Aug 09

Follow the Gunsmoke Trail Through Kansas!

Posted on August 9, 2023 at 3:17 PM by Abby Artz


Howdy, partners, and welcome to the Gunsmoke Trail! This road trip visits four cities in Kansas that had a role in Gunsmoke, the Emmy award-winning primetime Western that entertained audiences for 20 years.

The show still runs on select networks, with iconic characters telling the story of frontier life in the Old West. Several present-day cities in Kansas play a part in the show’s storylines, including Wichita, Abilene, Hays City (now Hays), and of course, Dodge City. Each community has opportunities to look back on the region’s Wild West days which are accessible and fun for all ages. For fans who want to experience the cities that inspired the show, we invite you to explore the Gunsmoke Trail.

"Gunsmoke" is a television western drama series based in and around Dodge City, Kansas during the settlement of the American West. "Gunsmoke" is the longest running western in television history, originally running from 1955 to 1975 totalling 635 episodes. It was the most watched show from 1957 to 1961. Each episode follows the life of Marshal Matt Dillon as he attempts to keep peace in and around the city.


Fun fact: Gunsmoke writer Mary Kathlene Hite was born in Wichita, Kansas, on June 17, 1917. She graduated from Wichita State University, majoring in journalism and history. Many think Kathlene Hite was the best writer Gunsmoke ever had. 

Old Cowtown Museum

This outdoor living history museum features more than 50 historic buildings from the late 1800s including a saloon, blacksmith shop, and sheriff's office.

Address: 1865 W Museum Blvd, Wichita, KS 67203, United States,  Phone: 1 316-350-3323

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Wichita-Sedgwick County Historical Museum

Housed in a beautiful 1890s building, this museum showcases the history of Wichita and Sedgwick County. It includes exhibits about the cattle industry, transportation and early settlers.

Address: 204 S Main St, Wichita, KS 67202, United States,  Phone: 1 316-265-9314

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Old Town Wichita

This historic district features brick-lined streets, old-fashioned lampposts that you can tie a horse to and unique shops and restaurants.

Address: 830 E 1st St #3, Wichita, KS 67202, United States,  Phone: (316) 264-6005

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The Keeper of the Plains

This iconic statue stands at the confluence of Arkansas and Little Arkansas Rivers and is a symbol of Wichita. The dramatic setting, with the river and the city skyline in the background, would make for a memorable Western film scene.

Address: 650 N Seneca St, Wichita, KS 67203, United States,  Phone: 1 316-383-6919

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Chisolm Trail

A historic cattle-drive route that passed through Wichita in the late 1800s.

Phone: (316) 219-9777

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The Mid-America All-Indian Museum

A museum dedicated to Native American and Indigenous history and culture in North America.

Address: 650 N Seneca St, Wichita, KS 67203,  Phone: (316) 350-3340

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Historic Delano District

Located along Douglas Avenue on the west bank of the Arkansas River at the end of the Chisholm Trail, Delano District was established during the days of the Chisholm Trail cattle drives as a place for the cowboys to blow off steam after months on the trail from Texas. Today, it is a historic neighborhood with a variety of restaurants, shops, and entertainment venues.

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Before heading to Dodge City to help his friend, Marshal Dillon, Wild Bill Hickok served as sheriff in the wild and wooly Cowtown of Abilene, Kansas. 


Old Abilene Town

See the Chisholm Trail Museum and Interpretive Trail Center in the Way Station at Old Abilene Town. Visitors can stroll the boardwalk, just as Wild Bill Hickok did during Abilene’s wild and woolly days. Get a taste of the Old West by drinking an ice-cold sarsaparilla and watching can-can dancers as they perform on stage and on the bar from the original Alamo Saloon. Gunfighters stage mock shoot-outs during the summer travel season. Old Abilene Town also hosts Chisholm Trail Days during Labor Day weekend. Enjoy live cattle drives through Old Abilene Town, reenactors, country music performances and more! Be sure to check out the Great Western Cattle Co. building to see a complete re-creation of Abilene’s original Texas Street. Tip: Make sure to see the Bull’s Head Saloon Longhorn at the Trail Center in Old Abilene Town- According to a signed document, the bullhead is from the Bull Head Saloon that belonged to “Shotgun Ben” Thompson in Abilene. It was the headquarters for the drovers who trailed cattle from Texas to Kansas in the late 1860s and 1870s.

