Fort Larned National Historic Site

Quick Facts

Fort Larned National Historic Site

Kansas

(620) 285-6911

Map Directions

Things To Do

     

Overview

Fort Larned was established in 1859 as a base of military operations against hostile Indians of the Central Plains, to protect traffic along the Santa Fe Trail and as an agency for the administration of the Central Plains Indians by the Bureau of Indian Affairs under the terms of the Fort Wise Treaty of 1861. With nine restored buildings, it survives as one of the best examples of Indian Wars period forts. Most of the buildings including: barracks, commissary, officers quarters and more, are furnished to their original appearance. Fort Larned National Historic Site takes visitors back to this turbulent era in the nation's history.

Map of Fort Larned

Latitude, Longitude: 38.183632, -99.217003

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Activities

  • Hiking

    Adjacent to the fort buildings, a short, level nature trail winds in a 1/2-mile semicircle around the dry oxbow of the Pawnee Fork. The nature trail offers opportunities to view grassland, woodland, and riparian plants and animals. Fort Larned is on the Central Flyway, a major bird migration route, and can be a great place to observe bird life.

  • Historic Sites

    Visitors have the unique opportunity to tour the nation's best-preserved and best-restored fort from the Indian Wars period. You can visit with rangers in the visitor center to get information about visiting the site. Tour the museum, watch a 10-minute A/V program and browse the bookstore. Explore the museum's displays of historic artifacts, profiles of notable people at Fort Larned, and information about the fort.

    When you walk the grounds and tour the historic buildings, you might meet living history staff in period dress who will tell you about life at the fort in the 1860s and 1870s. Ranger-guided tours of the fort may be available; groups must call in advance to make group tour reservations.

    Five miles from Fort Larned, you can view a detached portion of Fort Larned NHS that contains historic Santa Fe Trail ruts.

    For an unforgettable experience, visit Fort Larned NHS on a special event weekend. With help from the site's dedicated volunteers, the fort buzzes with life and activity including living history, weapons demonstrations, and other special activities.

    There is also an advanced Junior Ranger program called 'Beyond the Brochure' for adults who want to continue to learn and earn a badge.

  • Picnicking

    A picnic area with several picnic shelters, fresh water, shade trees, and restrooms is located at the entrance to Fort Larned National Historic site. The picnic area is only open during the park's open hours, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Seasonality/Weather

Western Kansas has a four season climate typified by long, warm summers, cool winters, short spring and fall seasons, and nearly constant breeze. Humidity is relatively low compared to the eastern portion of the state.

The average high is 70 or above May through October. July and August are the warmest months with average highs in the 90s. July is the wettest month with an average of about 3.7 inches of rain. Winter is milder than more northern latitudes with average lows in December through February of 18 to 22 degrees Fahrenheit. Snow does occur in winter and can drift substantially.

The potential for violent storms and tornadoes exists mainly in spring. In the event of a violent storm or tornado, Fort Larned staff will direct visitors to planned safe zones.

Park Partners

Directions

Driving

Fort Larned National Historic Site is located on KS Hwy 156, six miles west of Larned, KS.

From I-70 Westbound: Take exit 225 for KS 156. Turn left and follow KS 156 approximately 82 miles to Fort Larned National Historic Site.

From I-70 Eastbound: Take exit 159 for US Hwy 183 south. Follow Hwy 183 about 49 miles south to KS 156. Turn left on KS 156 and continue about 5 miles to Fort Larned National Historic Site.

From Dodge City: Follow Hwy 56 to Hwy 183 north. Follow 183 north to KS 156. Turn right on KS 156 and continue 5 miles to Fort Larned NHS.

From Wichita: There are several possible routes. If you prefer major highways, follow Hwy 54 west of Wichita to Hwy 183 north in Greensburg, KS. Follow Hwy 183 north to KS 156. Turn right on KS 156 and continue 5 miles to Fort Larned NHS. If you prefer a shorter distance, follow KS 96 north from Wichita to US Hwy 50 west in Hutchinson. Follow US Hwy 50 west to KS 19. Follow KS 19 north into Larned. Turn left on KS 156 and continue 6 miles to Fort Larned NHS.

Fort Larned's parking lot is 1/4 mile from the park entrance. The parking lot a pull-through design that easily accommodates RVs and vehicles pulling trailers. From the parking lot, it is a short walk across the river to the fort. For handicap parking, continue across the bridge to the handicap parking area closer to the Visitor Center.

Flying

Great Bend Municipal Airport is the nearest airfield with commercial flights, located about 26 miles from Fort Larned NHS. Other nearby airports include those in Hays, KS (56 miles); Dodge City, KS (61 miles); and Wichita, KS (135 miles).

Phone Numbers

Primary

(620) 285-6911

Links