US 56 in Kansas


US 56
Get started Elkheart
End Kansas City
Length 466 mi
Length 750 km
  • Oklahoma
  • Elkheart
  • Hugoton
  • Satanta
  • Sublette
  • Dodge City
  • Kinsley
  • Larned
  • Great Bend
  • McPherson
  • Marion
  • Council Grove
  • Admiral
  • Carbondale
  • Baldwin City
  • Gardner
  • Olathe
  • Lenexa
  • Kansas City

According to Bittranslators, US 56 is a US Highway in the US state of Kansas. The road forms a long diagonal east-west route across the state, from Elkhart in the far southwest of the state to Kansas City in the northeast of the state. The route passes largely through agricultural land, with only a few small towns on the route. The road is 750 kilometers long.

Travel directions

US 56/77 at Marion.

At the large village of Elkhart, U.S. 56 in Oklahoma crosses the Kansas border from Boise City, then runs northeast through Cimarron National Grassland as a quiet single-lane main road. This area is located at an altitude of about 1100 meters, and one descends almost imperceptibly towards the east. After some 70 miles of meadows and void, you reach Sublettle, a regional intersection where one intersects US 83, the road from Liberal in the south to Garden City in the north. It also crosses the US 160which piggybacks a bit with US 83. The road then has a section of 80 kilometers to Dodge City, which runs straight across the treeless plain. Dodge City is a major center in western Kansas, but it’s only a small town of 25,000 people. This is where US 50 merges from Garden City and crosses US 283, the main road from Vernon, Texas, to WaKeeney in the north. US 50 and US 56 will then be double -numbered for almost 60 kilometers until the villages of Kinsley, where US 50 turns east towards Hutchinson, and US 183 from Woodward in Oklahomafor a short double number of about 13 miles. The road here runs northeast along the Arkansas River, then US 183 exits toward the town of Hays in northern Kansas. The road then runs for about 80 kilometers to Great Bend.

Great Bend is a small regional town in central Kansas, with a population of 15,000, but it is one of the larger centers in the area. It crosses US 281, which comes from Pratt in the south and runs to Grand Island in Nebraska. US 56 has meanwhile moved about 150 kilometers to the north, further from the border with Oklahoma. US 56 then exchanges its northeasterly direction for a due easterly, and runs for 100 miles to McPherson, through the Prairies. The Arkansas River then curves further south toward Wichita. This area is quite lonely with vast meadows with a stray tree here and there. McPherson is not that big himself, but they do cross theInterstate 135, the highway from Wichita to Salina in the north. The US 81 also runs over this highway. After McPherson, the road continues east for about 60 kilometers, then merges at Marion with US 77, which comes from El Dorado. Both roads then run together for about 20 miles, due north, to Herington, where US 56 exits east, and US 77 continues north to Junction City.

You then pass through another part of Kansas, which is less structured, lacks the grid network, and the area is more undulating without neat pastures. This area is also quite empty, and the road runs east for 50 miles, then past Admire crosses the Kansas Turnpike, which here consists of Interstate 335, and handles traffic from Wichita to Topeka. After this, US 56 jumps north twice, and crosses US 75 at Carbondale, which comes south from Independence and runs north as a highway to Topeka. About 30 kilometers to the east they cross a second north-south axis, the US 59which runs from Ottawa to Lawrence, two regional towns nearby. The road then runs parallel to Interstate 35 from Edgerton and eventually merges with it just before Olathe.

The US 50 that was previously seen at Dodge City, also runs together with the I-35. Olathe is a Kansas City suburb of 118,000 residents. In Lenexa one crosses the Interstate 435 ring road, and a little further on, in the largest suburb Overland Park, the US 69 merges, which comes as a highway from the southern suburbs. Both roads exit I-35 at Merriam, then head east. Then follows a cloverleaf cloverleaf with US 169, the wide Metcaff Avenue coming from Overland Park. US 69 and US 169 then turn north toward downtown Kansas City. US 56 then continues only on the Shawnee Mission Parkway, a broad semi-expressway through the southern suburbs of Kansas City. At Mission Woods, the road crosses the border into Missouri, where after 2 kilometers US 56 ends in Missouri at US 71, the highway from Joplin to downtown Kansas City.


Much of what is now US 56 was US 50N from 1926 and a small portion of US 50S. Most of the route was unpaved at the time, and the road southwest of Hugoton did not exist at all. This section was constructed in the mid 1930s, but US 56 itself was not created until 1957. The route is very important in western Kansas as a diagonal route through the grid network. However, US 56 does not serve many major cities, Dodge City is the most significant and further small regional towns such as Great Bend and McPherson.

Traffic intensities

In western Kansas, US 56 is a quiet road. Just after the border with Oklahoma, there are 1,200 vehicles, which rises to 3,500 at Dodge City. The double numbering with the US 50 counts 3,500 vehicles, later 2,000 vehicles, increasing again to 4,500 vehicles at Great Bend. Towards McPherson the road has 2,000 to 3,000 vehicles, and 2,000 vehicles on the double -numbered section with US 77. Further east it varies from 700 to 2,000 vehicles.

Kansas City is obviously busier, with up to 161,000 vehicles on the double-numbered I-35 and 36,000 on the Shawnee Mission Parkway. 24,800 vehicles cross the Missouri border every day.

US 56 in Kansas