"Pristine Kansas prairie isn't one kind of grass, or kind of flower. It's hundreds. Meadow rose and wavy-leafed thistle. Bluestem and sunflower. Leadplant and milkweed. The variety does more than look pretty. It insures against biological calamity. In hot weather, some species wilt-others flourish. When insects and disease strike, some suffer-others thrive. Here's how the prairie bears adversity: diversity."
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. 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 hilly vistas and bison.
Learn more about Healthy Parks Healthy People.
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 Kansas Flint Hills. Fall burns can occur October and November. Burning is highly dependent on weather. Trail closures may occur with less than 2 hours notice. Air quality may diminish during burns from 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: January 9, 2024