Photograph the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve

Tallgrass Prairie Preserve

With over 39,000 acres of lush tallgrass prairie, the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve contains over 2,500 free roaming bison, wildflowers, cattle, and various bird species to see.

Near the town of Pawhuska and about a 50-minute drive west of Bartlesville, is the incredibly scenic Tallgrass Prairie Preserve. The 50 mile drive through it spans to the Kansas border. Along all the way, you can see thousands of roaming buffalo, beautiful wildflowers, tallgrass, cattle, and many other kinds of wildlife.

The most popular route through the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve is to take the 15.7 mile gravel road from US-60 to the visitor center. Start at Lynn Road from US-60, then turn right onto Country Road 4070 before taking another right on Country Road 4201. There are several scenic turnouts along the way. At about 14 miles you will reach an intersection. If you take a right, it will lead you to the visitor center with a 2 mile nature trail that will take you to an overlook. If you take a left to head towards the town of Foraker, you will be able to access the 6-mile Bison Loop. The Bison Loop is the route where you will likely see most of the buffalo. It reconnects to Country Road 4201 where you can either head straight back to US-60 or you can go on to head towards Kansas.

Spring is one of the most popular times to visit the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve because that is when all the baby buffaloes are born and when the wildflowers are in full bloom. Please keep a very good and respectful distance from the buffalo and do not photograph them in close range. Bring a telephoto lens to be able to capture any wildlife that you encounter.

The Tallgrass Prairie is free of charge to enter and is open from dawn to dusk.

Pack List

  • Camera
  • Telephoto lens
  • Snacks
  • Water
  • Plenty of gas for your car
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Activities Chillin, Photography
Skill Level Beginner
Season Spring
Features
Bathrooms
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Food Nearby
Forest
Groups
Scenic
Wildflowers
Wildlife

Reviews

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Overall rating: 

Go Back in Time

The preserve is like taking a step back in time. The overlook mentioned in the description not only allows you to see for miles but it gives you an idea of what it must have been like to live a life on the prairie. Very peaceful and relaxing to hear nothing but the wind sweeping through the area and the occasional bison grunt. Take your time regardless of the trail you choose.

Beautiful Open Land

Beautiful landscape with many options for prairie land walks. I opted for the Scenic Overlook Trail through the Bison Windmill Pasture to Prairie Fire to Davis with some off-route stops at some lakes and abandoned buildings. Lots of wildlife, majestic bison, and powerful clouds. Bring a light sweater for the Kansas breeze and a peaceful heart. Park is open 24/7/365, which was convenient for my early morning start before the crowds. Over 40 miles of trails. Hiking. Fishing. Picnicking. And frolicking like an 1800s prairie child.


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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