A view from the Overlook Trail at Little Jerusalem Badlands State Park in Kansas.
Little Jerusalem A view from the Overlook Trail at Little Jerusalem Badlands State Park in Kansas. © © Mickey Shannon

Places We Protect

Little Jerusalem Badlands State Park

Kansas

Little Jerusalem Badlands State Park is now open!

These badlands are Kansas’ most dramatic Niobrara chalk formation. They provide unique and important habitat for many plants and wildlife. Native amphibians, reptiles and birds such as ferruginous hawks and cliff swallows live here. Little Jerusalem is also home to the largest population of Great Plains wild buckwheat. This native plant is found in the chalk bluffs prairie of western Kansas and nowhere else in the world.

Long ago, this area was a great sea. In addition to the present-day wildlife, the remains of swimming and flying reptiles dating back 85 million years have been found here. Ancient giant clams and oysters are common fossils in these badlands. 

The chalk outcroppings have had many names. In the late 19th century, they were said to resemble the ruins of many castles, thus “Castle City.” Some say that it got the name “Little Jerusalem” or “New Jerusalem” because from a distance it looks like the ancient walled city of Jerusalem. By the time The Nature Conservancy acquired the property, most modern-day locals and geologists knew it by the name of Little Jerusalem.

This park was also once part of the McGuire Ranch. After five generations of family ownership, it is now a park the public can hike and enjoy. Explore the trails to view the rock formations, some of which tower more than 100 feet above the nearby Smoky Hill River. From varying points along the marked trails, and in different light, you’ll find the rocks appear dramatically different. 

Little Jerusalem is owned by The Nature Conservancy. TNC partnered with the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks & Tourism to make portions of the area open to the public.

Little Jerusalem Badlands State Park is located in Logan county in western Kansas, an equal distance from the cities of Oakley to the north and Scott City to the south. The park is open sunup to sundown daily, all year round, including holidays, with two, permanent hiking trails that take you to multiple scenic overlooks at your own pace.

The Overlook Trail extends one-quarter mile along a crushed rock surface to scenic viewpoint. Terrain: loose rock surface and gentle gradients.

The Life on the Rocks Trail winds 1.5 miles along the rim of the rocks with multiple bends to provide a variety of views and two scenic overlooks. Terrain: crushed rock surface and gentle gradients for all abilities for the first 2/3 mile (3,500 feet) to the first overlook; natural surface trail with moderate slopes for the next 1/2 mile (2,766 feet) to the second overlook.       

All Kansas State Park regulations apply at Little Jerusalem Badlands State Park. Visitors are not allowed off-trail unless accompanied by park staff on a guided tour.

Tour & Event Schedule

Guided tours are provided by the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks & Tourism. The tour and event schedule varies by season and more tours are added regularly.

Check the Little Jerusalem Calendar from KDWPT (tipclick on the calendar icon under the photo once redirected). Email sarakay.carrell@ks.gov to reserve a space on a tour or inquire about large groups and other events.

Fees

Visitors are required to purchase a daily Kansas State Parks vehicle permit, currently $5, at the park or have an annual Kansas state parks vehicle pass. 

Facilities

The only facilities at the park are two restrooms which will be closed during the freezing months. There is no potable water, so please plan accordingly.  Take all trash, including pet waste, with you.

Driving Directions

Little Jerusalem Badlands State Park is located north of the intersection of County Road 400 and Gold Road in southern Logan County, Kansas. 

  • Turn west on Gold Road from US Highway 83.
  • Continue on Gold Road for approximately 3 1/2 miles.
  • Turn north on 400 Road; continue for 1 mile.
  • Don't forget to stop at the Pay Station before passing through the gates to the parking lot.

Get directions on GoogleMaps.

Lat/Long         38.80280561                -100.9282032
UTM                 332574.728                  4296632.357                                                                                                                  

Frequent Questions

The Basics

  • Where is Little Jerusalem Badlands State Park located?

    Little Jerusalem Badlands State Park is located north of the intersection of County Road 400 and Gold Road in southern Logan County, Kansas. 

    Driving Directions to Little Jerusalem Badlands State Park:

    • Turn west on Gold Road from US Highway 83.
    • Continue on Gold Road for approximately 3 1/2 miles.
    • Turn north on 400 Road; continue for 1 mile.
    • Don't forget to stop at the Pay Station before passing through the gates to the parking lot.

    Get directions on GoogleMaps.

    Coordinates for Little Jerusalem Badlands State Park:
    Lat/Long         

    38.80280561                -100.9282032 

    UTM               
    332574.728                  4296632.357

  • How are the roads to Little Jerusalem?

    Access roads to Little Jerusalem Badlands State Park are public gravel roadways maintained by the county.  There may be times when the roads are not accessible.

    The parking lot and turn-around for RVs and buses is natural surface that may also get muddy or difficult to access. There are two designated, paved handicapped parking spaces.

  • When can I visit?

    Little Jerusalem Badlands State Park will be open to visitors sunup to sundown daily, all year round, including holidays. 

  • How do I register for a guided tour?

    Guided tours are scheduled by the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks & Tourism. The tour and event schedule varies by season and more tours are added regularly.

    Check the Little Jerusalem Calendar from KDWPT (tip: click on the calendar icon under the photo once redirected).

    Reserve a space on a tour by emailing sarakay.carrell@ks.gov or calling the office at Historic Lake Scott State Park, 620-872-2061.

    For large group tours, private tours or other special tour requests, email sarakay.carrell@ks.gov.

    Reservations are not needed to hike the two designated trails.

  • What is the cost of admission?

    Visitors are required to purchase a daily vehicle permit, currently $5, at the park or have an annual Kansas state parks vehicle pass

    Regularly scheduled guided tours will be free of charge.

    Daily permits can be purchased with cash or check upon arrival at the Pay Station located just prior to the parking lot entrance gate. (Look for the large orange Rules & Regulations signs.) You may also purchase a daily pass in advance for $6 at https://ksoutdoors.com/State-Parks/Park-Fees.

  • Who owns Little Jerusalem Badlands State Park?

    Little Jerusalem is owned by The Nature Conservancy, a global nonprofit conservation organization. The Nature Conservancy has partnered with the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks & Tourism to make portions of the area open to the public.

  • Why is it called Little Jerusalem?

    Or: I've always heard it called New Jerusalem/Castle City/Logan County Badlands/etc.


    This collection of chalk outcroppings has had many names. In the late 19th century, it was said to resemble the ruins of many castles, thus “Castle City.” Some say that it got the name “Little Jerusalem” or “New Jerusalem” because from a distance it looks like the ancient walled city of Jerusalem. At the time The Nature Conservancy acquired the property, most modern-day locals and geologists knew it by the name of Little Jerusalem.

    Whatever the moniker, Little Jerusalem shouldn’t be confused with the Little Pyramids, Castle Rock or Monument Rocks which are equally distinctive Niobrara Chalk formations but which cover smaller areas of land. Please be respectful of these other landmarks that are also located on private property and not owned or managed by The Nature Conservancy.

PARK REGULATIONS

In the Area

Hike two designated, permanent trails at Little Jerusalem Badlands State Park.
Little Jerusalem Trails Hike two designated, permanent trails at Little Jerusalem Badlands State Park.