Coronado Heights Park is located on a hill, just a few miles outside of Lindsborg, Kansas.
Built in 1936 as one of the many Works Progress Administration (WPA) projects in Kansas, the centerpiece of the park is a limestone Castle that towers high above the Smoky Hill Valley below. The castle is about 20 feet by 40 feet and rises some 30 feet above the top of the hill. The roof of the castle is easily accessible by way of the tower stairs and provides the visitor a remarkable view in every direction.
Coronado Heights is listed on the National Registry of Historic places and was chosen as one of the Eight Geographical Wonders of Kansas by the Kansas Sampler Foundation.
The castle and park area can be reached by well-maintained dirt roads that bring you to base of the hill and the entrance to the park. From there you reach the top of the hill and castle on a road that winds itself around and up the 300 foot hill. Once on top you will find a fairly flat area of several acres with ample parking for several cars.
In addition to a large picnic area with fireplace located close to the middle of the hilltop, you will quickly notice several stone circular picnic areas, each one with its own fireplace, that surround the edge of the hill much like sentry positions of old. Each of these circular picnic areas has a stone picnic table and fireplace as well as offering a great view of the valley below. There is also a stone restroom building located on the hilltop.
Of course the main attraction of Coronado Heights Park is the stone “Castle” that the park is best known for. Inside the castle you will find some long stone picnic tables as well as a fireplace on the ground floor. There are also stairs in the castle’s tower that lead you up to the roof. From the rooftop you have an excellent view in all directions, making this a popular scenic overlook for travelers in this area.
Coronado Heights Park gets its name from the Spanish explorer Francisco Vasquez de Coronado, who in 1541 traveled into what is now Kansas on his search for Quivira one of the legendary “Seven Cities of Gold”. While it is not known for sure if Coronado or his troops actually climbed to the top of the hill that bears his name it is thought that it was near here that Coronado gave up his search for cities of gold and turned around to head back to Mexico. In 1915 a professor from Bethany College in Lindsborg found some a piece of chain mail from type of Spanish armor worn by Coronado and his men. Shortly after that discovery another Bethany College professor gave this particular hill its name of Coronado Heights.
Coronado Heights Park is open daily from 8 AM to 11 PM. It can be reached by taking Coronado Avenue 3 miles north of Lindsborg, Kansas until you reach Coronado Heights Road. Turn west on Coronado Heights and travel about one mile and you will see the entrance on your right hand side.
In the spring and summer you can find many pretty wildflowers in bloom as well as some small lizards on the Dakota sandstone outcroppings. Over the years many visitors have carved their names in the soft sandstone so it can be fun to spend some time reading the names and dates of people who have visited the area.
Coronado Heights is well worth the stop for those traveling across Kansas. As one of a 4 mile long row of seven hills known as the Smoky Hill Buttes, it offers a very picturesque view of the Smoky Hill Valley and is well worth traveling a few miles out of your way to see. It would be a great place to take pictures of some beautiful Kansas sunrises or sunsets.