Visit Konza Prairie
Located in the Flint Hills of northeastern Kansas, Konza Prairie Biological Station is a native tallgrass prairie preserve owned by The Nature Conservancy and Kansas State University and managed as a field research station by the K-State Division of Biology.
Our three-fold mission is:
- Long-term ecological research
- Tallgrass prairie conservation
Since Konza Prairie is a biological research station, most of the area is off-limits to the general public. However, our Nature Trails are open to the public and available from dawn to dusk every day of the year.
From Manhattan: Take Hwy 177 over the Kansas River. Immediately past the river turn right (west) on to McDowell Creek Road (this road skirts the river and goes under the "KS" hill). Proceed 6 miles until you see the sign for Konza Prairie on your left.
From I-70: Take Exit 307 - McDowell Creek Road; turn north. Proceed 4.5 miles east on McDowell Creek Road; the entrance to Konza Prairie will be on your right.
Konza Prairie Trails
Konza Prairie's hiking trails wind through lowland gallery forest, cross Kings Creek, and climb over ancient limestone ledges into the native tallgrass prairie. At the highest points, enjoy spectacular views of the Flint Hills and the Kansas River Valley.
Enjoy a moderate walk with occasional steep climbs, uneven footing and narrow pathways. To protect the trail and hikers, the trail is occasionally closed during wet conditions or controlled burning.
There are 3 trails that all begin at the same place:
Kiosk at the common entrance to the Konza Prairie trail system
Nature Trail - 2.6 miles
Kings Creek Loop - 4.6 miles
Godwin Hill Loop - 6.2 miles
The trails are provided by K-State Division of Biology and Friends of Konza Prairie. Maintenance of the trails depends on voluntary user contributions.
A contribution of $2 is appreciated.
You may view or print our self-guided trail brochures.
- Nature Trail Loop (PDF)
Part of the trail system, our 2½-mile Nature Trail winds through lowland gallery forests, crosses Kings Creek, and climbs over ancient limestone ledges until it reaches upland tallgrass prairie, and at the highest point gives a spectacular view of the Flint Hills and the Kansas River Valley. Please allow minimum 2-hours to enjoy this 2.5-mile round trip hike.
- Kings Creek Loop (PDF)
Allow a minimum of 3½-hours to enjoy this 4.6-mile round trip hike.
- Godwin Hill Loop (no current trail guide)
Allow a minimum 4½-hours to enjoy this 6.2-mile round trip hike.
- Hokanson Homestead
Just off the Nature Trail is Hokanson Homestead, settled by Swedish immigrants in 1878. Situated near Kings Creek within the gallery forest, the homestead site features an original limestone barn and other foundations, as well as a wildlife observation lean-to and outdoor seating area.
No dogs allowed.
- No bikes allowed.
- Remain on designated roads and trails at all times.
- Collection or removal of flowers, rocks, feathers, or other materials from the conservation area is prohibited.
- Flying unmanned aircraft systems/drones is not allowed.
- Smoking, including inside buildings and vehicles, or any open flame is prohibited.
- Pack it in, pack it out. Disposal receptacles and picnic areas are not available on the trail.
- Horses are not permitted on-site.
- Camping or overnight parking is prohibited.
- Konza Prairie's hiking trails begin at the parking area near the main entrance.
- The trails are open every day from dawn to dusk.
- Plan to spend a minimum of 2-hours for the 2.6 mile short trail - 3.5 hrs. for the middle trail - 4.5 hrs. for the long trail.
- Consider your ability level and preparedness, the length of your hike and the amount of time you have before the preserve closes.
- Bring your own water and snacks.
- The only trash cans are at the trail head and at the composting toilet (at the Hokanson Homestead - about 1/2 way on the short trail).
- There is a porta-potty at the trail head and a second one near the Hokanson Homestead area. Otherwise there are no bathroom facilities.
- Wear closed-toes shoes that are comfortable for hiking relatively rough terrain.
- Follow the signs, be aware of your surroundings and stay on the trail.