Konza Prairie

Konza Prairie
Konza Prairie - All photos on this page by Jim Mason

Most of Konza was once a part of the Dewey Cattle Ranch. In the 1970's, the Nature Conservancy purchased the property, over 13 square miles.  It is managed by Kansas State University to be used as a research natural area to study the tallgrass prairie ecosystem.

Because many research projects are currently in progress, most of the area is closed to the public. However, a public nature trail takes visitors on a scenic hike across the virgin tallgrass prairie and atop the limestone-capped hills overlooking the property. Brochures, trail guides and an interpretive kiosk are found at the trailhead.

You may also download the brochures from the Konza Environmental Education Program website.

Hiking trail at the Konza

Research also occurs in that part of the Konza along the trail!
Do not disturb any marker flags or other research paraphernalia you see there.

The trail crosses Kings Creek with a forest community of oak, walnut, hickory, and hackberry trees. Look for woodpecker holes, which are also used by nesting eastern bluebirds, tufted titmice, and black-capped chickadees. Deer tracks are abundant, but the deer are most commonly seen early in the morning or in late evening.   Woodland wildflowers such as Sweet William Phlox may be seen on the forest floor along the trail.

Kings Creek

Part of the management research on the Konza involves the study of grazing by native ungulates.  To that end, one of the research units has ~300 bison on it.  They can sometimes be seen from the hiking trail.

Limestone outcrops characterize the Konza Prairie landscape. The shrub community is an important habitat for Bell's vireos, collared lizards, and eastern wood rats. The wood rat's huge stick nest is often found at the base of large rocks. The dominant plants of the tallgrass prairie are grasses. Big bluestem, Indiangrass, little bluestem, and switchgrass are the most abundant. During spring and summer the prairie is a canvas of colorful wildflowers! Prairie birds include upland sandpipers, eastern meadowlarks, mourning doves, and grasshopper sparrows. In spring, those who hike to the far end of Research Unit K20A, about 6 miles round-trip, may find greater prairie chickens and Henslow's sparrows. Watch for the sparrows singing from the tallest plants in the upper levels of the watershed.

Don't miss the scenic overlook on K-177 highway on the eastern edge of the Konza (red dot on the map below).  If has a breath-taking vista of the property along with interpretive signage.

Camping icon Camping not allowed.

Visit TravelKS.com!
Discover what to see, eat and do in Kansas.
Plan your trip today, at TravelKS.com!

Trail icon Nature Trail (2.5 mile loop); Kings Creek Loop (4.4 miles - includes the first);
Godwin Hill Loop (6.0 miles - includes the other two).

Konza Trail Map

 NOTE: Pets and bicycles are NOT allowed on the trail. 
 Please help preserve the natural character of this important research site.

Click here to get county birding lists for Kansas. Click the icon to find a birding list for Geary County.

Find nearby Geocaches! Click the icon to locate nearby Geocaches

For more Wildlife Watching sites in the Flint Hills, click here Click here for more Wildlife Watching sites in the Flint Hills!

Konza map

Konza Prairie is south of Manhattan. Travel 6.3 miles south of K-177 on McDowell Creek Road along the east side of the Kansas River. The area can also be reached from 1-70 by taking Exit 307 and traveling north 4.9 miles on McDowell Creek Road (also identified as Riley County 901).

Location in Kansas

For a Google Map of this site, click here.

Ownership: The Nature Conservancy and Kansas State University are the entities responsible for management of the Konza.  Contact them at (785) 587-0441 if you have specific questions about use or management of the site.  8,616 acresVisit their web site
Also check out the Konza Environmental Education Program web site.

Northwest Kansas North Central Kansas Northeast Kansas Southwest Kansas South Central Kansas Southeast Kansas

Funded by the Chickadee Checkoff Program
Chickadee Checkoff logo
Click here for a brochure!

The Natural Kansas web site © 2011 by
the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks & Tourism.

Re-publication of site content in any form other than for personal use requires written permission.  If you are a Kansas resident, please assist with this and other wildlife viewing and conservation programs by contributing to the Chickadee Checkoff on your state tax form.

Questions or comments about Natural Kansas may be directed to
Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks & Tourism