Address: 201 SE 5th St., Abilene, KS 67410

Dickinson County Heritage Center

Learn about Dickinson County’s famous former residents, from C.L. Brown — whose telephone company eventually became known as Sprint — to Abilene’s former Marshal Wild Bill Hickok to Joseph McCoy, who brought hundreds of thousands of cattle to Abilene in the 1860s, making the community a booming Cowtown at the end of the Chisholm Trail. Tip: Make sure to check out the Wild Bill Hickok Bronze Statue and a replica of his gun on display. 

Address: 412 S. Campbell St., Abilene, KS 67410

World’s Largest Belt Buckle

At 19 feet 10 ½ inches wide and 13 feet 11 ¼ inches tall, Abilene is home to the World’s Largest Belt Buckle. Climb the spiral staircase to the top to take your photo “wearing” the buckle!

Address: 400 N. Pine St., Abilene, KS 67410

Big Spur

At 28 feet high, the big spur stands on its ends to form an arch and weighs a ton. It was built by Larry Houston in 2002 and was certified as the World’s Largest Spur by Guinness World Records until 2017.

Address: 1810 N. Buckeye Ave., Abilene, KS 67410

Cowboy Boots

Celebrating its cowboy roots, the Cowboy Boot project pays homage to T.C. McInerney’s Drovers Boot Store from the 1870s. The Arts Council of Dickinson County, Quality of Life Coalition of Dickinson County and Community Foundation of Dickinson County joined forces to add cowboy boot art throughout the community.

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Celebrate the Old West by visiting murals around town!

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Tom “Bear River” Smith Tombstone

Before Hickock, there was Smith. In 1870, Abilene had had enough. The city hired two professional police officers from St Louis, Missouri. They arrived on the morning train and resigned by the end of the day, taking the midnight train going back east. They had quit, saying they could not handle the job. The city fathers then hired Tom “Bear River” Smith as their first city marshal. Smith was unknown to the cowboys but soon found out he was not to be taken lightly. 

Address: 501 NW 4th St., Abilene, KS, 67410

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Wild Bill Hickok Rodeo

Today, Abilene honors Wild Bill's Legacy with not only a mural and museum exhibits but an entire PRCA rodeo named after him. The Wild Bill Hickok Rodeo, named one of the best medium-sized PRCA rodeos in the country, attracts thousands of spectators and contestants each year in August. 

Address: 600 North Pine St., Abilene, KS, 67410

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Stop for a bite to eat at the Hitching Post Restaurant and Saloon, 100 SE 5thStreet, at Old Abilene Town or Legacy Kansas – Munson’s Prime & Brookville Hotel, 105 E Lafayette Ave. Or grab a drink at Abilene’s newest bar the Dizzy Donkey Saloon, 311 N Spruce St. 


Kitty Russell: You going to Hays for the trial?
Marshal Matt Dillon: I'll have to.
Kitty Russell: That'll take about a week, I suppose.
Marshal Matt Dillon: About. Why?
Kitty Russell: Nothing. Only you've just been away for ten days.
Marshal Matt Dillon: I have to earn a living, Kitty.


Historic Walking Tour

Discover where history walked the streets of old Hays City on the bricks in downtown Hays. Bronze plaques mark the route and tell the story behind the sites.

Historic Fort Hays Site

Take a step back in time at the Historic Fort Hays Site that was home to the 7th U.S. Cavalry commanded by Colonel George A. Custer. A visitors center and four of the original structures – the stone block house, guardhouse, and two officer’s quarters – are open for guided tours. Admission is free!

Address: 1472 US Highway 183 Alt, Hays, KS 67601, Phone: (785) 625-6812

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Find a Felten 

Take the Treasure Hunt Tour of local artist, Pete Felten’s, limestone sculptures that decorate the community. Among these works, you will find familiar faces of Buffalo Bill Cody (public library) and Wild Bill Hickok (pavilion).  


