What once was 170 million acres of Tallgrass prairie now is scattered into small tracks of protected land. The Tallgrass Prairie Preserve contains 39,000 acres and is the largest remaining track in the world.
You can find access to the Tallgrass Prairie near Pawhuska, OK. The Preserve is open to the public year round by dirt roads that are scattered across the prairie land. You will find scenic turnouts with great vistas of rolling prairie and wild flowers along these roads. In addition to the sea of tallgrass you will spot herds of bison within the preserve. The bison can be spotted from the road or from the turnouts. Bison often gather near the roads and will even block them completely. The Bison loop ends at a dead end where the visitor center is located. Near the Visitor center you will also find Salt Creek, a small creek on the grounds that includes two hiking trails, one shorter and the other over 2 miles long. The larger trail climbs to an overlook of the creek and offers a great view of whitetail deer and prairie.
Once North America had an estimated population of 30 million bison roaming the great plains. Now it’s estimated that only 500,000 remain scattered across North America. The bison no longer roam free and are kept within private ranches and protected public lands. One interesting fact is that the herds are led by female bison (cows). The males stay alone in smaller herds most of the year, and only join up when it’s time to mate. Bison are able to adapt to all weather conditions. With its large size head the bison can plow snow gaining access to the grass below. In the summer Bison will create dust bowls where they wallow and rub. This helps cool the bison in the hot summer months. With hot summers and cold winters the bison have no issue thriving.