Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve
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Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve

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Update 2021: Many sites, parks, and places are open. However, please check the official websites and our visiting tips below.

When Is the Best Time

When Is the Best Time
Hike 24/7 year-round. It's never crowded. May-Sept. is best for wildflowers and birds. Wild sunflowers bloom mid-Aug.-Sept. The grass is tallest Sept.-Nov., depending on rainfall. Winter is beautiful when it snows; bleak otherwise.

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Where and Tips

Strong City, Kansas
United States

Hike over 40 miles of easy trails through 11,000 acres of gorgeous, unspoiled prairie with endless skies, colorful wildflowers, wildlife (including bison!), a forested creek, and a one-room schoolhouse. On the historical ranch there are an educational visitor center, a beautiful limestone house with a hand-carved walnut staircase, and a three-story limestone barn (complete with a horse and a barn cat). There are free prairie bus tours in the summer. If you want to get away from the city and fill your lungs with fresh air and experience nature and peace and quiet, this is the place for you! http://www.nps.gov/tapr/index.h…

Comments

MaggieAndB

Beautiful! Is there a best time to spot bison?

Hiker1

Great photos and description. Thanks!

Additional 'WHEN to go' information here: http://www.nps.gov/tapr/planyou…

Michelle R. Rundell

MaggieAndB, the bison are there year-round, so I would say the best time to spot them is -- daytime! Calves are born in May and June. It's a big place, so if you go when the visitor center is open (8:30 or 9:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.), a ranger might be able to point you in the direction where they were last seen. A word of caution: The bison have been known to charge people if they get too close, so bring binoculars and give them at least 100 yards.

Martin

Thanks, this is on my bucket list now!

@Michelle: Great, that it's never crowded. Just curious which are months are the most quietest with even fewer visitors or almost none ;)

Michelle R. Rundell

Martin, basically the less desirable the weather is, the fewer visitors there are. July and August are slow due to the summer heat and humidity. The quietest time is December through March when there are no tours, the weather is cold, the grasses are brown, the wildlife is scarce -- in short, when the preserve is at its least attractive. Although when there is exceptionally warm weather (such as Thursday, Friday and Saturday this past week when temps. have been in the 70s Fahrenheit (20s Celsius)!), there is a spike in visitation. In the winter my favorite time to go is on a sunny day after a decent snowfall (see photo), which we haven't had yet this winter.

Melissa Sallee

Michelle, you had me at "never crowded". Thank you for the detailed 'when' section. Authentic prairie spaces are hard to come by.

p.s. Winter is my favorite season to hike, too.

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