Geography of Cherokee County, Kansas

By | March 11, 2024

Geography of Cherokee County, Kansas:

Cherokee County, located in the southeastern corner of Kansas, is a region characterized by its diverse geography, including rolling hills, rich farmland, and numerous waterways. Understanding the geography, climate, rivers, lakes, and other features of Cherokee County is essential to appreciating the unique environment and culture of this area. Check petwithsupplies for climate in Manhattan, Kansas.

Geographical Features:

Cherokee County covers an area of approximately 590 square miles (1,530 square kilometers) and is situated in the southeast corner of the state of Kansas. The county is bordered by several other counties, including Crawford County to the north, Jasper County in Missouri to the east, and Labette County to the south.

Ozark Plateau:

The dominant geographical feature of Cherokee County is the Ozark Plateau, a region characterized by its rolling hills, wooded slopes, and limestone bluffs. The Ozark Plateau extends across much of southeastern Kansas, southwestern Missouri, and northern Arkansas, forming a distinctive landscape known for its scenic beauty and diverse ecosystems.

Cherokee County’s portion of the Ozark Plateau is characterized by its rugged terrain, dense forests, and abundant wildlife. The region’s hills and valleys provide important habitat for a variety of plant and animal species, including deer, turkey, squirrels, and songbirds.

Spring River:

One of the most significant geographical features of Cherokee County is the Spring River, which flows through the county from north to south. The Spring River is a tributary of the Neosho River and serves as an important source of water for irrigation, recreation, and wildlife habitat.

The Spring River and its tributaries provide important habitat for fish and wildlife, as well as opportunities for fishing, boating, and water sports. The river is also used for canoeing, kayaking, and birdwatching, with numerous access points and boat launches located along its banks.

Lakes and Reservoirs:

In addition to the Spring River, Cherokee County is home to several lakes and reservoirs that provide additional recreational opportunities for residents and visitors alike. One notable reservoir in the county is Lake Shawnee, located near the city of Baxter Springs in the southern part of the county.

Lake Shawnee is a popular destination for fishing, boating, swimming, and picnicking, with a marina, boat ramps, and waterfront parks available for visitors to enjoy. The lake’s clear waters and scenic shoreline make it a favorite spot for outdoor recreation enthusiasts seeking to escape the hustle and bustle of city life.


Cherokee County experiences a humid subtropical climate with four distinct seasons, including hot summers, mild winters, and moderate precipitation throughout the year. The region’s climate is influenced by its location in the Ozark Plateau and its proximity to the Gulf of Mexico and the Great Plains.

Summers in Cherokee County are hot and humid, with temperatures typically ranging from the 80s to the 90s Fahrenheit (about 27 to 32 degrees Celsius) during the daytime hours. Thunderstorms are common during the summer months, bringing brief periods of heavy rain and occasional lightning.

Winters in Cherokee County are mild and relatively dry, with temperatures often ranging from the 20s to the 40s Fahrenheit (about -7 to 4 degrees Celsius) during the daytime hours. Snowfall is infrequent but possible, particularly in January and February, when the region receives the most precipitation.

Spring and fall are transitional seasons marked by fluctuating temperatures and changing weather patterns. Spring brings blooming flowers, budding trees, and the return of migratory birds, while fall is characterized by cooler temperatures, falling leaves, and vibrant foliage colors that draw visitors from far and wide.

Vegetation and Wildlife:

The diverse geography and climate of Cherokee County support a wide variety of vegetation and wildlife, ranging from hardwood forests and wetlands to grasslands and meadows. The region is home to numerous plant and animal species, many of which are adapted to the Ozark Plateau’s rugged terrain and temperate climate.

Cherokee County’s forests are characterized by their dense stands of oak, hickory, maple, and other hardwood trees, as well as understory shrubs and wildflowers. These forests provide important habitat for a variety of wildlife, including deer, raccoons, foxes, and songbirds.

The county’s rivers, lakes, and wetlands also support a diverse array of aquatic plants and animals, including bass, catfish, waterfowl, and amphibians. The Spring River and Lake Shawnee are particularly popular destinations for birdwatching, with numerous species of migratory and resident birds found in the area.

Human Impact:

Over the centuries, human activity has profoundly influenced the geography of Cherokee County, from Native American settlements and pioneer homesteads to modern agriculture, industry, and urban development. The region’s fertile soils and abundant water resources have made it an attractive location for farming, manufacturing, and small-town living.

In recent years, tourism has become increasingly prominent in Cherokee County, with visitors drawn to its natural beauty, historic sites, and outdoor recreation opportunities. The county’s rivers, lakes, and parks offer a wide range of activities, including hiking, fishing, camping, and picnicking.

In response to growing environmental concerns, local governments and conservation organizations have implemented measures to protect sensitive habitats, promote sustainable land use practices, and preserve the county’s natural heritage. Efforts to conserve forests, restore riparian areas, and mitigate the impacts of climate change are underway, ensuring that Cherokee County remains a vibrant and resilient landscape for future generations to enjoy.

In conclusion, Cherokee County, Kansas, offers a captivating blend of geography, climate, and natural beauty that reflects the rugged terrain and rich ecosystems of the Ozark Plateau. From its rolling hills and wooded slopes to its scenic rivers and lakes, this region provides a haven for outdoor enthusiasts and a glimpse into the dynamic interplay between humans and nature. By embracing conservation principles and responsible stewardship, Cherokee County can safeguard its natural heritage and ensure a sustainable future for both residents and visitors alike.