KPBS is primarily a university-operated research facility and is private property, so most of the site is off limits to the public. However, because we and The Nature Conservancy (the land owner) feel that it is important to provide a venue for the public to learn about the endangered tallgrass ecosystem, KPBS does have publically-accessible hiking trails available from dawn to dusk, weather and trail conditions permitting. Because the land is privately owned and used for scientific study, there are rules for use of the hiking trails that are in place to preserve the landscape, wildlife, and ecological value of the site. Continued public access to the hiking trails depends on everyone adhering to these rules, so please familiarize yourself with them. If you do not wish to follow these rules or would like to find a place you can hike with your dog, or where you can ride your horse, we've provided some alternatives below. Many of these are also places where you can learn more about the tallgrass prairie.
Continued access to Konza Prairie depends on your cooperation by observing the following rules:
- Our trails are for hiking only. Bicycles, motorcycles, and any all-terrain vehicles are not permitted.
- Hikers must remain on designated roads and trails at all times.
- Dogs, horses, and other pets are not permitted on-site in order to avoid impacting ongoing research.
- Use of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), also called drones, is not allowed on KPBS property, with the exception of use for research and with a valid KSU research permit and explicit permission from the KPBS Director.
- Hunting and open carrying of firearms are prohibited on all KPBS property, including the nature trail.
- Camping or overnight parking is prohibited.
- Collection or removal of flowers, rocks, feathers, or other materials from the area is prohibited.
- Smoking, or any open flame, is a fire risk and is strctly prohibited.
- Pack it in, pack it out. Disposal receptacles and picnic areas are not available on the trail.
- The trails and parking area are closed within 1-hour after sunset. Vehicles remaining after this time are subject to being towed at the vehicle owner's expense.
- This area is patrolled by K-State Police.
- Contact K-State Police at 785-532-6412 or use the "Silent Witness" site (https://www.k-state.edu/police/silent/) to report any suspicious behavior.
- A donation of $2.00/person to the Friends of Konza Prairie is suggested to help us pay for the maintenance of the trails.
Alternative hiking trails around Manhattan (please check the sites for their rules of use):
- Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve - three nature trails ranging in length from 1.6 to 6 miles are all dog friendly, though you need to keep your dog leashed and pick up after them. Backcountry hiking trails ranging from 3.8 to 13 miles in length are available for hikers only (no camping, pets, or biking), though do visit the website for safety around the bison herd.
- Tuttle Creek Lake has a variety of excellent trails (map), many of which are dog friendly and some allowing horses and vehicles:
- Blue River trail - in outlet park near Shelter #3 - 1 mile interpretive trail
- Cedar Ridge trail - 3/4 mile accessible trail
- Western Heritage trail - 1.25 mile trail through the Rocky Ford fishing area
- Cottonwood trail - 1/2 mile trail near River Pond
- Carnahan Park - 5 miles of loop trails and a 12 mile linear trail - open to equestrians
- Randolph State Park - over 12 miles of loop trails - open to equestrians
- Fancy Creek Mountain Bike Trail - 8 miles of mountain bike trails
- Spillway Cycle Area - 45 acre park with trails for ATVs, motorcycles, and mountain bikes only
- Tuttle Creek Off-Road Vehicle Area - 310 acre park open to all vehicles.
- Dog park - one acre fenced dog park near swimming beach
- Flint Hills Nature Trail - 117 miles of trail along an old rail line. Currently has 96 miles open between Osawotomie and Council Grove, with work ongoing for the portion between Council Grove and Herrington. Open for hiking, bicycles, and equestrians.
- Linear park trail - approximately 9 miles along and around the southern parts of Manhattan - dogs on leash and bikes allowed
- Other Manhattan walking and biking trails.