Pillsbury Crossing Wildlife Area

Pillsbury Crossing
Pillsbury Crossing - Photo by Jim Mason

At this spot, Deep Creek flows over a limestone ledge and forms a waterfall with a drop of about 4 feet. Just upstream, about 100 feet of the road crosses the ledge and vehicles travel through several inches of water. (Be careful - during high water this road is not passable!)

This is a pleasant picnic spot, and the kids will enjoy wading in the rock-bottomed creek. Beaver activity is visible on the trees, and wood ducks are sometimes seen.

You may put in a canoe, kayak or other small, non-motorized boat here and go as far as 1/2 mile upstream from the site.

The riparian woodlands also attract a variety of birds and many squirrels. A great blue heron rookery has been active in recent years a short distance away (you'll need binoculars or spotting scopes). The birds usually occupy the nests by mid-March. This is on private property and the birds are easily disturbed. Please view them from the road.

bulletADA - accessible toilet.

Camping icon Primitive camping with special permit only.

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Trail icon A short hiking trail leads through the woods from the parking lot on the west side along the edge of the creek, and up to a prairie overlook.  The riparian corridor has many large oak and hackberry trees in it.

Pillsbury trail

Pillsbury Crossing map

Location in KansasDirections: From the bridge over the Kansas River at the south edge of Manhattan, travel 1.7 miles southeast on K-177 to Riley County 911. Travel east 3.9 miles to an intersection (red dot) that is easily missed as the road bends south. Go left on Pillsbury Crossing Road and travel another 2.3 miles east to Pillsbury Crossing Wildlife Area (circled on the map).  For a Google Map of this site, click here.

To see the site of the heron rookery, return to Riley County 911 and head south for 1.5 miles. The pavement turns into a rock road and passes the Deep Creek Schoolhouse. The colony occupied the large sycamore trees in the creek bottom to the east.

Ownership: The entity responsible for management of Pillsbury Crossing is the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks & Tourism.  Contact them at (785) 537-9804 if you have specific questions about use or management of this site.
You may download the KDWPT brochure on Pillsbury Crossing from their web site.

 59 acres

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Re-publication of site content in any form other than for personal use requires written permission.  If you are a Kansas resident, please assist with this and other wildlife viewing and conservation programs by contributing to the Chickadee Checkoff on your state tax form.

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Questions or comments about Natural Kansas may be directed to Jim Mason