Guided Tours

bus tour and tall grasses in the fall
Bus tour among the fall tall grasses

Guided Prairie Bus Tours - 60 - 90 minutes
Tours are provided from the last Saturday in April through the last Sunday in October each year. Please let us know if you require the use of our wheelchair lift when calling to make your reservation. All tours and programs are free of charge.

Schedule for 2018

  • April 28 - October 28, 2018 -
    Monday through Friday - One daily tour at 11 a.m.
    Saturday and Sunday - Daily tour at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.
    All tours dependent on staffing availability and dry road conditions.
Please call 620-273-8494 (hit 0) to make your free reservation. Walk-ins are welcome, but to assure your space, a reservation is suggested. With limited staffing, it is best to telephone to make your reservation, rather than email. We may not be able to respond quick enough to an email to meet your travel plans. It's best to talk with a live person.

Please check in at the visitor center to let staff know you have arrived, so we do not give away your seat. Often there is a waiting list and anyone who hasn't checked in runs the risk of losing their seat. Please help us make your trip an enjoyable one.

As no restrooms are available on the prairie, please use the facilities before the tour. We also suggest you use bug spray and bring water for your comfort. Emergency cold water is available on the tour as needed.

Wet road conditions or low staffing levels may cancel a tour. If you have made a reservation and a tour must be cancelled, you will receive a call the morning of the tour. The ranger-guided interpretive bus tour leaves from the visitor center and travels through the historic ranch site, through the bison pasture, and to the prairie overlook area, 3.2 miles one-way, providing information about the flora, fauna, and cultural history of the prairie over the speaker system. Visitors will see the prairie, wide-open spaces, seasonal wildflowers, bison (potentially), and other wildlife, insects, birds, and reptiles. Buses are air-conditioned and heated. Visitors have an opportunity to get out of the bus at the Prairie Overlook Area and experience the wide-open prairie. Visitors then reboard the bus and travel back along the same route to the visitor center.

Historic building tours are self-guided and not included with the daily bus tour. Bus tours are typically between 60 and 90 minutes, so please plan accordingly. There are no restroom facilities on the prairie. Children are welcome, but strollers might be difficult to manage on the bus. Pets, except for service animals, are not permitted on the bus tours. Please do not leave your pet inside your vehicle or unattended, as vehicles become dangerously hot and outcomes can be fatal.

There is no driving on the preserve. To see more of the prairie, we suggest traveling the Flint Hills National Scenic Byway K-177 to view the tallgrass prairie via your own private vehicle. A Scenic Overlook area is available a few miles south of Cottonwood Falls, KS with interpretive waysides that explain the tallgrass prairie and the cultural history in the Flint Hills. Tune your car radio to 1680 AM to learn more.

 
One of the house parlors on display
North parlor inside the 1881 historic mansion

NPS Photo

Guided House Tours - 20 minutes
During the summer months, daily guided house tours of the 1881 limestone Spring Hill Ranch house are conducted as staffing allow. Please check at the visitor center for scheduled tour times.

Winter house tours are mostly self-guided, as staffing levels are lower. Interpretive text panels are inside the house, barn, and outbuildings all year long to help tell the stories of the people living at the ranch. Cell phone tours are also available here and at the site. Cell phone service is often difficult inside the limestone house, but files can be downloaded from the link provided above.

The historic buildings are open daily and may also be viewed at our Virtual Tour Section.

Last updated: October 15, 2018

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

2480B KS Hwy 177
Strong City, KS 66869

Phone:

(620) 273-8494 xhit 0

Contact Us