After leaving Denver, we started hightailing it across the Midwest toward home, picking kind of random places to spend our next two nights. First stop: Dodge City, Kansas, a six-hour drive southeast from Denver. We knew of it as a Wild West town, so it seemed potentially interesting. Our main takeaway from our evening in town: it smells like cow poo. That should have been no surprise, as the largest industry in Dodge City is meatpacking, and the town is surrounded by feedlots. There’s even a tourist attraction that is a feedlot overlook. Why???
Exploring Dodge City
Maybe it was due to Covid, but nothing was open downtown and it was depressing. We walked around and read the historic markers along the Trail of Fame, and learned that most of the historic buildings downtown were razed in the 70s to make room for a highway and parking lots. The historic area now is mostly replicas. Here’s a walking tour of downtown if you have more time and desire to explore.
There are two drinking establishments of note (at least, of interest to us) in downtown Dodge City: Boot Hill Distillery and Dodge City Brewing. We felt uncomfortable in the distillery with all the maskless people and lack of social distancing and low ceilings. The brewery had a bit of outdoor space, and inside was airier and everyone wore masks and followed the spacing rules. So the brewery got our business, and their sours were nice!
Hiking not terribly close by
In the morning, on the way to our next stopover, Joplin MO, we hiked several miles on the fifteen-mile Elk River Trail. Some say it’s the prettiest hike in Kansas. We started at the east trailhead and hiked around cliffs and jumbly boulders up to a bluff with views over Elk City Lake. The hike is 4.5 hours east of Dodge City, but we were passing close to a trailhead, and it made a pleasant stop.
The parking lot is smallish, but the Airstream fit along the edge.
No offense, but Dodge City was a dud of a destination.