But it turns out Kansas has its own version of Garden of the Gods … sort of. Last month when I was initially planning to pay a visit to Kanopolis State Park while in Salina to cover the state wrestling tournament — an idea that was scrapped when a snowstorm rolled in — trail running friend Nick Lang recommended also visiting Mushroom Rock State Park.
He insisted it wouldn’t take much time, but that it would be time well spent.
Last week, I returned to Salina to cover the basketball state tournament. This time the skies were sunny and the temperature was unusually warm for early March. I tossed my hiking boots in the trunk and made plans to head to Kanopolis.
I set out early Friday morning from my Salina hotel, and when I was about five miles outside of KSP I saw a sign for Mushroom Rock State Park. I made a right turn and drove about two miles down a dirt road.
Suddenly, there it was — all five acres of it.
Mushroom Rock State Park is Kansas’ smallest state park, and it’s exactly what its name implies. It has a few big rocks that look like mushrooms. The formations are sandstone and sedimentary rock that have been shaped by the elements.
Only a few formations exist, which is what makes their existence in the middle of a field so bizarre.
There wasn’t much to do at the park besides gawk for a bit, snap a few photos, take a bit of video and then head back down the road toward Kanopolis. It was worth taking a peek, though, and will be a good picnic stop on future trips to the area.