Russell County offers the traveler some of the most breathtaking views and vistas to be found in Kansas. The following is a self-guided tour travelers can take to get “off the beaten path” and see some of the beauty local residents take for granted.
Travelers getting off of I-70 at Exit 206, turning north on Highway 232, will be traveling on the Kansas Post rock Scenic Byway, seeing one of the most spectacular views of Lake Wilson. Lake Wilson offers 100 miles of shoreline and 9000 surface acres of water for sporting enthusiasts.
Continuing north on Highway 232, travelers will come to Lucas, which has the distinction of being the “Grassroots Art Capital” of Kansas. This unique rural Kansas community offers a variety of examples of grassroots art – each a must see in their own right.
Traveling west on Highway 18, travelers will view the Wolf Creek Valley, which is part of the Smoky Hills Greenhorn limestone escarpment. Travelers will note the distinction of the bluffs to the south of the valley and the levelness of the valley floor, providing some of the richest agricultural soils. Stopping at the roadside park in Luray, will give travelers an opportunity to visit the first log cabin built in Russell County.
Continue west on Highway 18 to Paradise, to view the limestone water tower or venture south on Highway 281 at the west junction of K18 and Highway 281.
Traveling south on Highway 281, travelers come to realize the image of “flat” Kansas is a misnomer. The highway cuts through layers of limestone revealing outcropping of Dakota, Graneros Shale, and Greenhorn limestone which forms this area of the Smoky Hills. Approximately five miles north of Russell, travelers drop into the Saline River Valley, which provides some of the state’s most rugged landscape.
In the city of Russell, travelers are encouraged to tour the community, noting the various uses of native “post rock” limestone in homes, downtown businesses and lawn ornamentation. Additionally, the history of the community can be found in preservation at the Fossil Station Museum, Oil Patch Museum, Gernon House, and Heym-Oliver House.