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Ain't No Sunflower Higher
Mount Sunflower (elevation 4,039') is the high point in the state of Kansas. It is in far western Kansas, about 1/2 mile from the Colorado border.
Although Mount Sunflower is quite a distance from the Rocky Mountains, it still owes its lofty height to the Rockies. According to the Kansas Geological Survey, the High Plains upon which Mount Sunflower lies were built up from massive amounts of sand, gravel, and other rock debris worn off the Rockies and carried east by flowing streams millions of years ago. As streams deposited the sediment, it formed into a giant wedge called the Ogallala Formation, which is the foundation for the High Plains.
Mount Sunflower is not a peak or a summit, and some people would describe it as a barely noticeable rise in the middle of a field; however, those people would surely be lacking in vision!
This is not a hike, per se; instead, you just drive your vehicle up to Mount Sunflower and park next to the summit. The summit is on private land, and over the years the landowners have erected a small shrine for Mount Sunflower, including a covered picnic area, a metal sculpture, rocks, a mailbox which contains a guest register, and a memorial to Edward and Elizabeth Harold, who homesteaded the area in 1905.
The guest register includes an invitation to stop by the ranch house and tell "about your trials and tribulations to the lofty summit. Local guides are also available at the homestead for an outrageous fee."
More details on Mount Sunflower can be found on the Kansas Travel website.
Mount Sunflower is located on private land, although no permit or fee is needed. However, please treat the property as if it was your own; after all, that is the right thing to do!
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