Set out along the Scenic Overlook Trail for the north end of the preserve. Enter Windmill Pasture where bison graze. Keeping a safe 100 yard distance may take patience or going off-trail. Continue north atop the ridge of Prairie Fire Loop with a grand view of the landscape. Be prepared for full exposure to Kansas weather: wind, sun, or rain. West Branch Trail ends six miles from the visitor center at marker 27. Marker 27 provides a tranquil place to rest. Palmer Creek has water to soak sore feet. Fossils are plentiful in the limestone. Take pictures and leave the rocks for others to enjoy. No fires, flames, or camping are permitted in the backcountry. Plan responsibly. Learn more about backcountry hiking at the preserve. Journey back on the eastern Prairie Fire Loop with rolling hills. The elevation changes only a few hundred feet allowing fresh scenery every few minutes. The Davis Trail winds past the cattle pens connecting with the Scenic Overlook Trail. The Schoolhouse Spur detours a half-mile to a single-room schoolhouse from the 1880s.
No specific coordinates provided for this activity. The coordinates shown on the map above are in regards to the associated Park.
The Scenic Overlook Trail has a grade of 1-2% or 5 degrees. The section is 12 foot gravel width and an additional 2 feet of mown grass. Elevation rises about 230 feet. Trails to the north in Big Pasture are old ranch road varying in width from 6-8 feet of stone to mown grass. Grade is steeper in some sections. Trails along hillsides slope sideways 1-2% or 5 degrees. The creek crossings can be impassable after a heavy rain. Service animals are NOT permitted.
Time of Day Info
The preserve is open 24/7. Hiking, backpacking, and jogging are permitted at all times. Bison in Windmill Pasture can be dangerous when approached. Maintain 100 yards distance when possible. This distance is harder to determine and maintain at night. Running through Windmill Pasture may trigger a chase response.