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National Parks in Kansas Back to Top
Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site
Topeka, KS
On October 26, 1992, Congress passed Public Law 102-525 establishing Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site to commemorate the landmark Supreme Court decision aimed at ending segregation in public schools. On May 17, 1954, the Supreme Court unanimously declared that separate educational facilities are inherently unequal" and, as such, violate the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution, which guarantees all citizens "equal protection of the laws." The site consists of the Monroe Elementary School, one of the four segregated elementary schools for African American children in Topeka, and the adjacent grounds.
California National Historic Trail
The California Trail carried over 250,000 gold-seekers and farmers to the gold fields and rich farmlands of California during the 1840's and 1850's, the greatest mass migration in American history. Today, more than 1,000 miles of trail ruts and traces can still be seen in the vast undeveloped lands between Casper Wyoming and the West Coast, reminders of the sacrifices, struggles, and triumphs of early American travelers and settlers. More than 240 historic sites along the trail will eventually be available for public use and interpretation. The trail passes through the states of Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado, Wyoming, Idaho, Utah, Nevada, Oregon, and California.
Fort Larned National Historic Site
Larned, KS
Fort Larned was established in 1859 as a base of military operations against hostile Indians of the Central Plains, to protect traffic along the Santa Fe Trail and as an agency for the administration of the Central Plains Indians by the Bureau of Indian Affairs under the terms of the Fort Wise Treaty of 1861. With nine restored buildings, it survives as one of the best examples of Indian Wars period forts. Most of the buildings including: barracks, commissary, officers quarters and more, are furnished to their original appearance. Fort Larned National Historic Site takes visitors back to this turbulent era in our nation's history.
Fort Scott National Historic Site
Fort Scott, KS
Promises made and broken! A town attacked at dawn! Thousands made homeless by war! Soldiers fighting settlers! Each of these stories is a link in the chain of events that encircled Fort Scott from 1842-73. All of the site’s 20 historic structures, its parade ground, and its five acres of restored tallgrass prairie bear witness to this era when the United States was forged from a young divided republic into a united and powerful transcontinental nation. It is the mission of the National Park Service at Fort Scott National Historic Site to preserve, protect and interpret nationally significant historic resources related to the opening of the West, the Permanent Indian Frontier, the Mexican-American War, Bleeding Kansas, the Civil War and the expansion of railroads.
Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail
In 1804, Meriwether Lewis & William Clark began a voyage of discovery with 45 men, a keelboat, two pirogues,and a dog. They departed from Camp Wood located in what was to become Illinois. They traveled over a three-year period through lands that later became 11 states. Most of the trail follows the Missouri & Columbia Rivers. Much has changed in 200 years but trail portions remain intact. At 3700 miles, Lewis & Clark NHT is the second longest of the 23 National Scenic & National Historic Trails. It begins at Hartford, IL & passes through portions of MO, KS, IA, NE, SD, ND, MT, ID, OR, & WA. Many people follow the trail by auto; others find adventure in the sections that encourage boating, biking, or hiking. You can still see the White Cliffs in Montana as Lewis & Clark did. You may stand where they stood looking over the rolling plains at Spirit Mound in South Dakota. You might meet the descendants of the people who hosted Lewis & Clark all along the trail. It remains for your discovery.
Nicodemus National Historic Site
Nicodemus, KS
This area preserves, protects and interprets the only remaining western town established by African Americans during the Reconstruction Period following the Civil War. The town of Nicodemus is symbolic of the pioneer spirit of African-Americans who dared to leave the only region they had been familiar with to seek personal freedom and the opportunity to develop their talents and capabilities.
Oregon National Historic Trail
As the harbinger of America's westward expansion, the Oregon Trail was the pathway to the Pacific for fur traders, gold seekers, missionaries and others. Beginning in 1841 and continuing for more than 20 years, an estimated 300,000 emigrants followed this route from Independence, Missouri to Oregon City, Oregon on a trip that took five months to complete. The 2,170 mile long trail passes through Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Wyoming, Idaho and Oregon.
Pony Express National Historic Trail
The Pony Express National Historic Trail was used by young men on fast paced horses to carry the nation's mail across the country, from St. Joseph, Missouri to Sacramento, California, in the unprecedented time of only ten days. Organized by private entrepreneurs, the horse-and-rider relay system became the nation's most direct and practical means of east-west communications before the telegraph. Though only in operation for 18 months, between April 1860 and October 1861, the trail proved the feasibility of a central overland transportation route, and played a vital role in aligning California with the Union in the years just before the Civil War. Most of the original trail has been obliterated either by time or human activities. Along many segments, the trail's actual route and exact length are matters of conjecture. However, approximately 120 historic sites may eventually be available to the public, including 50 existing Pony Express stations or station ruins.
Santa Fe National Historic Trail
Between 1821 and 1880, the Santa Fe Trail was primarily a commercial highway connecting Missouri and Santa Fe, New Mexico. From 1821 until 1846, it was an international commercial highway used by Mexican and American traders. In 1846, the Mexican-American War began. The Army of the West followed the Santa Fe Trail to invade New Mexico. When the Treaty of Guadalupe ended the war in 1848, the Santa Fe Trail became a national road connecting the United States to the new southwest territories. Commercial freighting along the trail continued, including considerable military freight hauling to supply the southwestern forts. The trail was also used by stagecoach lines, thousands of gold seekers heading to the California and Colorado gold fields, adventurers, fur trappers, and emigrants. In 1880 the railroad reached Santa Fe and the trail faded into history.
Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve
Strong City, KS
On November 12, 1996, legislation was passed creating Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve in the Flint Hills region of Kansas. The preserve protects a nationally significant example of the once vast tallgrass ecosystem. Of the 400,000 square miles of tallgrass prairie that once covered the North American Continent, less than 4 percent remains, primarily in the Flint Hills. Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve is a new kind of national park. The preserve offers a historic ranch headquarters area with buildings dating from the late 19th century; a late 19th century one-room school house; two nature trails that offers some magnificent views of the Flint Hills landscape; and acres of prairie lands.


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