Saturday, October 24, 2020

Mount Sunflower - Kansas High Point

The hardest part of getting to the top of Mount Sunflower, the high point of Kansas, is driving there. We did 23 miles of dirt roads, albeit good dirt roads, driving in from eastern Colorado. GPS is highly recommended as the roads are not all well marked. Because an internet connection is not always available, the map should be pre-loaded. As we got near I was actually able to guess where the high point was, because there was a small rise from the surrounding terrain, but it only has 19 feet of prominence. 
One of the dirt roads with a sign for Mount Sunflower.
Mount Sunflower's high point presentation may be my favorite so far. It is whimsical and fun. The nickname of Kansas is "The Sunflower State" and the sunflower is the official state flower.  Travelers on the Santa Fe Trail noted the presence of sunflowers. State law once labeled it a "noxious weed," but it has become an important crop, providing sunflower oil and biodiesel fuel. So why not name the high point mountain, such as it is, after the state nickname? The entrance dirt road to the "summit" is covered by a cattle guard and sports a sign and multiple sunflowers made out of railroad spikes. 
The entry gate over the dirt road to the "summit."

The summit monument is in the square, looking from the entrance.

Land next door covered with stocks from harvested corn. 
A small fenced enclosure at the highpoint has several metal representations of sunflowers, a mailbox containing a summit registry, and a stone memorial to "Edward and Elizabeth (Fortin) Harold" who homesteaded in Wallace County in 1906. The owners of the land, Ed and Cindy Harold, put up the stone memorial to honor Ed's grandparents which is located in Wallace County, Kansas. 

A sunflower made of railroad spikes.

Nearby is a covered picnic table with a small free library. 

Mount Sunflower has an elevation of 4,039 feet, the 28th tallest high point among the U.S. states. 


  1. I have a sunflower necklace that I bought last time we were in Kansas and it's one of my favorite pieces of travel jewelry. Seeing this spot was especially fun, and the self-aware humor made me love Kansas even more. How can you not love a place that puts a small library in the middle of a field, or that has a sign telling you how far you are from Stockholm, or that has a sunflower made of rusty bicycle chains as decorations? I loved it.

  2. I just came across Mt.Sunflower on Wikipedia.I drove from New jersey to Denver for a job in 1993..and was somewhat surprised by the altitude signs along route 70. They kept going up and all I saw was a pool table of friendly grasses to the horizon.This was prior to Google and the Internet . So I inquired of a cop along the way . He explained it to me. Said he never figured it out and until he was an adult.😂