The Wizard of Oz brought Kansas to a global audience. Still, that audience doesn’t know the extensive nature of Kansas’ treasure history. But on a more realistic note, Kansas was the home of Native American tribes around 1405AD. With such deep history, your next treasure find might be in the rich plains of Kansas.
Let’s look at some prospective places to help you get started on your treasure hunting.
To provide this list in an orderly manner, we will base the places according to some of the major cities in Kansas. Then we will look at some locations on the complete outskirts, possibly boonies, with rich information for prospective finds. Let’s get started.
Kansas City Area Treasure
1. Penn Valley Park – Broadway Blvd, Kansas City
Between 1821 and 1880, a 19th-century route connected Franklin, Missouri, Santa Fe, and New Mexico. This route was known as the Santa Fe Route. Penn Valley Park was once a forested area that the Santa Fe Trail passed.
In 1904, local officials turned the part of the trail into a park that served several uses throughout the century. One of those uses was a recreational spot for World War II soldiers.
Today, Penn Valley Park is a public space that you can visit for treasure hunting. The park also offers excellent recreational facilities such as a picnic ground, water fountain, and trails.
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2. Kessler Park – Kansas City, Missouri
Kessler Park sits at the heart of Kansas City. It was one of the tracts of land set aside by the Kansas City Park and Boulevard system in 1971. What makes this park stand out on this list is its convenience.
Kessler Park is at the heart of Kansas City, making it an excellent location for novice treasure hunters. Furthermore, you have access to the recreational amenities the park provides and the impeccable memorials (which are not for prospecting), and a colonnade.
Metal Detecting Tip: Kansas is amazing for metal detecting. Looking for places to go? Let me help with this article -> Where to Metal Detect in Kansas
3. Swope Park – Kansas City
Swope Park is the biggest park in Kansas City. Initially, Swope Park belonged to Colonel Thomas Spoke, who moved to Kansas in 1857. In 1896, Colonel Spoke donated 1,334 acres to Kansas City for a public park. Swope Park is over 125 years old with a lot of history.
The park is massive, with numerous recreational activities for visitors. The park includes a zoo, theatre, golf course, trails, pool, and other amenities for the public.
For treasure hunters, Swope Park is full of potential for probable treasure. With all that land at your disposal, you have your work cut out for you.
4. Hidden Valley Park – Kansas City
Hidden Valley Park is well-known for its hidden ravines and beautiful foilage. Local officials designated that area as a park in the 1950s.
Officials divided the park into two parts: The North and South areas. The North Area lies on the north side of Russell Road. On the other hand, in 1978, officials designated 82 acres of the south as a protected natural area.
Hidden Valley Park is also in the heart of Kansas City. It’s convenient for any treasure hunters, seeing as they can get off work and head there.
5. Pierson Park – Kansas City, Kansas
Last on the Kansas City spots is Pierson Park. Pierson Park is a small camping ground located in the southwest parts of Kansas City. It’s not at the city’s heart, but it’s not that far from it.
Pierson Park offers various amenities. Pierson Park does have a disc golf course, and Kansas State does not allow detectorists on golf courses. You should steer clear of the golf course when you’re on the grounds.
Apart from that, the rest is free real estate, from a treasure hunter’s perspective, not a realtor’s perspective.
Wichita Area Treasure
6. Grandview Heights Park – Wichita, Kansas.
Grandview Heights Park sits in the Grandview Heights neighborhood, a neighborhood popular with the elderly and retired. The park is a great starting point for anyone looking to get into treasure hunting. It’s small enough that you will enjoy treasure hunting and making ‘fun finds.’
Furthermore, you can find this park at the heart of Wichita, making it convenient and accessible. You can also have treasure hunting parties with family and friends in this park due to its location.
Thankfully, the park also offers several recreational amenities to visitors.
7. Oak Park – Wichita, Kansas
Oak Park is a Wichita Wild habitat area, but you can still go treasure hunting in this park. But what makes this park unique for treasure hunters? This park offers access to the Little Arkansas River. One of the best tips for detectorists and treasure hunters is to prospect along beaches.
Prospecting along beaches or a river’s edge has the highest chance of success. Numerous things get lost in water bodies, and the constant moving on the water may bring one such treasure up to the shore.
8. Pawnee Prairie Park – Wichita, Kansas
Pawnee Prairie Park is the last park in Wichita on this list. It’s bigger than the other parks mentioned above, and it’s on the outskirts of Wichita. According to old maps from 1882, in the area around Cowskin Creek, the creek that runs through Pawnee Prairie Park, there was a school, church, barn, and other buildings.
You can access these maps online to understand better the location and where these structures stood. Apart from the old maps’ information, you have a park with several recreational activities.
There are trails, picnic tables, playgrounds, restroom facilities, and other exciting events for the public. – link
9. South Riverside Park -Wichita, Arkansas
This park is a pretty interesting location. After going through some old maps in the 1800s, the park’s area seemed to have been close to a residential or commercial area back in 1887. The main residential area was where the Little Arkansas River broke from the Arkansas River. Still, South Riverside Park is close enough for treasure hunting.
It is a park, and it comes with several recreational activities for treasure hunters, so it would also be a fun family event. We highly recommend South Riverside Park to anyone in the area. – link
Topeka Area Treasure
10. Gage Park – Topeka, Kansas
Gage Park is the biggest park in Topeka City. We highly recommend this park because it’s at the heart of Topeka, making it a convenient location for novice treasure hunters.
Initially, Gage Park was a farm; the owners then gave their farm to Topeka City in 1899. Gage Park is on this list because of its convenience, recreational activities, and historic rose garden.
You can also prospect along the edge of the several ponds present in the park.
