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Come Experience the Kansas Flint Hills - Not what you think!

Updated on November 8, 2014

The Grassroots of America

Soaring and diving from hilltop to valley along one of the quiet country highways through the Flint Hills will quickly challenge your notions of prairie. Flat? Not here. Empty? Not if you look closely. The continent's largest remaining tract of tallgrass is also one of America's unique places, harboring a wealth of adventure, beauty, and history. The region's sweeping horizons and carpets of wildflowers captivate artists and enchant visitors.

Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve

The Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve sits in the center of the Kansas Flint Hills and represents the way things were before changed by man. Some of the those changes have been good, some not so good. Let's see if we can recognize the best balance for all - and share it with people from around the world.

Three-story stone barn on the grounds
Three-story stone barn on the grounds

The Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve

My photo of the barn on the day of special event I attended

This site was a working ranch for many years. It is now preserved through a public-private trust and many good Kansas Flint Hills supporters.

This three-story stone barn is a center of attention at the Preserve. Come see the exhibits, and enjoy the view from the barn.

The Kansas Flint Hills were featured in National Geographic article

Come see some magnificent photos and read the remarkable story about this distinctive landscape - that you didn't know was hidden away in east-central Kansas.

Horses on the prairie
Horses on the prairie

Horses on the prairie

A subtle approach works best on the tallgrass prairie

These are horses grazing on a ranch in the Kansas Flint Hills. The wind is always blowing the quiet is something many of us have never experienced like this before. Come give it a try.

Click on this photograph I took one day - to be taken to a number of articles written about the Kansas Flint Hills (some the links may be old, but the good ones make up for them...)

You will be surprised - one of the first is in the New York Times...

Links to some Kansas Flint Hills Blogs - The Flint Hills are an incredible, wonderful, almost magical place. There's no other place like it. - Naturalist Jan Ja

The blogs at these links, each tell the story of the Kansas Flint Hills in their own distinctive way.

Flying W Ranch
Flying W Ranch

Flying W Ranch

Honoring the Cowboy Traditions of the Tall grass Prairie, Kansas Flint Hills - Flying W Ranch

"Come experience the authentic cowboy lifestyle, complete with horseback riding, cattle round ups, wagon rides, prairie burns, wildflower walks, star gazing, fishing and hiking in the Kansas Flint Hills. The Flying W Ranch is located in the heart of the Flint Hills, America’s last tallgrass prairie, and is operated by fifth-generation Flint Hills ranchers Josh and Gwen Hoy. This 7,000 acre cattle ranch offers grand vistas, relaxation, and memorable experiences for all of its guests."

Double click on the photo to see all that the Flying W now has to offer their guests. When I took that photo, perhaps 2006 or so, they had a couple of bunk houses, catered chuck wagon meals, and ran a sizable ranch. Now there is so much more, for the whole region. Enjoy your visit.

Horses by the windmill
Horses by the windmill

Horses at Grandview Ranch

When I took this photo, Grandview Ranch provided guided interpretive horseback riding opportunities around the Flint HIlls. These are now provided by the Flying W Ranch operation. Click on this photo to go directly to the horseback riding options available.

Konza Prairie Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) - Located near Manhattan, Kansas, part of Kansas State University

The Konza Prairie is a special part of the Kansas Flint Hills region.

Konza Prairie with buffalo in background
Konza Prairie with buffalo in background

Konza Prairie

Photo: Konza in spring with herd of bison in distance

Click on the photo, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons, to go to the Wikipedia information on the Konza Prairie, in the Kansas Flint Hills.

Your Comments on the Kansas Flint Hills - I believe it is a very special place; I hope you agree! ;-)

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    • DeborahDian profile image

      Deborah Carr 

      4 years ago from Orange County, California

      It's sounds like a beautiful place to visit!

    • DrBillSmithWriter profile imageAUTHOR

      William Leverne Smith 

      5 years ago from Hollister, MO

      @lollyj lm: I appreciate this comment from someone who does appreciate the stories. Thanks! ;-)

    • lollyj lm profile image

      Laurel Johnson 

      5 years ago from Washington KS

      I've lived in several other states and always missed the prairie winds and the distinctive scents carried on them. Many moons ago my grandpa told me the prairies never actually die because prairie grass seeds remain dormant in the earth just waiting to return.

      Wonderful lens. Loved the photos.