Explore murals featuring historic Old West icons and elements of Hays’ history throughout downtown Hays.

Bison Herd

Stroll through Frontier Park and see the gentle giants of the Plains! The Hays bison herd began in 1952 with a bull named Wild Bill and a cow named Calamity Jane. Now the herd includes two white bison!

Address: Old Hwy 40, Hays, KS 67601

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Ellis County Historical Society 

Schedule a tour of the Younger Harness Shop, which was relocated from W. 11th Street to the Historical Society property. 

Address: 100 W. 7th St., Hays, KS 67601,  Phone: (785) 628-2624

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Hickok’s Steakhouse

If Wild Bill was still roaming the streets of Hays, he would surely be eating at Hickok’s Steakhouse. Hickok’s serves up hand cut, Midwestern Angus beef. Sit down for a hearty meal and you will be surrounded by Hays History décor.

Address: 3402 Vine St, Hays, KS 67601,  Phone: (785) 301-2442

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Paisley Pear Whiskey Flight

End your Gunsmoke tour downtown with a whiskey flight at family-owned wine, bistro and market, Paisley Pear. Here you will also find delicious bites, along with Kansas-made products and gifts.

Address: 1100 Main St, Hays, KS 67601,  Phone: (785) 621-4660

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Sunflowers and Silos Boutique, Hat Bar and Permanent Jewelry

Stop into Sunflowers and Silos, a women’s western/boho boutique to design your own personal hat.  Spouses, friends and family can enjoy the patio and shed in the back while you design your hat.  Hats aren’t your thing… that is ok! Shop the boutique or get permanent jewelry.  We have gold plated, sterling silver, Navajo Pearls and turquoise for permanent jewelry!   This will be a place you want to visit on your tour!

Address: 115 W 8th St. Hays, KS 67601, Phone: (785) 264-4327 (Appointments not necessary for hats or jewelry, but recommended)

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Dodge City 

“Get out of Dodge” is a phrase from the show: Matt Dillon would chase criminals out of the town, saying, “Get out of Dodge,” referring to Dodge City.  

Dodge photo

Boot Hill Museum

Boot Hill Museum is located on the original site of Boot Hill Cemetery and highlights the glory days as Queen of the Cowtowns with creative, lively, interactive displays and activities the entire family will enjoy. The collection at Boot Hill Museum includes more than 60,000 objects, photographs, and documents. Most of our collection is from Dodge City’s early days—the 1870s through the 1920s—and actually belonged to original residents of Dodge City.

Address: 500 W. Wyatt Earp Blvd. Dodge City, KS 67801,  Phone: 1-620-227-8188

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Santa Fe Depot

Built in 1898, the Santa Fe Depot was home to the Harvey House Hotel and El Vaquero Restaurant.

Address: 101 E. Wyatt Earp Blvd., Dodge City, KS 67801,  Phone: 1-620-225-8186

Dodge City Trail of Fame

The Dodge City Trail of Fame, Inc. is part of the Historic Dodge City Walking Tour. This portion of the trail is marked with sidewalk medallions and statuaries to commemorate the many famous and infamous denizens of historic Dodge City. Additionally, many medallions are dedicated to notable movie and television stars that have portrayed famous Dodge Citians.

Address: 400 W. Wyatt Earp Blvd., Dodge City, KS 67801,  Phone: 1-620-225-8186

Ford County Legacy Center

The Ford County Legacy Center's mission is to preserve the history of all of Ford County and its Communities of Bellefont, Bloom, Bucklin, Dodge City, Ford, Fort Dodge, Howell, Kingsdown, Spearville,  Wilroads Gardens, Wright Windhorst.

Address: 310 Gunsmoke, Dodge City, KS 67801,  Phone: 1-620-225-8186

Fort Dodge

Long before Dodge City was a hustling, bustling cattle town, Fort Dodge was established to protect railroad workers and travelers on the Santa Fe Trail from the Plains Indians.

