In 1994 the National Park Trust purchased the 10,894 acre remnant of tallgrass prairie for future management as a unit of the National Park System. In the heart of the Kansas Flint Hills is your opportunity to experience the natural wonder and rich history of this quintessential American landscape. The Southwind Nature Trail is 1.75 miles of marvelous vistas and detailed looks at the prairie ecosystem. Also available is a seven mile bus tour led by National Park Service rangers.
The preserve offers a historic ranch headquarters area with buildings dating from the late 19th century; a late 19th century one-room school house; a nature trail that offers some magnificent views of the Flint Hills landscape; and acres of prairie lands.
Because this park represents a partnership between the National Park Trust, who will retain ownership of most of the acreage, and the National Park Service, who will manage the site, visitor services are also being offered in partnership. Some tours are led by National Park Service Rangers and some are led by National Park Trust Guides, but all offer a glimpse into the special stories represented by the natural and cultural resources of this land.
Self-Guided Tours– Visitor information and a 10-minute orientation video are available. With the help of a brochure and wayside exhibits, you can tour the historic ranch headquarters area.
Walking Trails – A short stroll will take you to a scenic overlook behind the historic headquarters area. You can take a longer hike on the 1 3/4 mile long Southwind Nature Trail.
Bookstore – The Z Bar Bookstore offers books, photographs, paintings, and other prairie related items. It is open weekdays from 11:00am to 3:00pm and weekends 10:00am to 4:00pm.
Weekend House Tours – On Saturdays and Sundays, from April 10 to October 31, tours of the 1881 limestone ranch house are offered hourly from 10:30am to 3:30pm.
Group Tours of the Ranch Headquarters Area – A tour of the ranch headquarters area and buildings can be arranged for groups of 15 of more. This tour is approximately 2 hours in length and must be scheduled at least 2 weeks in advance. Cost is $5.00 per person ($2.00 for those 18 and under), which includes the suggested entrance donation. Reservations should be made by calling the National Park Trust Office at 316-273-8494.
Treasures of the Tallgrass Tour – A 7-mile long guided bus tour is offered daily, except Tuesdays, from April 10 to October 31. This tour, lasting approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes, is offered at 11:00am, 1:00pm, and 3:00pm. Cost is $5.00 per person ($2.00 for those 18 and under). Advance reservations are recommended but you can join a tour on the day of your visit if space is available.
Combination Group Tours (Ranch Headquarters and Tallgrass Bus Tour) – Groups of 15 or more may schedule this combination tour which includes a 1-hour prairie tour and a 1-hour headquarters area tour. Cost is $7.00 per adult ($4.00 for those 18 and under), which includes suggested entrance donation. Reservations must be made 2 weeks in advance by calling the National Park Trust Office at 316-273-8494.