North America's Tallgrass prairie once covered 170 million acres, but has been developed and plowed under. Less than 4% now remains, mostly in the Kansas Flint Hills. The preserve (outside of the heritage area) protects a nationally significant remnant of tallgrass prairie.
AC / Heating
Wheel Chair Accessible
Though this site is outside of the borders of Freedom's Frontier National Heritage Area, its stories connect with ours and it is one of our National Park Service partners.
Nearly 11,000 acres of wide open space, beautiful vistas, seasonal wildflowers, wildlife, bison herd, and plenty of solitude is waiting at the Tallgrass Prairie National Reserve.
Spring brings prescribed burns, blackened earth with white limestone ridges along the hill sides, then a green carpet of grass within two weeks, ready for seasonal grazing cattle brought in on cattle trucks.
Summer has prairie grasses growing and cattle grazing as puffy clouds cast shadows as they skirt along the rolling hills of the prairie. By mid July cattle are "gathered" off the prairie by cowboys on horseback and loaded back onto semi trucks.
Fall arrives with tallgrass prairie grasses reaching their maximum heights and the answer to "where's the tallgrass?" that has been asked all year long. Grasses reach from waist high to well over a person's head, with seed heads in bloom and stems turning a golden hue to bronze; a breathtaking view of the less than 4% remaining of the tallgrass prairie ecosystem.
With Winter comes cold, snow, and a beautiful setting of isolation on the tallgrass prairie. Tallgrasses are blown over and animals use them for cover against the elements. If you go for a hike, you may see the bison herd foraging among the knocked down grasses with snow on their backs.
Seen throughout the entire year, cultural history and magnificent 1880s limestone buildings that represent the end of the open range to the time of enclosed ranch holdings.
The preserve offers many opportunities to make a meaningful connection to the prairie and the people that lived here. We hope you will have fun, make lifelong memories, and develop a deep appreciation for this very special place. There is something for everyone here at Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve. Come experience this jewel of the Flint Hills.
A 10-minute site orientation video is available at the visitor center. Presentation is open-captioned with audio-description available via headsets and/or hearing aid loop. A script is also available upon request. The preserve's main brochure is now available in Braille at the visitor center desk. It is also called the Black Band or Unigrid brochure. Some parts of the site are wheelchair accessible; others are accessible with removable ramps. Ask a park ranger for assistance.
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