Address E. Hwy 400, Fort Dodge, KS,  Phone: 1-620-225-8186

Gunfighters Wax Museum

Visit the Gunfighters Wax Museum and see the life-size wax figurines of famous western personalities like: Wyatt Earp, Bat Masterson, Doc Holliday, Belle Starr, Davey Crockett, Buffalo Bill, Calamity Jane, Frank and Jesse James, Billy the Kid, Doc, Miss Kitty, Festus, and many, many more!

Address: 603 Fifth Ave, Dodge City, KS 67801,  Phone: 1-620-225-7311

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Historic Walking Tour

Walk the streets of Dodge City and see where history was made.   This tour is self-guided and will take you through the streets of historic downtown Dodge City past multiple locations of interest, storyboards, pole art banners, and the Dodge City Trail of Fame medallions (including James Arness, Ben Bates,  and sculptures (including a life-size sculpture of James Arness). Guided tours are available through the Dodge City Trail of Fame.

Address: 400 W. Wyatt Earp Blvd., Dodge City, KS 67801,  Phone: 1-620-225-8186

Historic Trolley Tour

Hop on the Dodge City Trolley for a trip back to the 1870s. Visit the original locations of the Long Branch Saloon, Gospel Hill, the “deadline”, Front Street and so much more. Tour Fort Dodge, follow the path of the Santa Fe Trail and learn a few colorful stories along the way. This is a great way to get your bearings with an overview of Dodge City. Then you can plot the rest of your visit by adding those locations pointed out on the tour.

Address: 400 W. Wyatt Earp Blvd., Dodge City, KS 67801,  Phone: 1-620-225-8186

Santa Fe Trail Rut Site

The Santa Fe Trail served as the pioneer highway from 1821 to 1872 as a link from the east to Santa Fe, New Mexico. The trail allowed traders to move goods across the country safely and easily. Nine miles west of Dodge City you can see the most clearly defined rut trails, still visible after almost 150 years. The site is nestled among the gently rolling hills of the Kansas plains, where the breeze moves the grasses and the peace of nature accompanies this enduring piece of unique history. Don't miss the opportunity to see this rare landmark.

Address: Highway 50/400 (nine miles west of Dodge City),  Phone: 1-620-227-8188

Long Horn Park

A small herd of longhorn cattle graze on prairie grass in a 40 acre park located at the Dodge City Regional Airport entrance. Dedicated to the millions of wild Texas longhorns driven to Dodge City during the 1870s and 1880s, the park setting includes corrals for the longhorns and commemorative signs relaying the history of the famous cattle drives.

Address: Hwy 50 & Airport Road, Dodge City, KS 67801,  Phone: 1-620-225-8186

Mueller-Schmidt House Museum (Home of Stone)

In an 1882 bird’s-eye view of Dodge City, the Mueller-Schmidt House is proudly perched atop a hill northeast of town, alone in its new splendor and surrounded by a yard planted with trees. Built to be one of the most splendid homes in Dodge City, Ford County’s “Home of Stone” lives up to this, even today. It remains the lone limestone house in Dodge City, elegant in its simplicity of line. It can also claim the distinction of being the oldest building in Dodge City that is still on its original site.

Address: 112 E. Vine St., Dodge City, KS 67801,  Phone: 1-620-225-8186


Discover Dodge City's vibrant culture and rich history through stunning murals. These beautiful murals preserve Dodge City’s cultural heritage and traditions. Experience the artistry of these murals and be transported to another time and place.

Phone: (620) 225-8186

Learn more about these stops at the Visit Dodge website! 

Other Kansas towns mentioned in Gunsmoke include:

  • Plainville
  • Bucklin
  • Spearville
  • Meade
  • Mullinville
  • Hutchinson
  • Garden City
  • Olathe
  • Salina
  • Kalvesta
  • Leavenworth

Help us add to our list! Do you know of other Kansas towns featured in Gunsmoke? Email with additions. 

Dec 21

Basilica of St. Fidelis named Best of the Best

Posted on December 21, 2021 at 9:44 AM by Brandon Cooley

Best of the Best Basilica

Basilica of St. Fidelis named Best of the Best

Hays, Kan. — The Hays Convention and Visitors Bureau is proud to announce that the American Bus Association’s Destinations magazine recently awarded The Basilica of St. Fidelis “2021 Best of the Best” designation in the category of Culture. 