    • DrBillSmithWriter profile imageAUTHOR

      William Leverne Smith 

      5 years ago from Hollister, MO

      @justramblin: Actual experiences are so valuable, yes! Thanks for the visit! ;-)

    • justramblin profile image

      justramblin 

      5 years ago

      Dr Bill, I love your photos - the horses in the grass shot is gorgeous. I always thought Kansas was super flat, flat flat. thanks for straightening me out on this. I thought the same about Missouri and I sure was wrong. I enjoyed my visit with you to the Kansas Flint Hills. thanks for sharing,

    • DrBillSmithWriter profile imageAUTHOR

      William Leverne Smith 

      5 years ago from Hollister, MO

      @TolovajWordsmith: My pleasure. Glad you liked them! ;-)

    • TolovajWordsmith profile image

      Tolovaj Publishing House 

      5 years ago from Ljubljana

      You sure have great time in Kansas Flint Hills! Thanks for lovely photos:)

    • DrBillSmithWriter profile imageAUTHOR

      William Leverne Smith 

      5 years ago from Hollister, MO

      @michalk lm: Thank you! ;-)

    • michalk lm profile image

      michalk lm 

      5 years ago

      very nice pictures

    • DrBillSmithWriter profile imageAUTHOR

      William Leverne Smith 

      6 years ago from Hollister, MO

      @captainj88: Thank you, I agree... have spent time in each of those towns... on the fringe of the Kansas Flint Hills! ;-)

    • captainj88 profile image

      Leah J. Hileman 

      6 years ago from East Berlin, PA, USA

      Kansas is a special place for me. My music mentor/hero, Rich Mullins, lived there and wrote many songs about the flatlands and the hills. I got to spend time in McPherson, Lindsborg and Newton this spring and really loved the state.

    • DrBillSmithWriter profile imageAUTHOR

      William Leverne Smith 

      6 years ago from Hollister, MO

      @WriterJanis2: It is a neat place, for sure! ;-)

    • profile image

      AllisonsAttic 

      6 years ago

      Nice area!!

    • WriterJanis2 profile image

      WriterJanis2 

      6 years ago

      Looks like nature's heaven.

    • DrBillSmithWriter profile imageAUTHOR

      William Leverne Smith 

      6 years ago from Hollister, MO

      @anonymous: I had a distant relative who was mayor there, many years ago. I'm the family historian... ;-)

    • DrBillSmithWriter profile imageAUTHOR

      William Leverne Smith 

      6 years ago from Hollister, MO

      @AllisonsAttic: Thanks! ;-)

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      6 years ago

      Hubby is from Phillipsburg, so I've seen the beauty of Kansas. Nicely done!

    • DrBillSmithWriter profile imageAUTHOR

      William Leverne Smith 

      6 years ago from Hollister, MO

      @grannysage: That's what makes this country so great... something for everyone! Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. I really appreciate that! ;-)

    • profile image

      grannysage 

      6 years ago

      I am very familiar with the Kansas Flint Hills and agree that Kansas has a subtle beauty that many miss. I lived in western Kansas for many years and went on a field trip to the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve and found it very interesting. But I have to say, my heart belongs to the UP of Michigan.

    • DrBillSmithWriter profile imageAUTHOR

      William Leverne Smith 

      6 years ago from Hollister, MO

      @anonymous: The rolling hills of the Flint Hills of Kansas are very special. Thanks for noticing! ;-)

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      6 years ago

      It isn't all flat in Kansas, I see - thanks!

    • DrBillSmithWriter profile imageAUTHOR

      William Leverne Smith 

      6 years ago from Hollister, MO

      @choosehappy: We try to get the word out. Now that you know, perhaps you can include it in your travel plans. Get off the Interstate and enjoy! Thanks for stopping by, and commenting! ;-)

    • choosehappy profile image

      Vikki 

      6 years ago from US

      I hadn't heard of this place but it sounds wonderful!

    • DrBillSmithWriter profile imageAUTHOR

      William Leverne Smith 

      6 years ago from Hollister, MO

      @gypsykitschpres: Great! Meet at the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve! See you there! ;-)

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      6 years ago

      it looks like a really lovely place to spend some time

    • gypsykitschpres profile image

      gypsykitschpres 

      6 years ago

      Horses on the prairie, now you're talking. Love the lens. Tweeted this to my 98,000 Twitter followers. I think we should all come to the Kansas Flint Hills on vacation!

