Little Jerusalem Badlands – Winona, Kansas - Atlas Obscura

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Little Jerusalem Badlands

Winona, Kansas

Once an ancient sea, this landscape of rocky ravines is filled with the fossils of ancient marine life. 

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Opened as an official Kansas state park in late 2019, Little Jerusalem Badlands was once a local secret.

The badlands are around three stories tall and were given the name because they create acres of alleyways and sandstone “buildings,” similar to the look of Jerusalem. While visitors can’t walk through the deep cuts of the badlands or climb, there is a more than two-mile out and back trail that provides up close and captivating views.

The park features is made up of 220 acres of Smoky Hill Chalk badlands. This is part of a larger geological deposit that is known to have exceptionally well-preserved marine reptiles. Long ago, this area was covered by a great sea. Some of the fossilized remains found here date back as far as 85 million years ago, and include giant clams and oysters.

Over the course of millions of years, the sea dried up and the long-buried chalk layer was exposed at the surface. Erosion from wind and water sculpted the landscape into the rocky ravines that you can see here today. Little Jerusalem is one of the best examples of badlands in Kansas. If you happen to be traveling along I-70, stretching your legs at Little Jerusalem is a must.

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