Preserve Backcountry Hiking Trails

hiking gate for crossing through pastures and trail marker stone
Limestone trail markers orient hikers. Use hiking gates to avoid cattle guards.

NPS Photo

Visitors may experience the prairie through the 40 miles of prairie hiking trails. Trails are open 24 hours, daily. No permit is required. Backcountry trails are moderately difficult ranging from 3.8 - 13 miles. Each trail offers a unique perspective of the tallgrass prairie ecosystem. Scenic vistas, prairie grasses, wildflowers, wildlife, and rugged terrain may be experienced while hiking. The preserve backcountry trails are listed as a year-round event in coordination with the American Volkssport Association.

Things to Know, Before You Go

Trail Maps

A new 508 compliant Hiking Trail Map is available for download here.

To learn more about individual trails and what to expect, a Trail Description Guide is downloadable at

Trail maps are available at the visitor center and kiosks near the historic ranch buildings. A short introduction is available before hiking into the backcountry during business hours by one of our friendly rangers.

Large limestone trail markers are positioned at backcountry trail intersections. Each block has a trail map, oriented North, and a location number respective to its position on the map.


Trail Rules

  • Foot traffic only: wheelchairs for mobility impaired is the only exception. However, the trails are not designed for ADA accessibility.
  • No Biking: Bicycle racks are provided for your convenience at the Visitor Center and Bottomland Trail.
  • No Vehicles: Motorized transportation is restricted to authorized staff to reduce environmental impact. This includes ATV's, UTV's, 4-wheelers, segways, hover boards, motorized scooters and E-bikes.
  • No Horses: Pack animals are not currently permitted.
  • No Camping: Public campgrounds are found north and south within 30 minutes of the preserve.
  • No Flames, Grilling or Smoking: Grasslands are flammable. Help protect them.
  • No Harrassing Wildlife: Keep wildlife wild.
  • No Hunting: All wildlife is protected on the preserve.
  • No Pets (except service animals): Even the presence of domestic animals can change wildlife behavior and habitation.
  • No Drones: We maintain the natural experience of the wild prairie.
electric fence sign
Caution signs are posted around entry gates to the bison pastures.

NPS Photo


Strollers may not be conducive to gravel roads and mowed trails. Use good judgement before hiking into the bison pasture with children in strollers. The Nature Trails offer shorter trail options with small children.

Bison reside in the Windmill Pasture and West Traps Pasture. All entrances have caution signs. Hikers are cautioned not cross through the electrified barbed wire fence. Allow at least 125 yards (more than a football field). Do not attempt to pet or come in close contact with the bison, even if they approach you.

Metal hiking gates provide access between all pastures. Simply raise the lift lever, push open the gate, cross through, then returning the gate to the closed position. Cattle crossings are large metal pipes that cover a pit. Their design keeps cattle and bison in their respective pastures.

Check the weather forecast before heading out. Temperatures and precipitation can suddenly change in the Midwest.

Visit the Safety page for more information on wildlife and seasonal checklists.


Popular Routes

Not sure where to start? Here are a few popular choices. Each trail has its own beauty. We suggest you see them all at some point.

Last updated: November 25, 2023

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

2480B KS Hwy 177
Strong City, KS 66869


620 273-8494 x270

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