Hike the Konza Prairie Trail
Kansas › Konza Prarie Nature Trail
Added by Kurt Zoglmann
The Konza Prairie Trail is an amazing place to reconnect with nature and become acquainted with the Flint Hills. The Konza Prairie hosts a variety of wildlife including numerous white-tailed deer and turkeys.
The Konza Prairie Trail is a special beloved attraction in the area. It is set on 3,487 hectare of native tallgrass prairie. The trail offers a choice of 3 loops: The Nature Trail Loop at 2.6 miles, The Kings Creek Loop at 4.7 miles, and the Godwin Hill Loop at 6.1 miles. All trails start from the same trailhead. The longer trails are extensions of the shorter trails. So you have a few options on when to loop back to the trailhead.
The Konza Prairie Trail offers many things to many people -- runners, hikers, photographers, and those interested in nature. The trail offers two distinctive landscapes. On one side of the trail, there are many trees with open meadows as the trail follows along Kings Creek. On the other side of the trail, you will be surrounded by tall grasses and have several vistas where you can look far off into the distance. If you are interested to know more about the nature and geology of the Konza Prairie, pickup a brochure at the trailhead. There are small numbered markers along the trail that point out noteworthy things.
The tallgrass prairie takes on substantially different characteristics depending on the season and time of day. If you time your visit well, you will be rewarded with a memorable experience. For example, one summer evening I was heading back to the trailhead after taking in a grand sunset. The sun had just crossed the horizon and dusk was beginning to set in. In the growing twilight I spot a deer 100 yards away. She was frozen in a meadow looking back at me. And surrounding her were fireflies flickering on and off. I was awe struck at the beauty and specialness of the moment. It was as if time was standing still. Even years afterwards, it is an image in my mind’s eye that holds special meaning for me and one that I enjoy reflecting on.
On another occasion, I happened to get lucky and witness monarch butterflies advancing across the Konza Prairie during their yearly migration. It was beyond epic seeing thousands and thousands of butterflies in every direction and everywhere I looked. I had never seen anything like that before.
Some things might require luck, but other events are more predictable. During springtime the Konza Prairie begins the transformation from a brown dormant landscape to a lush green and vibrant one. Wildflowers are common during the springtime, but there are years where the landscape becomes carpeted with wildflowers. Mild temperatures and amble rain make this spectacle much more likely to occur. Hiking the Konza Prairie Trail can be especially rewarding during these times.
Please be aware that long term ecological research is being conducted by Kansas State University. The Konza Prairie is a preserve for a native tallgrass prairie ecosystem. Continued public access to the Konza Prairie depends on everyone’s cooperation by observing the following rules. There have been increasing problems with people bringing dogs. This is beginning to threaten public access to the Konza Prairie Trail.
- Remain on designated roads and trails at all times.
- Dogs, horses, and other pets are not permitted on-site.
- Our trails are for hiking only. Bicycles, motorcycles, and any all-terrain vehicles are not permitted.
- Camping or overnight parking is prohibited.
- Collection or removal of flowers, rocks, feathers, or other materials from the area is prohibited.
- Smoking, or any open flame, is prohibited.
- Pack it in, pack it out. Disposal receptacles and picnic areas are not available on the trail.
- The trails and parking area are closed within 1-hour after sunset. Vehicles remaining after this time are subject to being towed at the vehicle owner's expense.
- Hiking Shoes
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Fitness, Hiking, Photography, Running
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Awesome place, forever in my heart.
As a student at Kansas State University (located only 15 minutes away), I frequently visit the Konza Prairie and hike the area's trails. The pathways are well maintained and the views are spectacular, especially in the spring when many of the surrounding pastures are engulfed in flames during the annual burnings. The free admission is another huge plus, however I strongly, strongly, strongly encourage everyone who visits to donate to keep the prairie open for public enjoyment.
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Park your car at the Visitor Center and head inside to grab a copy of the trail map. If the Visitor Center is closed, you can take a picture of the map on the display outside of the building.