10 (and the fact that they change on a whim depending on what kind of light conditions I have for photos when I revisit each waterfall), here’s a few more to check out that rival the ones above:

Keep in mind, there are also a few waterfalls I haven’t visited yet that might make moves on this list in the future. When I do, I’ll revisit this list once again to see if they can knock some of the beautiful waterfalls above out of the top 10! For a full list of waterfalls, visit the Kansas is Beautiful waterfall map and don’t forget to visit the Kansas waterfall gallery to view all my Kansas waterfall images!

Posted under: Kansas