Hidden down a country dirt road lies the smallest of Kansas state parks. As one of the 8 wonders of Kansas geography, Mushroom Rock State Park is 5 acre property sporting two sections separated by the dirt road and a small bridge. The mushroom formations are in various states. Some truly look like a mushroom. Others, seem to be toppled over into other beautiful formations.
These rocks are the remains of beach sands and sediments of the Cretaceous Period are from about 144 to 66 million years ago. Sandstone and sedimentary rock is held together by natural cement. The concretions that make up Mushroom Rocks are cemented calcium carbonate. The largest rock measures 27 feet in diameter.
All have paths or clearings around the formations, so they can be viewed on all sides. At one point, we climbed up the side of the hill for overlooking on top of one. It was good to be out and moving again. Of note: everyone practiced social distancing, politely waiting for people going one way on the bridge to clear it before crossing themselves.
Visitors can touch the rocks, in fact, there is old graffiti on many of the formations. I found one there from 1927 on the “Sitting Rock”. Rebels through history! There was no spray paint, just carvings, slowly being worn away by the Kansas wind.
History: The rocks served as meeting places and landmarks for Native Americans and early pioneers such as John C. Fremont and Kit Carson.
Location: Prairie Trail Scenic Byway northwest of Marquette about 5 miles north of Kanopolis Reservoir and State Park, 3 miles west of K-141 on Avenue K, a county road or south of K-140 from Caneiro on 25th Road
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