• The setting sun over the Flint Hills casts shadows across the wide expanse of tallgrass prairie.

    Tallgrass Prairie

    National Preserve Kansas

There are park alerts in effect.
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  • Prescribed Fire Season - Trails east of Fox Creek are CLOSED TODAY

    All trails in the Two Section Pastures, including catch and release fishing are closed today. Please call ahead at 620-273-8494 and hit 0 to check trail availability. For your safety, please obey signs and do not venture beyond closed areas. More »

  • Recent Aggressive Bison Behavior

    Bison have recently exhibited some aggressive behavior. Hikers are alerted. Hiking is still available with alternate trails around Windmill Pasture. If hiking through the pasture, please stay at least 100 yards away from the bison or turn around. More »

Prairies and Grasslands

The lush green prairie during warmer months.

Lungs of a Nation

No other ecosystem in America removes as much carbon from the atmosphere as prairie grasslands. Some carbon that is produced by our giant industrial complex is recycled into the fertile soils that have become a breadbasket for the entire world.

It is fascinating to note that 80% of prairie plant life is underground. Long tentacled root systems survive grazing, fire and flood to sprout each spring and renew an amazing cycle of life that due to its low lying subtlety is often over looked.

Less than 4 percent of this once vast prairie grassland survives today. The shallow soil from limestone parent material has kept this remaining portion intact. Farming was limited to bottomland areas along the drainages that lie between these subtle yet defined limestone hills and ridges. Though that larger portion of the tallgrass has been plowed and altered for agriculture, it is this Flint Hills remnant of prairie that continues to breathe and rejuvenate the air and land as it has for thousands of years.

Did You Know?

Aerial photo of the Flint Hills at Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve

Kansas was once the bed of a vast inland sea. The unique, stairstep landscape of the Flint Hills was formed through a process of differential erosion. Erosion washed away the soft shale layers and left the tougher layers of limestone and flint to form the hilltops and prominent benches.