Crossing over the Flint Hills, Kansas, in 1806, explorer Zebulon Pike wrote about great flints around the area. After discovering an abundance of residual flint, Pike himself coined Flint Hills. Today, Flint Hills exhibits travel experience beyond limits. It includes beautiful vistas, natural tours, farm, and ranch experiences.
Where Flint Hills Kansas Is Located?
Historically known as Blue Stem Hills, Flint Hills is located in Manhattan, Kansas. The State of Kansas is broadly divided into 6 regions. Flint Hills Kansas is situated in the eastern region. It also falls under north-central Oklahoma, with the largest intact tallgrass prairie in North America.
Geologists believe the Flint Hills were formed by an erosion of the Permian period limestones and shales. Around 250 million years ago, Flint Hills Kansas, was an inland sea with a tremendous amount of limestone, flint, shale, and shallow seas. The eruption resulted in the formation of the Flint Hills Kansas. Presently, it is a 4 million-acre region with fantastic biodiversity of deep-rooted prairie grasses.
8 Things That Make Flint Hills Kansas A Must Visit Destination
Man’s quest for shelter has had some reactionary effects on natural properties. It has affected the forests as well as the grasslands. Present-day, only 4% of the world’s tallgrass prairie is remaining. Hopefully, Flint Hills Kansas, preserves most of them.
The residents of Flint Hills work together to preserve and conserve nature and necessary human activities. The geography of the land makes it an ideal place for ranching and farming. However, you can also explore waterfalls and scenic drives. Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve, Pillsbury Crossing Wildlife Area, Cottonwood Falls, and others are marvelous places to visit in Flint Hills Kansas.
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Let’s see how splendid Flint Hills Kansas, could be your ideal destination.
1. Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve (Flint Hills Kansas)
Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve was set up in 1996 to preserve the remaining Tallgrass prairie. This National Preserve is stretched to an area of 11000 acres. You may also be surprised to know that Tallgrass Prairie covered around 170 million acres of North America.
This Preserve is located in Northern Chase County in Kansas, north of Strong City. National Park Service manages it. You can quickly get here in your car. There are signs throughout the Preserve that makes it tourist-friendly.
The Preserve offers several outdoor activities, including fishing. The Kansas Fishing Department has opened three preserved ponds for catch and release fishing. The fishing program runs throughout the year. Fishing is also available at Fox Creek from the Bottomland Trail.
Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve offers 40 miles long hiking trails. These trails are open all around the year for camping and biking. These Backcountry Hiking Trails are for foot traffic only.
Backcountry Hiking Trails range from 3.8 – 13 miles. These trails are moderately complex and offer a unique tallgrass prairie ecosystem experience. You can enjoy scenic vistas, wildflowers, wildlife, and many other romantic experiences.
The Preserve has many visitor centers where you can avail of trail maps. The Preserve also has large limestone blocks at the intersections of trails used for navigation. There is even a bicycle rack in the parking lot for visitors’ convenience.
Southwind Naturetrail, Fox Creek Trails, and Bottomland are safe trails for family hiking. The Scenic Overlook Trails lie in Windmill Pasture, home to a bison herd. Davis Trail and Prairie Fire Loop can also access the Bison pasture.
Hikers are advised to make a safe distance from the bison. There are caution signs that need to follow. Avoid the electrified wire fence and always follow the instructions.
Guided Tours are also available for you. The Guided Prairie Bus Tours start from April to October each year. There is also assistance for disabled people. All programs and tours are free of charge.
Click here for more information about the guided tours.
2. Cottonwood Falls (Flint Hills Kansas)
The ideal tourist destination Cottonwood Falls is situated in the Flint Hills area of Kansas. It is the largest city of Chase County, Kansas. The city offers various tourist attractions, including art galleries, antique shops, a fishing experience, a museum, and a country club. It is an excellent place for picnics or short breaks.
Kansas is known as one of the most productive agricultural states in the US. Farming and ranching have been practiced for a long time, and the geographical conditions are favorable for them. This ranching practice is also traced in Cottonwood Falls. Meanwhile, the city offers several exciting activities with breathtaking vistas of the tallgrass prairie, which are listed below:
- Chase State Fishing Lake & Wildlife Area is situated 1.5 miles west of Cottonwood Falls, stretched to 109 acres; this lake has a steep to a shallow rocky shoreline. It has a remarkable population of channel catfish, saugeye, white bass, bluefish, and several other species.
