The Gypsum Hills (also known as the Red Hills, Gyp Hills, or Medicine Hills) are situated in south central Kansas near the City of Medicine Lodge, just an hour and a half west of Wichita. This geographically diverse region does not fit the conventional description of what one might expect to find in Kansas.
The area features rolling hills, flat mesas, buttes, small steep canyons, and caves. The region is nicknamed the Red Hills because of its many red cedar trees and the iron oxide, or rust, contained in the ground. The area was the Medicine Hills to the Native Americans, who believed that the Medicine River that runs through it was sacred because of the high concentration of Epsom salts in the water.
Peace Treaty Festival
The Gyp Hills is the backdrop for the annual Peace Treaty Festival, centered around the Native American heritage of the area. The last full weekend of each September, an inter-tribal powwow is held in the Peace Treaty Powwow Pavilion. This same weekend, the Annual Kansas Championship Ranch Rodeo is held at the Pageant Arena, featuring working cowboys competing in events much like the day work on their ranches. The festival also features a parade, shopping, special food vendors, a small carnival, and a mountain man encampment. Every three years, a rare and magnificent display known as the Peace Treaty Pageant takes place in the Memorial Peace Park. This grand-scale historical pageant encompasses 300 years of history, illustrating time through the birth of the prairie; features famous explorers like Cortez, Lewis and Clarke, and Sacajawea; includes a full-scale wagon train; and culminates with the commemoration of the signing of the peace treaty that was signed near Medicine Lodge in 1867. Each year, the Peace Treaty Festival attracts thousands of visitors eager to observe and participate in centuries-old Native American traditions, as well as experience the unique opportunities of rural life.
A Place of Peace
Visit the Gyp Hills to disconnect for a little while, wander a bit, and get lost. Take a step away from your busy day-to-day activities and reconnect with your family, your friends, and yourself. Create lasting memories as a family while camping, trail riding, and swimming. Bond with your friends over leisurely shopping, eating, and exploring off the beaten path. Indulge your creativity while visiting local art galleries, or trying out your new camera on the scenic landscapes. Find your favorite hunting or fishing spot, or do a little bird watching. Greet the morning sun while practicing yoga and meditation on a rust-colored hilltop. Get married against the backdrop of a breathtaking vista. For the history buffs, there are museums and historical landmarks. Outdoor sports enthusiasts will love hiking, biking, and climbing among some of the most panoramic scenery.