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In the heartland of the heartland, the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve in Strong City, Kansas, sets you up perfectly to explore the underrated beauty of Kansas. The ever-stretching lands of central Kansas laid the groundwork for the American dream to head west. You can experience this sensation and desire for exploration when you rent an RV near Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve. Not only that, but the preserve was once a ranch operated by the Jones family. While there are still some general ranch operations, such as maintaining the resident bison herd, the majority of the preserve now focuses on maintaining a healthy ecosystem.
As you explore the sprawling land of the Kansas Flint Hills region, you’ll come to learn that only about 4% of the once prevalent tallgrass prairie landscape survives today. Most of it is found within the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve. You can traverse the open plains and gently rolling hills of this now unique landscape. When you secure an RV rental near Strong City, you’ll learn that there are plenty of ways to enjoy the wide-open spaces of the heartland and plenty of ways to enjoy this natural piece of Americana.
Those looking to exercise their angling skills can partake in some catch-and-release fishing. The preserve has three ponds and a creek open to anglers. You can test your luck and see if you can catch some local freshwater fish, such as catfish or bluegill.
For those who want to explore as much of the Tallgrass Prairie as they can, the preserve has roughly 40 miles of hiking trails. These trails range from moderately developed to backcountry hiking, so depending on your skill or comfort level, you can choose which ones you want to traverse. There are a few trails closer to the visitor center that are better maintained and more suitable for family hiking, such as Fox Creek Trail and Southwind Nature Trail. However, the backcountry trails will lead you deeper into the preserve and can potentially lead you to the preserve’s bison herd. These trails, however, are not always recommended for younger children.
The preserve also offers two guided tours that you can sign up for to further enhance your Tallgrass Prairie experience. The preserve recommends that you reserve a spot in advance. Throughout the warmer months (typically April to October), the preserve operates a bus tour that explores the historic ranching land in further detail. You’re likely to see the bison herd as well as other unique wildlife to the area. The second tour, a tour of the historic ranch house, is usually offered on special event days. You’ll get to learn more about the ranch itself and see some historic furnishings.
Overnight camping is not allowed at the Tallgrass Prairie National Reserve. However, when you book an RV in Chase County, Kansas, you can enjoy camping at the nearby RV parks.
One option for those camping with an RV near Strong City is Emporia RV Park and Campground in nearby Emporia. You will have your choice between a pull-through site and a back-in site, a specification you can make when you secure your reservation. Guests can also use the restroom facilities and laundry facilities to make their stay more comfortable. The RV park also has several recreational amenities, such as a disc golf course and a playground for kids.
Another option for local camping is Railer RV Park near Hope, Kansas. At Railer, you will get to set up your motorhome rental in a full hook-up site for a comfortable stay. This no-frills camping option doesn’t have many amenities; however, it is pet-friendly for those traveling with their furry companions.
Those interested in learning about local history can visit the Chase County Historical Society. You will get to see a recreated schoolroom with preserved furnishings, learn about the history of real-life cowboys, and also see a variety of other Victorian-era artifacts. You can also learn about the historic plane crash that happened in the area in 1932.
Art lovers can spend some time at the Flint Hills Gallery. Originally opened to showcase and sell the work of local artist Judith Mackey, the gallery now holds the work of several local artists. You can wander through the gallery space to see the Kansas-centric artwork and even purchase a piece to take home with you.
Animal lovers can spend the day at the David Traylor Zoo of Emporia. Home to both local and exotic animals, the zoo strives to maintain naturalized habitats for all of its inhabitants. You will get to see prairie dogs, mountain lions, lemurs, monkeys, and much more. The zoo is also home to a botanical garden that features local flora.
When camping with an RV near Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve, you may need to restock and refuel your rig. While there are a couple of options near the preserve where you can find you need, you will have more selection in the nearby town of Emporia.
When you’re traveling in central Kansas, make sure you give yourself time to sit down to a proper Kansas barbecue meal. Kansas barbecue prides itself on its slow smoking technique, which leads to the meat just falling off the bone. So enjoy some tender cuts of brisket or ribs, and be sure to grab some extra napkins.