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Close encounters with wild bison in Kansas’ only national preserve.


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Map Key

3.6

Miles

5.8

KM

Point to Point

1,489' 454 m

High

1,264' 385 m

Low

266' 81 m

Up

65' 20 m

Down

2%

Avg Grade (1°)

6%

Max Grade (3°)

Dogs No Dogs

Features Birding · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife

Family Friendly Historic 1800s ranch building tours and Junior Ranger activities.

Need to Know

There are over 40 miles of trail in the park. Most of it is through active pasture, so your plans need to be fluid as the bison and cattle may decide to take the trails for themselves. There is no shade anywhere on this trail, so bring plenty of sun protection.

Description

The Scenic Overlook Trail starts at the National Park Service visitor center and follows the road used for bus tours to the park’s scenic overlook. The tour road is a winding 3.6 miles through several pastures including the Windmill Pasture, home to the park’s herd of wild bison.

The bison may thwart your plans for an easy out-and-back hike by parking themselves on the road forcing you on some “off trail” adventures to bypass the herd.

Flora & Fauna

The main highlight here is the bison but you'll also see cattle, birds, bees, and beetles. This is the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve, so you'll definitely see some tallgrass prairie complete with wildflowers.

Contacts

Shared By:

Phillip Oyer

Trail Ratings

  4.7 from 3 votes

#7646

Overall
  4.7 from 3 votes
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4 Star
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Trail Rankings

#44

in Kansas

#7,646

Overall
5 Views Last Month
798 Since May 21, 2018
Easy/Intermediate Easy/Intermediate

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Photos

Scenic overlook
May 19, 2018 near Cottonw…, KS
Bison crossing the road.
May 19, 2018 near Cottonw…, KS
Scenic overlook
May 19, 2018 near Cottonw…, KS
Bison on the trail.
May 19, 2018 near Cottonw…, KS
Park map showing the entire trail system.
May 19, 2018 near Cottonw…, KS
American Bison
Apr 7, 2020 near Cottonw…, KS

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