Basic Information

Tallgrass prairie once covered 170 million acres of North America, but within a generation most of it had been transformed into farmland. Today less than 4% remains intact, mostly in the Kansas Flint Hills. Established on November 12, 1996, the preserve protects a nationally significant remnant of the once vast tallgrass prairie ecosystem. Here the tallgrass makes its last stand.

 
ranger in the tallgrass
Ranger giving tour in the tallgrass prairie

NPS

 

Entrance Fees:

 

Park Highlights

A 10-minute site orientation film plays on loop in the historic barn. A transcript of the video is found in our podcasts.
Watch additional video on YouTube

Explore the historic ranch from the 1880s. Self-guided Tours include exhibit panels, cell-phone and virtual tours, and podcasts of the historic buildings. The limestone mansion is the only ranch building with temperature control. The others remain open-air as they were in the 1880s. 

The one-room schoolhouse is open daily from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m from May 1 through December 31. The school will not be open during heavy rain or snow, but can always be viewed through the windows.

Self-guided Tours include cell-phone tours, virtual tours, and podcasts of the historic buildings and tallgrass prairie. Group tours are made by reservation and subject to park staffing. The main tour season is April 1 - October 31.

All trails are open 24/7 year-round. All access is walking only. No camping or overnight parking allowed.

Pet friendly trails include the ranch area, Nature Trails, and the Fox Creek Trail. The nature trails average taller growth of grasses.

Backcountry hiking trails explore deeper into the preserve. The backcountry offers vistas and bison.

Up to 7 Junior Ranger Booklets, Leave No Trace Scavenger Hunts, and other activities are available at the Visitor Center. School groups can call to reserve tours based on staff availability.

 

Important Seasons

Calves drop in late spring, usually April/May. Bison cows are more protective around newborn calves. Calves appear reddish-tan compared to the deep brown adults.

Bulls compete for mating dominance in late summer, usually August/September. During this short time, the entire herd assembles in one location. Bison bulls are noticeably more aggressive. Grunting can sometimes be heard miles away.

Early spring burns run from late February through April throughout the Flint Hills. Fall burns can run October/November. Burning is highly dependent on weather. Trail closures may occur with less than 2 hours notice. Air quality may diminish due to moderate smoke in the region.

The main tourist season runs from April 1 - October 31. Most organized events and ranger-led tours occur during summer. 

Flowers bloom from March through October. New species blossum every 1-2 weeks during the summer. The most iconic are Spiderwort in March, Indigo in April, Larkspur in May, Butterfly Milkweed in June, Snow on the Mountain in July, Coneflower in August, and Sunflower in September.

 

Last updated: November 4, 2021

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

2480B KS Hwy 177
Strong City , KS 66869

Phone:

620 273-8494 x270

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