The Best Day Hike You Can Take With Your Dog In Kansas

Southwind Nature Trail
Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve • Strong City

Once upon a time 170 million acres of tallgrass prairie covered North America. Today, 96% of that ecosystem is gone. Most of what remains is in the Flint Hills of southeastern Kansas where the limestone and shale deposits repelled even John Deere’s best steel plows. The Southwind Nature Trailis Seaman’s best chance to experience the Great Plains like his ancestors following the Conestoga wagons when pioneers described this landscape as “an ocean of grass.”

The Preserve was once Spring Hill Ranch where Texan Stephen Jones began running cattle in the 1870s. This is an exceedingly pleasant outing for your dog, trotting on dirt ranchroads and finely crushed stonepaths.

There are 70 species of grasses flourishing here, dominated by Big Bluestem. A single blade might have a root system descending over eight feet underground - deep enough so the plant will emerge in the spring even without rainfall. Given more ideal growing conditions these tallgrasses can reach eight feet into the sky creating wide chutes of hiking lanes for your dog. The grasses are high enough to provide shade on a hot summer day.

The 1.75-mile canine hike loops past stone fences and along the bottomlands of Fox Creek. A spur across the stream leads up a small hill to a stone school donated by Jones. It will all leave Seaman nostalgic for the loss of America’s most endangered ecosystem.

HIKING TIME: 1-2 hours

(from the book 300 Day Hikes To Take With Your Dog Before He Tires You Out: Trails where you won’t be able to wipe the wag off your dog’s tail)

 

National Parks with Hiking

 

Links to National Forests With Hiking

Cimarron National Grassland


Hiking With Your Dog Kansas