The Osage Cuestas (pronounced Kwestas), encompassing nearly all of eastern Kansas south of the Kansas River, are a region of hills and ridges, steep on one side and gently sloping on the other. Because the Osage Cuestas cover so much area, there is plenty of variation in the terrain, though not as much topographical relief as in the Flint Hills.
Moist, silty clay prevails throughout most of the region.
The eastern edge of the Osage Cuestas is a transition between hardwood forest and tallgrass prairie. Cropland and grassland cover most of the region, although trees persist along streams.
Water is abundant all throughout the region. Numerous reservoirs contain most of the water supply for this part of Kansas.
Temperatures in the Osage Cuestas are much like those in the rest of Kansas—variable, though the swings are a little more moderate than in the western half of the state. Lows can drop below 20°F in January, while highs climb above 90° in July.
The annual precipitation averages from over 40 inches near Fort Scott to about 35 inches near Emporia. The majority of the rain usually falls during the growing season, right when it is most needed.
The Osage Cuestas are primarily used for pasture due to the hilly terrain, but there is still plenty of room for cropland. Various feed grains make up most of the harvest.
Also of Interest
Cuesta means “hill” or “cliff” in Spanish.
Cuesta Aerial View
This aerial view gives a general idea of the regional terrain.