11. Auburndale Park – Topeka, Kansas
Next on the list is Auburndale Park. Located along the I-70, Auburndale Park is a great location for novice treasure hunters. It offers lush green spaces to test out equipment and have fun while you’re at it. You can also use the park to test techniques and strategies.
You can find the park in the heart of Topeka, and it has other recreational activities for visitors.
12. Big Shunga Park – Topeka, Kansas
The last park you should check out is Big Shunga Park. It sits along the Shungaunga Creek and connects to two other parks: Felker Park and Crestview Park. What makes this park a hotspot for treasure hunters?
Firstly, it would have to be Shungaunga Creek. According to reports, the Kaw people (a native American tribe) performed ceremonies at the mouth of the Shungaunga Creek. – link
The Shungaunga Creek flows through all these three parks, and hunting along this creek will surely warrant some successful results.
13. Glen Elder State Park – Mitchell County, Kansas
One of the best places to hunt for treasure is along beaches. In Kansas, the best beaches you can find are in Glen Elder State Park. The park borders Waconda Lake, once Waconda Springs; native American tribes settled around the springs. The springs were unique to the Mid West.
14. Cedar Bluff State Park – Kansas
Cedar Bluff State Park sits on the edge of Cedar Bluff Reservoir. Still, before the artificial reservoir came into existence, the area was a desert, and the only water source was the Smoky Hill River. Native American tribes settled along the Smoky Hill River, which now feeds the reservoir.
Cedar Bluff State Park offers impressive beaches and excellent recreational amenities for its visitors. Put all these facts together, and you have an excellent treasure hunting spot.
15. Milford State Paul – Kansas
The last park on this list is Milford State Park; it sits on the edge of Milford Lake. But what makes this park unique? It would have to be its proximity to Fort Riley. Fort Riley is an active fort that protected the people traveling on the Santa Fe Trail in the 19th century.
Milford State Park is close to Fort Riley, and to top it all off. It offers beaches and other recreational amenities available to the public.
Kansas contains a lot of history. Thanks to colonialists and the Native American community, you can find a lot of that history in most towns. Take the historic town of Lindsborg, initially occupied by the Swedish in the 1800s. Treasure hunters found loads of treasure in old parks and towns all over Kansas. – link
The Kansas City Parks Organization allows metal detecting in approved areas throughout its park system. You must register (mandatory for all parks), and registration lasts for one year.
The Kansas City Organization also lists areas and places that you are not allowed to metal detect:
- Historical Sites/Memorial Grounds
- Golf and Disc Golf Courses
- Frank Vaydik Park
- Loose Park
- Indian Mound Park
- Union Cemetery
- Shoal Creek Living History Museum
- Dog Parks
- Landscaped Plant Beds
Metal Detecting Tip: Kansas City has a great resource to understand what the city says about metal detecting. Read it -> Metal Detecting in KC Parks
As of April 2021, park officials listed guidelines that all detectorists must follow:
1. You can dig using hand tools only.
2. Digging is limited to 3 inches in depth and 3 inches in width. You must cover the holes and restore the area to its original condition as much as possible.
3. You must wear a litter apron or bag or carry it during metal detector use. All litter should be disposed of in trash containers or removed from the site.
4. If you find an object of historical or archaeological value or interest, the metal detecting activity shall cease, and you must notify park staff.
5. Plants and trees may not be dislodged or have their roots disturbed.
6. Metal detecting is permissible from sunrise to sunset daily.
7. You must annually register your metal detecting permit for all parks in Kansas.
Can I Keep Treasure Found in Kansas?
The Archaeological Resources Protection Act of 1979 is enforced in the state of Kansas. The law clearly states that should you find an “archaeological resource”, it will belong to the government (federal). Anything you find over 100 years old is likely to fall into the net this law casts.
To read the full Archaeological Resources Protection Act of 1979, check out the link HERE
Different states have different laws, but in the case of Kansas, it does stick to this law. However, if you find treasure on private property, you are free to keep the treasure.
If you have a lead on treasures on private property you do not own, be sure to ask for permission. It’s up to you and the property owner to decide what to do with the finds of your treasure hunting.
- Metal detectorist Mike Armendariz found coupling links from the 1800s on his late grandparent’s property in Halstead, Kansas. – link
- Metal detectorist Brett Newell discovered a 7th Regiment US Cavalry hatpin in Salina, Kansas. – link
- Metal detectorist Garrett Seuser shared his finds of old civil war coins in Kansas. – link
- The Waconda Springs Trinkets – In 1908, a deep-sea diver dove Waconda Spring in Mitchell County. He found no bottom of the spring but trinkets that experts think were past spiritual offerings. – link
- In 1870, a railroad payroll of $22,000 was robbed from the Wells Fargo office at Ellis. According to locals, the thieves stashed the money around the limestone banks of Big Creek just outside of the town and never recovered.
If you’re in Kansas and are looking for books to start treasure hunting, I’ve got just the thing.
Need a gift for a junior detectorist? Commander Pulitzer delivers a great read and sneaks in a neat little journal to log treasure hunts. This book is perfect for young adventurers who you are introducing to the fine art of treasure hunting.
I like this guide by Thomas Terry. It highlights four states and shows locations for lost, buried, and sunken treasure. The guide covers Kansas, Kentucky, Iowa, and Indiana. A great guide for new detectorists who want to expand their treasure knowledge.
Thomas Penfield brings us a great guide to metal detecting treasure in Kansas (and three neighboring states). A quick read and handy guide for the avid treasure seeker. I gave this book as a gift to a new young detectorist, and he loved it!
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David Humphries, Writer and Creator of METAL DETECTING TIPS. After borrowing my son’s detector and finding $.25. I felt like a treasure hunter. FREE MONEY! I was seriously bitten by the metal detecting bug.