#36 – Kaw Point
1403 Fairfax Trafficway, Kansas City, KS 66115
Good for: Reflection of America’s history, views of the KC skyline
Tip: Wear sturdy shoes for walking down the large, limestone steps.
Kaw Point is a small park where the Kansas River and Missouri River meet. In 1804, members of the Louis and Clark expedition camped at the spot for three days, as they made repairs to their vessels and hunted for fresh meat. Today, the park showcases information about the Corps of Discovery and a stunning view of the Kansas City skyline.
Lewis & Clark at Kaw Point
After the Louisiana Purchase, President Thomas Jefferson sent Captain Meriwether Lewis, Lt. William Clark and a crew of 51 men to explore the new land.
On June 26, 1804, the group arrived at Kaw Point. For three days the expedition camped at the point to hunt, make repairs and explore the area. While on guard duty during their stay, two men tapped the community whiskey barrel and were sentenced to a collective 150 lashings.
As the Corps of Delivery continued on through Kansas, they saw the now-extinct Carolina Parakeets and their first buffalo.
About Kaw Point
Getting to Kaw Point can be a bit confusing. You’ll enter in an industrial park, which will feel totally wrong, but keep going. There’s a huge painting of Lewis and Clark on the side of the warehouse.
Keep your eye out on the right for an entrance to the park. There’s plenty of parking, a boat ramp and public restrooms.
Though the view of downtown is stunning, I found Kaw Point to be incredibly humbling for other reasons. To sit in the spot where the Corps of Discovery sat 213 years ago, and reflect on the expedition’s impact on indigenous people throughout their journey – and how much the world has changed – is a sobering experience. The park doesn’t get in too depth about the expedition’s impact beyond a brief timeline of major events.
In addition to informational plaques, the park features an outdoor theater space and a walking trail along the river.
Check it out. Sit by the water. Watch people fishing. Listen to the water rushing. Reflect. Enjoy. xx, Libbie.