Scrambling at Rocktown and Wilson Lake

Another weekend, another sweet Kansas spot that everyone should go check out. We took a group to explore one of the rockier state parks. Looking at a map, you might think that Wilson Lake is just another Kansas reservoir… you’d be wrong. It’s full of epic orange sandstone cliffs, canyons, pillars, and outcroppings where you can waste away the day. It’s kind of like a tiny version of Pictured Rocks in Michigan. We set up camp at the Sandstone Campground and began to hike the Switchgrass trail leaving from the camp area. The trails are heavily used by mountain bikers but open to hikers too. They twist and wind around in the grass and give you some great views of the park. A terrifying thunder storm soon sent us fleeing to the campsite for the rest of the night. We weathered the worst part of the storm by having a tick-pulling party in the car until we had a brief window of calm where we went outside and cooked dinner. Once the rain picked up again, we fled to our tents and had mixed success sleeping throughout the night.

In the morning we drove to the parking lot by the bridge and covered more of the Switchgrass trail, this time making it to the lake shore cliffs and rocks that make this place interesting. After covering a few miles there, we drove to the north end of the lake and hiked the Rocktown trail which has been called the best hiking trail in Kansas. While the hiking is good, I would recommend bringing a mountain bike, kayak, or both to fully appreciate this place. I had a chance to do some biking before the group woke up. Unfortunately we never got around to kayaking mostly due to the weather. The rocks are pretty fun for scrambling and bouldering, but its not really set up for on-rope rock climbing.

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