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 »
Preserve Backcountry Hiking Trails
All areas of the preserve east of highway 177, including catch-and-release fishing are closed today. This includes all trails in the Two Section pasture and in the bottomland along Fox Creek. Please call ahead (620-273-8494 and hit 0) for trail availability.
The bison have recently exhibited some aggressive behavior toward hikers. Please allow at least 100 yards between you and the bison, or hike around Windmill Pasture on an alternate route. Tour map is available for download below.
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 or use an alternate route.
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.