Take a drive on the Western Vistas Historic Byway.
Itinerary for day trip on the southern portion of the byway.
Estimated Exploration time, 4-6 hours.
Start in Oakley at US Hwy 83 and Second Street, the site of the 2x life sized bronze sculpture of Buffalo Bill. Stop in at the cabin gift shop for coffee and a map of the byway. Take a short drive down Second Street into town and visit the Fick Fossil & History Museum where you will see many fossils found in this area, a soddie house and historical artifacts from the Smoky Hill Trail.
With map in hand, head south on Hwy 83 out of Oakley. About 25 miles south, turn east on Jayhawk Roakd and take a drive through Monument Rocks. Don’t forget your camera, and don’t be shy about getting out of the car and getting dirty. Visit Keystone Gallery & Gift Shop on your way out to check out the marine fossils and other historical artifacts on display.
Take a buffalo ranch tour at the Duff Meat Ranch just south of the Keystone Gallery. Your tour will take you through a herd of almost 400 head of buffalo. Your tour guide will load you in the back of a pickup – or a flat bed trailer if you have a pack of people – and you will ride into and along side the buffalo. Book your tour ahead of time to ensure a spot for the day and time you are going.
After your tour, continue south on Hwy 83 to Scott City and visit the El Quartelo Museum and Jerry Thomas Art Gallery. The theme of the El Quartelejo Museum is a developing story line, one which traces the history of this region of western Kansas through the stories told by the fossil discoveries on exhibit to present day Scott County information. Visitors can choose to either follow the story line, or simply browse in areas which are of interest to them. Separate displays are set up in several different rooms, and rotating exhibits change often. Appeal for both adults a nd children has been achieved. Exhibits allow youngsters to touch and even “dig” for their own fossils. Two distinct areas of the museum house local Indian and Pioneer History, while a third room has antique farm machinery, along with horse-drawn buggies from the early 1900s. A major addendum to the facility occurred in 2010: The Jerry Thomas Gallery and Collection, containing the work of nationally recognized Wildlife and Western Artist, Jerry Thomas. reprinted from the El Quartelejo Museum website.