Open to the Public
Whether you are a birdwatcher, a wildflower lover, a hiker or just an eternal student with an interest in history, this preserve will keep you busy. View All
The Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve is a public/private partnership with The Nature Conservancy and the National Park Service. This partnership is dedicated to preserving and enhancing a nationally significant remnant of the tallgrass prairie ecosystem and the processes that sustain it; preserving and interpreting the cultural resources of the preserve and the heritage associated with the former ranch property; and offering opportunities for education, inspiration and enjoyment through public access to its geological, ecological, scenic and historical features.
Size of the preserve
Nearly 11,000 acres.
Why The Nature Conservancy Selected the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve
In 1996, Congress authorized a new public/private national park unit in the Flint Hills of Kansas, in order to provide a major missing element of the National Park System. By 2004, however, the preserve’s private partner had run into financial difficulty, to the extent that it appeared portions of the land would be sold to satisfy debt and other liabilities. The Nature Conservancy responded to a request by Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius to come to the aid of the nation’s only tallgrass prairie within the National Park System.
What The Nature Conservancy is Doing at the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve
In 2009, The Nature Conservancy and the National Park Service reintroduced bison to the preserve. Thirteen bison were secured from Wind Cave National Park in South Dakota and shipped to start a small satellite herd at the preserve. These bison are first to roam the preserve in over a hundred years. Bison were traditionally a critical part of the tallgrass prairie ecosystem. The public is encouraged to the visit the preserve and welcome the herd which has reached 100 bison.
Open space as far as the eye can see
Located in the heart of the Flint Hills - the largest expanse of tallgrass prairie left in the world.
Bison and cattle grazing keeps the grass healthy
Ranching dominates the local economy and is primary agricultural use of the tallgrass prairie.
1880s Architecture and Historic Limestone Buildings
Lower Fox Creek Schoolhouse is about 1/2 mile from the Visitors Center.
Spectacular views any time of year
The grass is tallest in the fall, ice glistens in the winter, baby bison can be spied in the spring and bus tours run throughout the summer.
The Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve seeks to preserve this great treasure and make it accessible to all visitors. All activities at the preserve are free of charge. We suggest you begin your visit at the Visitor Center, which is the farthest limestone building to the south. Entrance to Visitor Center is on left side of breeze way.
HIKING TRAIL AND FISHING POND HOURS
Open 24 hours a day, year-round.
May - October: 8:30am -4:30pm, daily
November - April: 9am - 4:30pm, daily
Closed: New Years Day, Martin Luther King Jr Day, Presidents Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day
Trail and tour maps
Prairie bus tours offered April through October. Call (620) 273-8494 (hit 0) to make your reservation.
Fishing ponds are open to the public for catch and release fishing under the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Park's Fishing Impoundments and Stream Habitats program. The ponds are open during daylight hours year-round. A valid Kansas fishing license is required for anglers between the ages of 16 to 65.
No camping. No open flame.
This park represents something for everyone. Whether you are a birdwatcher, a wildflower lover, a hiker or just an eternal student with an interest in history, archeology, ranching or architecture, the preserve will keep you busy.
The Preserve headquarters lies 2 miles north of Strong City, Kansas on Highway 177 (Flint Hills Scenic Byway), 18 miles west of Emporia, 16 miles south of Council Grove and 85 miles northeast of Wichita. The property is in close proximity to the Kansas Turnpike (I-35) with convenient highway access to three of Kansas’ largest metropolitan areas: Kansas City, Wichita and Topeka.