Hunting is allowed in the Wildlife Area, where you can hunt rabbits, turkeys, white-tailed deer, prairie chicken, and others. You can also observe a diversity of wildflowers here. Camping is also allowed in some parts of the area.
- Roniger Memorial Museum has a decent collection of Indian artifacts and Chase County historical items. The museum offers distinct historical materials for Indian American cultural study. The entry is free, and the visit takes 2 hours.
- Cottonwood Falls Dam and Bridge is situated on the north side of Cottonwood Falls, Kansas. Reconstructed in 2008, it was built of cut limestone and cottonwood logs that now keep the old Cottonwood Falls memoir. It is a tourist attraction for a short break or picnic.
- If you are an art adorer Flint Hills Gallery is your destination. Situated at Broadway, Cottonwood Falls, the gallery is famous Flint Hills artists Judith and Ken Mackey. Judith is considered the true Flint Hills artist with her paintings, while Ken designs Indian and Cowboy artifacts. A must-visit place!
3. Flint Hills Discovery Center (Flint Hills Kansas)
This municipal heritage and science center is located in Manhattan, Kansas. It demonstrates the history and preservation of Flint Hills through exhibition galleries, theatres, and several other programs. This science center is extended to a 35000 square foot area with 9 topical zones. A short introductory film, Tallgrass Prairie: Tides of Time, is a must-watch experience to know about Flint Hills’ ecology.
4. Konza Prairie Biological Station (Flint Hills Kansas)
It is an 8,616-acre preserve of native tallgrass prairie in Flint Hills Kansas. Located in the south of Manhattan, it is owned by Kansas State University. It offers 3 Loop Trails for hiking for the public that ranges from 2.6 to 6.2 miles. The trails give access to King Creek, native tallgrass prairie, and Permian limestone outcrops. The hiking experience includes views of beautiful wildflowers, wildlife, and the exploration of fossils.
5. Flint Hills National Scenic Byway (Flint Hills Kansas)
The Scenic Byway provides beautiful views of native grasses and flowers of the tallgrass prairie. The byway is 48 miles long. You can take a one-hour drive or a day and a half to enjoy the whole byway.
The byway is considered a gateway to the tallgrass prairie. You can enjoy the historical sites, beautiful vistas, and quaint towns during the drive. There is no fee for the byway road trip.
6. Council Grove Lake (Flint Hills Kansas)
Council Grove Lake is built on the Neosho River in Kansas. It is situated in Flint Hills’s heart, just 20 miles north of Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve. Council Grove Lake is suitable for picnics, camping, hiking, and boating. It has 8 parks with campgrounds, hiking trails, and a swimming beach.
It is open for sport-fishing, as it has distinct varieties of catfish, white bass, wiper, and others. Hunting is also allowed with some restrictions. The lake area has wild creatures like doves, quail, rabbits, white-tailed deer, etc. The lake attracts migrating birds during spring and fall, so it is the best time to visit the lake.
7. Chisholm Creek Park (Flint Hills Kansas)
The Flint Hills region has a variety of adventurous activities to offer. Boating, hiking, and camping activities can be accessed at various spots. Chisholm Creek at Chisholm Creek Park offers an excellent hiking experience near Wichita, Kansas.
Chisholm Creek is a 1.6-mile moderate loop trail for hiking. This multi-use trail with pleasant views of dense trees, grassy pastures, and perpetual water. You can walk on the trails and also ride a bicycle. It also offers miniature wildlife with squirrels and waterfowl.
8. Osage Hills State Park (Flint Hills Kansas)
Osage Hills State Park demonstrates the Natural Beauty of Oklahoma. Stretched to 1100 acres, the park is located west of Bartlesville. Fall is the best time to visit the park when the foliage transforms from green to different yellow, orange, and red shades. Mountain bikers love this park as it offers hilly terrains.
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Flint Hills, Kansas, has historical as well as geographical importance. The Flora and fauna of the region are versatile and unique. It is also unique to find trees in the tallgrass prairie due to ecosystem diversity.
Big Bluestem, Indian grass, little bluestem, and others are some unique grasses of the Flint Hills. Some of these tall grasses can grow up to 10 feet tall. These grasses contribute to the ranching activities in the prairie, which is the region’s backbone.
Winter and fall are the best seasons to visit Flint Hills Kansas. If you are eager to witness the cowboy culture, visit this beautiful land. You can also access shops, dining halls, and other amusement spots.