Pillsbury Crossing Wildlife Area

Pillsbury Crossing


Within the boundaries of the Pillsbury Crossing Wildlife Area, the water in Deep Creek cascades over a 5-foot-high, 40-foot-wide fall onto topsy-turvy rectangular and ragged chunks of limestone before continuing downstream toward the Kansas River.

Named for the first family to homestead the land in 1855, the actual crossing is a natural, flat outcropping of limestone, which the creek flows over just upstream from the waterfall. Because the river is only a few inches deep as it crosses the 60-foot-wide ford, visitors can drive through it to access the waterfall and wildlife area.

Winding along both sides of Deep Creek, the 59-acre Pillsbury Crossing Wildlife Area includes a short trail that follows the creek through oak and hackberry riparian (riverbank) forest. A cliff on the northwest side of the river by the waterfall is the six- to nine-inch-thick Elmont Limestone Member of the Emporia Limestone formation. The crossing, waterfall ledge, and boulders at the bottom of the fall are also Elmont limestone, which was formed from sediment deposited on shallow seas during the Pennsylvanian subperiod about 300 million years ago.

Pillsbury Crossing Wildlife Area, managed by the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism, is about seven miles southeast of Manhattan in Riley County. The nearest town is Zeandale, two-and-a-half miles to the northeast in the Kansas River valley.


Riley County

Riley County locator map