Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve

Quick Facts

Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve

Kansas

(620) 273-8494

Map Directions

Things To Do

Overview

On November 12, 1996, legislation was passed creating Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve in the Flint Hills region of Kansas. The preserve protects some remaining 10,894 acres of an ecosystem once covering over 400,000 square miles. The current preserve includes, in addition to the prairie lands, an 1881 historic ranch house, limestone barn and outbuildings, and one-room schoolhouse.

Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve offers many opportunities to experience the rich natural and cultural heritage that exists in the Flint Hills of Kansas. Begin your visit to the preserve at the visitor center, located behind the main house. Exhibits, brochures, and a 10-minute audio visual program are available. A guided bus tour, during which visitors can learn about the geology of the prairie, is offered daily.

The preserve buildings are open year-round from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and closed on Thanksgiving, December 25, January 1, and other holidays as posted.

Map of Tallgrass Prairie

Latitude, Longitude: 38.434354, -96.564461

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Activities

  • Fishing

    Three preserve 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 (F.I.S.H.) program. The fishing program is available during daylight hours year-round. A valid Kansas fishing license is required for anglers between the ages of 16 to 65.

    In addition to a valid Kansas fishing license for those aged 16 to 65, anglers will need to have in their possession a free Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve permit. These permits must be completed per the instructions located at the information kiosk in the parking area prior to fishing. Anglers are limited to worms and artificial lures and may fish from the bank only. Additional fishing regulations are posted at the parking area kiosk.

    The fishing ponds are located northeast of Strong City. From Strong City, travel east on U.S. 50 for 1.5 miles, turning north on U-Road at the Kansas historic marker. Travel approximately one mile on gravel road. The parking lot is on the west side of the road. The ponds are accessible via a short hike from the parking area.

  • Hiking

    Tallgrass Prairie offers both frontcountry and backcountry trails for visitors to enjoy. The three frontcountry trails allow pets, but they must be kept on a leash no longer than six feet in length at all times. All backcountry hiking trails are moderately difficult and range from 3.8 to 13 miles. Trails are open 24 hours, however, no camping is permitted. Additionally, the Windmill pasture section of the preserve is home to a herd of more than 15 bison. Please do not attempt to pet or come in close contact with the bison. These are wild animals and will charge or defend themselves when feeling threatened.

  • Historic Sites

    Ranger-guided tours of the historic ranch house are sometimes offered. There is not a specific tour schedule. Please call ahead (620-273-8494, 6034, or 7034) for tour availability.

  • Picnicking

    Picnicking is available at the preserve.

  • Wildlife Watching

    The Windmill pasture section of the preserve is home to a herd of more than 15 bison.

Seasonality/Weather

Prairie weather has a desert-like personality of opposing extremes. The midwest is well known for its thunderstorms and tornadoes, and wind is a constant factor. In the winter months temperatures can range from 60+ degrees Fahrenheit in the daytime and drop to well below freezing at night. Snowstorms come and go yet only occasionally leave accumulations.

Park Partners

The Nature Conservancy

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.

(800) 628-6860

Directions

Driving

The preserve is located in northern Chase County, Kansas two miles north of intersection U.S. 50 and Flint Hills National Scenic Byway 177 (K-177) west of Strong City. Watch for brown attraction signs.

From Kansas City travel southwest on I-335 to Emporia, KS. At Emporia travel 16 miles west on U.S. 50 and north for two miles on K-177.

From Wichita travel northeast on I-35 to the Cassody exit. Travel north on K-177 for 25 miles to Strong City. Travel through the town and turn west on U.S. 50, traveling west approximately 1 mile. Travel north on K-177 for 2 miles. The preserve is on the west side of the highway.

Flying

The closest airports are the Kansas City and Wichita International Airports.

Phone Numbers

Primary

(620) 273-8494

Links