Reminder, Bison Are Wild Animals
Windmill Pasture is home to the bison herd. They have been quite active in recent weeks. Please stay on the trails and use caution in their vicinity. Do not come in close contact with the bison. Allow at least 100 yards between you and the herd. More »
Handicap Parking Available at Visitor Center
For the next several months, the handicap parking area by the barn is closed until the barn construction project is complete. Handicap parking is available at the Visitor Center.
Three nature trails (shorter in length) allow visitors to experience the tallgrass prairie first-hand, while remaining in closer proximity to visitor services. These trails are dog friendly, but please help all visitors enjoy them by keeping dogs on a visible 6' maximum leash and picking up after your pet. Enjoy your hike by following these important safety rules. Permits are not required to hike the trails. All trails open 24 hours; no camping.
The Southwind Nature Trail is a leisurely stroll across hill and valley, watercourse and prairie grassland, gives visitors a close-up look at what makes up the preserve. Named for the Kansa Indians, the People of the Southwind, this 1.75 mile trail presents marvelous vistas as well as an opportunity for a detailed view at the prairie ecosystem. Two overlook areas afford visitors a chance to experience the scenic beauty of the prairie.
BOTTOMLAND NATURE TRAIL
The Bottomland Nature Trail is complete with an information trail head kiosk, five interpretive waysides, benches, comfort station, and relatively level trail loops. During dry weather, the crushed limestone hardened trail surface can support wheelchairs. Choose from two trail lengths- 3/4 or 1/2 mile loops. A brochure has been developed to assist you as you travel the trail. You may receive a brochure at the Visitor Center or you will find one in the brochure box at the trail head kiosk. A small picnic area with table is also available. This trail was made possible through a generous donation by the Cloud Foundation in memory of Roger Cloud who was an avid lover of the Flint Hills.
FOX CREEK HIKING TRAIL
The Fox Creek Trail is a 6.1 mile round-trip trail and starts at the northern end of the Bottomland Nature Trail and extends northward, following Fox Creek. Visitors will experience bottomland prairie restoration plots along Fox Creek's riparian areas. Deep soils and abundant moisture offer 6 feet tall grasses in the fall. Catch and release fishing is also available along Fox Creek.
Did You Know?
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.