Pillsbury Crossing Wildlife Area
This is a pleasant picnic spot, and the kids will enjoy wading in the rock-bottomed creek. Beaver activity is visible on the trees, and wood ducks are sometimes seen.
You may put in a canoe, kayak or other small, non-motorized boat here and go as far as 1/2 mile upstream from the site.
The riparian woodlands also attract a variety of birds and many squirrels. A great blue heron rookery has been active in recent years a short distance away (you'll need binoculars or spotting scopes). The birds usually occupy the nests by mid-March. This is on private property and the birds are easily disturbed. Please view them from the road.
Primitive camping with special permit only.
Directions: From the bridge over the Kansas River at the south edge of Manhattan, travel 1.7 miles southeast on K-177 to Riley County 911. Travel east 3.9 miles to an intersection (red dot) that is easily missed as the road bends south. Go left on Pillsbury Crossing Road and travel another 2.3 miles east to Pillsbury Crossing Wildlife Area (circled on the map). For a Google Map of this site, click here.
To see the site of the heron rookery, return to Riley County 911 and head south for 1.5 miles. The pavement turns into a rock road and passes the Deep Creek Schoolhouse. The colony occupied the large sycamore trees in the creek bottom to the east.
The entity responsible for management of Pillsbury
Crossing is the Kansas
Department of Wildlife, Parks &
Tourism. Contact them at (785) 537-9804
if you have specific questions about use or management of this site.
Questions or comments about Natural Kansas may be directed to