Hike through the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve

Tallgrass Prairie Preserve

Walk back in time and witness panoramic views of rolling hills, wildflowers, breeze-bent grasses, and beautiful skies. 

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. There are several trails you can take in the preserve, and all of them are worth the time. I recommend starting at the Southwind Nature Trail that is just north of the Visitor Center. 

This trail takes you north to the Lower Fox Creek Schoolhouse, this school was constructed in 1882 and it's a great structure to photograph. You will continue northwest for about 0.3 miles and the trail will soon intersect with the Davis Trail. I suggest heading north on the Davis Trail for 2 miles and then jumping on the Gas House Cutoff Trail. This trail takes you west for 1.3 miles and then you can head south on the Prairie Fire Loop, this route will take you to the popular Scenic Overlook Trail. The main trail takes you south, but you can head east for 0.3 miles until you reach a scenic overlook (hence the name of the trail). The overlook gives you a spectacular view of the Big Pasture and the Windmill Pasture. Once you are ready to head back retrace your steps to the intersection of the Prairie Fire and Scenic Overlook Trail. Follow the trail for about 3 miles to return to the Visitor Center. 

I definitely recommend getting to the preserve early to witness a sunrise or staying late to watch the sunset. There are herds of Bison around the preserve but be cautious when walking nearby, your trail options may be limited based on where they are grazing. 

Camping isn't allowed in the preserve but the Chase State Fishing Lake is only a couple of miles away. There is no charge for camping at the lake, and all spots are first come first serve. For a great bison burger and beer stop by Ad Astra in Strong City.

Pack List

  • Water
  • Sunscreen
  • Bug Spray
  • Camera
  • Snacks
Show More
RT Distance 9 Miles
Activities Photography, Hiking
Skill Level Beginner
Season Year Round
Trail Type Loop
Family Friendly


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Middle Kansas isn't a hiking hub, but the Flint Hills are pretty and you can see Buffalo here! This place is definitely one of my favorite Park Service sites. Plenty of signs but do not get too close to the Buffalo. Also keep in mind that it is pure Prairie with no shade so be prepared in the summer heat.

Please respect the places you find on The Outbound Collective.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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