June 13, 2024

Just Moments

Travel Groove

Planning an end-of-summer trip? Try these Kansas outdoor attractions

The waning days of summer break bring another chance to experience the great Kansas outdoors.

The state offers many outdoor attractions curated for families and individuals. The beauty of visiting outdoor sites is there won’t be crowds or lines. 

We have rounded up a list of eight outdoor Kansas attractions you should visit before school starts and fall sets in.

The Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve near Strong City offers hiking and bison viewing.

Peace is bountiful at this 11,000-acre prairie in Strong City. Visitors can expect to see bison, wildlife, wildflowers, vistas, a historic ranch and a one-room schoolhouse.

Start your visit by stopping in at the visitor’s center, 2480B K-177 highway, where guests can find trail maps to guide them through the prairie.

Visits to the preserve are free and open year-round.

The National Park Service recommends visiting Tallgrass Prairie at the end of summer and beginning of fall as the tall grasses are starting to reach their maximum height.

Hikers can take a 12-mile hike through the preserve that offers views of the prairie and bison. Other activities at Tallgrass include a self-guided tour of the ranch and bison viewing on the scenic overlook trail.

More:Kansas historic hotels offer a look back in time for guests. Here are eight you can road trip to this summer.

The sun rises over the Konza Praire Biological Station south of Manhattan. The 3,487-hectare preserve of native tallgrass prairie is a protected section of the Flint Hills.

The second stop on our list is just a short drive from Topeka. The Konza Prairie is just south of Manhattan at 100 Konza Prairie Lane. 

Most of the Konza Prairie is a biological research station and off-limits to the public, but three nature trails are available. 

The trails are open 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily and are free to visit. The three trails vary in length, from 2.6 miles to 6.2 miles. 

The prairie’s hiking trails take visitors through lowland gallery forest, across Kings Creek and over ancient limestone ledges that lead to the native tallgrass prairie. 

The highest points offer a view of the Flint Hills and Kansas River valley. 

Hikers can expect a moderate walk with occasional steep climbs, uneven footing and narrow pathways. 

Trails twist and turn through Little Jerusalem Badlands State Park giving visitors a chance to experience Kansas nature up close. The park and trails are located near Oakley.

Kansas’ badlands are one of the state’s most unique features.

Little Jerusalem Badlands State Park is in western Kansas between Oakley and Scott City at the intersection of County Road 400 and Gold Road.

Visitors must purchase a Kansas State Parks vehicle permit for $5 to enter the park.

The state park is open sunup to sundown daily.

Visitors can hike two trails. The Overlook trail is one-quarter mile and offers a scenic viewpoint. The Life on the Rocks trail is 1.5 miles and takes hikers along the rim of the rocks and two scenic overlooks.