Wildlife Watching Sites in
on the map markers or the names in the list below to learn about
It's not exactly the Alps but it is the highest point in Kansas! Mount Sunflower, 0.5 miles east of the Colorado border in Wallace County, has an elevation of 4,039 feet and consists of a gently sloping hill of shortgrass prairie. Fun-loving visitors fill the register with comments typical of mountain-climbing adventurers.
Many species of western wildlife are found in the surrounding grassland. Pronghorns are here as well as south of U.S. 40 between Sharon Springs and the Colorado border and on K-27 north from Sharon Springs to the Sherman County line. Mule deer, coyotes, black-tailed jackrabbits and swift fox all live in the surrounding prairie. Early morning and late evening are the best times to watch for them. Along the sand roadways are many burrows of both nocturnal (active at night) Ord's kangaroo rats and diurnal (active in the day) thirteen-lined ground squirrels. Ground squirrels are also common on Mount Sunflower itself. The most visible birds in the area include horned larks and Lapland longspurs during winter and early spring. During summer, vesper sparrows, Cassin's sparrows, and western meadowlarks are found. You may also spot ferruginous, Swainson's, and red-tailed hawks and, if you're lucky, golden eagles.
If you are here in the spring, take a side excursion to the old Sherman State Fishing Lake. Due to the fact it is dry most of the time, it is now a state Wildlife Area. There are excellent viewing opportunities for deer fawns on late May and early June evenings.
Camping not allowed.
No developed trails.
Directions: From Sharon Springs travel 15.5 miles west on U.S. 40 to an intersection with a gravel road. Follow signs to Mount Sunflower, 11 miles north and 1 mile west. Sherman State Wildlife Area lies along the Smoky Hill River, 8 miles south and 3 miles west of Goodland. For a Google Map of this site, click here.
Ownership: Private; Ed & Cindy Harold
Questions or comments about Natural Kansas may be directed to
Questions or comments about Natural Kansas may be directed to Jim Mason