    • DrBillSmithWriter profile imageAUTHOR

      William Leverne Smith 

      6 years ago from Hollister, MO

      @anonymous: Thanks for stopping by. It is a very distinctive place. If you approach it correctly, it is really great. If you are looking for something else, maybe not so much. ;-)

    • DrBillSmithWriter profile imageAUTHOR

      William Leverne Smith 

      6 years ago from Hollister, MO

      @Virginia Allain: You know it well when you say "subtle shadings and undulations!" Thanks. I'll check yours out! ;-)

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 

      6 years ago from Central Florida

      I love the Flint Hills and their subtle shadings and undulations. I even have a page about it on Squidoo as well. "great minds" as they say... run in the same channels.

    • DrBillSmithWriter profile imageAUTHOR

      William Leverne Smith 

      6 years ago from Hollister, MO

      @anonymous: You would like it, based on what I have seen of your lenses... check it out in person this summer! I appreciate the blessing! ;-)

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      6 years ago

      I had not heard of the Kansas Flint Hills before, thank you for taking me to this special place of yours!

    • DrBillSmithWriter profile imageAUTHOR

      William Leverne Smith 

      6 years ago from Hollister, MO

      @lclchors: Wonderful! How lucky you are! ;-)

    • DrBillSmithWriter profile imageAUTHOR

      William Leverne Smith 

      6 years ago from Hollister, MO

      @artbyrodriguez: Thank you, very much! A labor of love - I guess it shows! ;-)

    • DrBillSmithWriter profile imageAUTHOR

      William Leverne Smith 

      6 years ago from Hollister, MO

      @lollyj lm: Neat! Thank you for your comment. I want everyone to be aware of what is there! ;-)

    • DrBillSmithWriter profile imageAUTHOR

      William Leverne Smith 

      6 years ago from Hollister, MO

      @tricomanagement: Great. Best wishes on making a visit. ;-)

    • DrBillSmithWriter profile imageAUTHOR

      William Leverne Smith 

      6 years ago from Hollister, MO

      @SusanDeppner: Thank you. That is my inspiration. Everyone should know... ;-)

    • lclchors profile image

      lclchors 

      6 years ago

      I live here in the Flinthills and love it

    • artbyrodriguez profile image

      Beverly Rodriguez 

      6 years ago from Albany New York

      Very well written lens and so inviting!

    • lollyj lm profile image

      Laurel Johnson 

      6 years ago from Washington KS

      Wonderful!! I live in Kansas and the Flint Hills are always a joy to see.

      Love the lens.

    • tricomanagement profile image

      tricomanagement 

      6 years ago

      amazing - this is now on the list of places to visit. Thanks for the insight to our vanishing parries

    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 

      6 years ago from Arkansas USA

      Bet most people had no idea there was something that looked like this in Kansas. The prairie area is very special and beautiful. Thanks for sharing!

    • DrBillSmithWriter profile imageAUTHOR

      William Leverne Smith 

      6 years ago from Hollister, MO

      @DLeighAlexander: Thank you for your visit! Yes, there is much more variety in Kansas than most folks see, just flying by on the Interstate, or flying over, for that matter! ;-)

    • DLeighAlexander profile image

      DLeighAlexander 

      6 years ago

      Kansas is a great place to visit. The Flying W Ranch sounds like a real fun experience too. My husband lived in Derby Kansas as a boy; his dad was stationed there with the Air Force.

      When we visited Kansas recently, I liked the endless fields of sunflowers, they were beautiful!

      Enjoyed reading your lens.

    • DLeighAlexander profile image

      DLeighAlexander 

      6 years ago

      Kansas is a great place to visit. The Flying W Ranch sounds like a real fun experience too. My husband lived in Derby Kansas as a boy; his dad was stationed there with the Air Force.

      When we visited Kansas recently, I liked the endless fields of sunflowers, they were beautiful!

      Enjoyed reading your lens.

    • DrBillSmithWriter profile imageAUTHOR

      William Leverne Smith 

      6 years ago from Hollister, MO

      @BuckHawkcenter: Have a great visit! ;-)

    • BuckHawkcenter profile image

      BuckHawkcenter 

      6 years ago

      I live close enough to go visit. I will have to check this out.

    • DrBillSmithWriter profile imageAUTHOR

      William Leverne Smith 

      6 years ago from Hollister, MO

      @mbgphoto: Great. You know to what I refer... And, it gets even more interesting off of the I-35 Interstate Highway... In the Flint Hills, the backroads, through the valleys, are spectacular, as well. ;-) Thanks for your visit, here!

    • mbgphoto profile image

      Mary Beth Granger 

      6 years ago from O'Fallon, Missouri, USA

      Years ago, I traveled regularly between KC and Wichita on business...loved driving through the Flint Hills...beautiful area.

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