Engage in the vast beauty of rolling hills and breathtaking views along the Flint Hills in east-central Kansas. This is one of the largest tallgrass prairies left in the world and can still be experienced by visitors through historic attractions, hiking, overnight stays, education and events.
The Flint Hills encompasses 13 Kansas counties, including Butler County. It consists of a band of hills stretching from Kansas to Oklahoma. Oklahomans generally refer to the same geologic formation as the Osage Hills or “the Osage.”
The Flint Hills Eco-region is designated as a distinct region because it has the densest coverage of intact tallgrass prairie in North America. Due to its rocky soil, the early settlers were unable to plow the area, resulting in the prevalence of cattle ranches as opposed to the crop land more typical of the Great Plains. These ranches rely on annual controlled burns conducted by ranchers every spring to renew the prairie grasses for cattle to graze.
Here the tallgrass makes its last stand.
Tallgrass prairie once covered 170 million acres of North America, but within a generation most of it had been transformed into farmland.
Today less than 4% remains intact, mostly in the Kansas Flint Hills. Established on November 12, 1996, the preserve protects a nationally significant remnant of the once vast tallgrass prairie ecosystem.