Destinations magazine’s Best of the Best honors outstanding travel industry members who go above and beyond for the group tour industry. Categories include Adventure, Culture, Entertainment, Festivals & Events, Food & Beverage, Lodging, and Shopping. 

“The Basilica is the crown jewel of our Historic Churches of Ellis County tour. It draws visitors from all over the world, 365 days a year,” said Janet Kuhn, Convention and Sales Manager for the Hays CVB. Kuhn made the nomination and secured what is the first ABA Best of the Best award for the state of Kansas.

Those designated Best of the Best have the support of their peers and customers and are known for excellent service. The Basilica of St. Fidelis was chosen out of nearly 60 entries nationwide and was one of only 23 chosen in the Culture category.

“It isn’t easy deciding where to take a group tour,” said Peter Pantuso, president & CEO of the American Bus Association. “People can be hard to please, and even if you have some favorite places, it’s always helpful when you can find somewhere new to bring guests. Each of these destinations and attractions adapted to the ever-changing landscape of the COVID-19 pandemic and provided a respite for travelers who could not imagine a world without travel. That’s why we’re honoring the Best of the Best for 2021, featuring 59 top theaters, museums, festivals, experiences, hotels, and more. These are places that will leave your customers happy and impressed.”

Destinations magazine is a guide to North America's best group travel destinations, state-by-state itineraries, planning calendars, and essential marketing and strategic insight. Published bi-monthly, Destinations is available in print and online. To read the latest issue of Destinations, visit

The American Bus Association (ABA) is the trade organization of the intercity bus industry, with more than 1,000 motorcoach and tour company members in the United States and Canada. Its members operate charter, tour, regular route, airport express, special operations, and contract services. Another 2,800 members are travel and tourism organizations and suppliers of bus products and services who work in partnership with the North American motorcoach industry. For more information, visit

Nov 30

5 Ways to "Fall" for Hays

Posted on November 30, 2021 at 2:58 PM by Brandon Cooley

FaceBook_5ways to fall

Fall is in the air, and we have a few suggestions on how to make the most of it in Hays!

1 Explore seasonal home decor1.  Explore Seasonal Home Décor

From Flowers by Frances on Vine Street to Regeena’s Flowers in Downtown Hays, our talented florists are setting the stage for Fall. With a few new pieces, you can transform your dining table or entryway into an inviting expression of the season.

2 Tailgate with the Tigers 2. Tailgate with the Tigers

Grab your favorite tailgate snack and head down to Lewis Field Stadium where grills and fans alike are fired up! Fort Hays State University home games are a great way to enjoy the crisp Fall air with friends til kickoff. Find unique Tiger gear at Simply Charmed on Main Street or the Victor E. Apparel and Gift Shop on campus.

3 Cozy up to coffee3. Cozy up to Coffee and Conversation

Breathe Coffee House is a welcoming space where you can relax with a hot cup of the house custom roast or an espresso. House-made crepes and pumpkin scones are a treat available any time of day. At Mokas, try the Toffee Cream Latte with toasted marshmallow, then stay for a Reuben for lunch!

4 Find the perfect pumpkin4. Find the Perfect Pumpkin

Whether your plans are to bake it into a pie or decorate your front porch, you can find the perfect pumpkin – along with kids’ activities and alpacas – at Pa’s Pumpkin Patch. Pa’s is located just 2.5 miles south of Hays on Hwy 183, and open Tuesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays. Find even more pumpkins, fresh produce, baked goods, and handmade items at the Downtown Hays Market under the Downtown Pavilion at 10th and Main on Saturday mornings through October.

5 Spice up your wardrobe
5. Spice up Your Wardrobe

Fall textures and comfy layers are everywhere in Hays, from Main Street boutique windows to Big Creek Crossing mall. Pick up a new pair of boots at Vanderbilt’s, the largest boot retailer in northwest Kansas, or get styled with a new outfit at Lily & Marie.