Mushroom Rocks Loop

Mushroom Rock State Park, Kansas

Trip Date: Thursday, May 7th, 2020
Last Updated: Thursday, May 28th, 2020
By Ricky Holzer

Hike Information

Rating ★★★★☆(4/5)
Overall Difficulty Easy
Navigation Difficulty     Easy
Distance 0.4 miles roundtrip
Time 20 minutes
Terrain Mostly flat
Best Seasons All
Family Friendly Yes
Dog Friendly Yes
Accessible No


Hike Summary

Smack in the middle of Kansas, you'll find the fascinating geological oddity known as the mushroom rocks. These rocks began forming in the Cretaceous Period, the era of the T-rex, when Kansas was covered by an ocean and beach sand and animal bones piled up and created rock layers. After years of erosion, the rocks took on unique shapes and were used by the early pioneers (and probably the Native Americans before them) as a meeting place. Just as many have before, you should put a trip to these cool rocks on your bucket list!

This park is in a particularly pretty part of Kansas, filled with rolling grassy hills and unique rocks. The surrounding farms are perfectly picturesque, as pictured below. The biggest surprise is yet to come though, as you pull up to Mushroom Rock State Park.

A very Kansas scene of windmill and rolling prairie

A very Kansas scene of windmill and rolling prairie

Some of the rocks are directly visible from the road, like the giant walnut-esque rock pictured below. You may have noticed that the otherwise straight country road curved ever so slightly to make room for this chunk.
This massive walnut of a rock is right next to the road

This massive walnut of a rock is right next to the road

If you continue north from the walnut, you'll see your first mushroom rock. Oddballs like this were shaped by nonuniform weathering, a fancy term meaning that the rock forming the "cap" of the mushroom is harder than the "stem" causing the "stem" to erode faster. Pretty neat!
A distinctly mushroom-shaped rock

A distincly mushroom-shaped rock

You can find a trail on the western edge of the park near the fence. The trail forms a short loop and takes you around to some more formations embedded in the hillside, like the clam-shaped rock pictured below (I like how all the rocks remind me of food).
This rock reminds me of a clam

This rock reminds me of a clam

After fininshing the loop, go across the road, where you'll find a bridge over a small creek. The trail leads you to the highlight of the park and the most perfectly mushroomy rock here, as pictured below. Sit here and enjoy the scenery for a bit, then turn around when you're done.
The most mushroomy of all the rocks is on the southern end of the park

The most mushroomy of all the rocks is on the southern end of the park

This trip will show you that Kansas is full of surprises. Continue to Kanopolis State Park, and you'll discover even more! Connect with me using the social media links below and share your adventures!

Important Information

Dogs are allowed on leash. This is a perfect stop for anyone of any age or ability level -- even if you can't walk around the whole park, many of the rocks are visible from the road. You can visit in any season, though the dirt roads here may be more difficult to drive during and after inclement weather. Expect to see people no matter when you visit; if you want alone time with the rocks, come early or late in the day or wait for others to leave.


From the west on Interstate 70
Take the exit for Kansas Highway 14, then turn right towards Ellsworth. In Ellsworth, turn left onto Kansas Highway 140. Watch for a brown sign for Mushroom Rock State Park, then turn right onto 25th Road, a dirt road. Turn left onto Avenue K, and you'll soon see Mushroom Rock State Park on both sides of the road.

From the east on Interstate 70
Take the exit for Interstate 135 south, then take the exit for Kansas Highway 140 and turn right. Turn left onto Kansas highway 141, then turn right onto Avenue K, following the signs for Mushroom Rock State Park. Soon you'll reach the parking area.

Google Maps Directions

Parking, Fees, and Facilities

Parking is free! There is a pit toilet and a picnic area in the park.

Nearby Hikes

The middle falls are the most impressive
Chase Lake Falls

External Links