Preserve Backcountry Hiking Trails
Windmill pasture is home to the preserve's bison herd. Please do not attempt to pet or come in close contact with the bison. These are wild animals and will charge or defend themselves when feeling threatened.
Please keep a safe distance when hiking.
Visitors may experience the backcountry of the preserve through the trail system. No permit is required. Trails are open 24 hours, daily; camping and biking not allowed. Preserve trails are for foot traffic only. A bicycle rack is provided in the top parking lot for your convenience.
Trail maps are available at the ranger information desk in the visitor center, in the kiosks near the historic ranch buildings, or downloaded from the link above. A short introductory training session is available before hiking into the backcountry during business hours. Visitors are encouraged to wear appropriate clothing and hiking gear, bring plenty of drinking water, use sunblock and insect repellent, and stay on the designated ranch roads and hiking trails. No smoking or pets are allowed on the backcountry trails.
Windmill pasture is home to the preserve's resident bison herd. Hikers are cautioned to give a wide distance to the bison and to not cross through the barbed wire fence, as this fence is electrified. Watch for these signs. Pedestrian self-closing hiking gates provide access between all pastures. For your safety, please use the hiking gates and not the cattle guards. Falling through the cattle guards can cause broken bones.
All backcountry hiking trails are moderately difficult and range from 3.8 to 13 miles. Each trail offers a different and unique perspective of the tallgrass prairie ecosystem. Scenic vistas, prairie grasses, wildflowers, wildlife, and rugged terrain may be experienced along the backcountry hiking trails.
The preserve backcountry trails are listed as a year-round event in coordation with the American Volkssport Association. Learn More
Did You Know?
Cattle can gain up to 2 pounds per day grazing on the prairie grasses of the Flint Hills. The calcium found in the limestone erodes into the soil, making the prairie plants more nutritious for grazing animals. Cattle grazing is still the main agricultural use of the Flint Hills today.