Tallgrass Prairie & the Flint Hills 2014


Trip Dates:

October 3, 2014 through October 7, 2014

NPCA Member Price

$1,595-$1,895 per person double occupancy; $310 single supplement.


$500 per person

Related Parks

Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve

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More info

Contact ParkScapes at 800.628.7275 or travel@npca.org

October 3-7, 2014

Only 4 spots remain on this fall journey and bookings close September 2!  

Rich in history, the Flint Hills of south-central Kansas safeguard one of America’s last native prairie landscapes. Witness an amazing display of eight-foot-tall grasses and late season wildflowers blanketing the vast, rolling landscape of Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve. Discover the delicate beauty of this recently established eleven-thousand-acre preserve, a remnant of the grasslands that once covered more than 170 million acres of North America. You’ll stroll the foot trails in the largest remaining intact tallgrass prairie landscape of North America. In addition to exploring the trails of the preserve, you will tour back roads to historic small towns, visit a working ranch with real cowboys and cowgirls for poetry and a chuck wagon dinner, and catch a glimpse of life at a time when one-room schoolhouses were the norm.

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For details about this trip, download the brochure (pdf)

Tour Highlights

Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve

Tallgrass Prairie is an ideal location for an NPCA Walking Weekend; enjoy this shorter five-day trip with a leisurely pace for each day.

Santa Fe National Historical Trail

One of the Park Service’s “highways of the past,” the Santa Fe Trail was the primary travel route between Sante Fe and Missouri throughout the majority of the 1800s.

Wildlife Ecology

Time out in the elements observing local wildlife and their park habitats is our Wildlife Ecology tour focus. This trip stresses the grassland ecosystem and it’s past.


Tour Details


Kansas City, Missouri

Length of Tour

5 days/4 nights


Moderately active, offering a choice of activities each day to suit different activity levels and interests.

Price Includes

All accommodations, meals as noted (B-Breakfast, L-Lunch, D-Dinner), ground transportation, professional guide services, park and other entrance fees, and miscellaneous program expenses.

Price Does Not Include

Round trip airfare to and from destination, gratuities for naturalist guides, extra equipment rental, alcoholic beverages, or personal expenses.


Space is confirmed by calling the NPCA at 800.628.7275. A $500 per person deposit is due at registration. Final payment will be invoiced separately and is due 90 days prior to departure. Cancellation notice must be submitted in writing and is effective upon date of receipt. Cancellations up to 91 days prior are subject to a $250 per person cancellation fee. Cancellations 90-61 days prior to departure, 25% of the tour cost is forfeited; 60-31 days prior to departure, 50% of the tour cost is forfeited; 30 days or fewer prior to departure result in the loss of 100% of your total cost.

Travel Insurance

To protect yourself from the loss of deposit and cancellation fees, you are encouraged to purchase travel insurance. If you need assistance, NPCA recommends contacting Travel Insurance Services.


Daily Itinerary

October 3: Individual Arrivals in Kansas City

Assemble in the early evening for welcome dinner and weekend orientation in Kansas City. Dinner is followed by an introductory program about the Flint Hills. Hyatt Place Kansas City Airport (D)

October 4: Flight Hills Discovery Center and Konza Prairie

In the morning we have an introduction to the Great Plains and its abundant ecosystem and rich cultural history as we visit the the state-of-the-art Flint Hills Discovery Center.

In the afternoon we head to the Konza Prairie Biological Station for an in-the-field orientation to a managed tallgrass prairie. Our knowledgeable hosts will teach us what it takes to manage both the site and the resident bison herd. Then it’s south to the historic town of Council Grove, which boasts 24 different bygone sites, a revitalized river walk, and our overnight accommodations for the trip—the Victorian-style Cottage House Hotel. Following dinner there is an after dark trip to a remote site to enjoy a rare phenomenon: the night sky without the glare of city lights. The stars will be outstanding. Cottage House (B,L,D)

October 5: Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve

We have a pre-breakfast bird/ nature walk along the Neosho Riverwalk, the park adjacent to our hotel. Our historic lodging, with its wraparound porch (complete with a porch swing and rocking chairs), is on the National Register of Historic Places. The hotel is located on a quiet, shaded side street just a few steps away from the historic route of the Santa Fe Trail and charming downtown Council Grove. There are many historic landmarks and sites within easy walking distance of our hotel.

After breakfast we trundle off to the Tallgrass National Preserve for most of the day. We combine long walks on the prairie landscape (the trails are dirt and grass with some rocks and are on rolling hills in the full sun) with visits to the historic house, barn, and other structures on the property. We even stop to do nothing for a while as we try to capture the moods of the prairie and the spirit of history on this ancient and historic landscape.

In the late afternoon we meander down to the town of Cottonwood Falls and spend time wandering about this pretty little community made famous in William Least Heat-Moon’s best-selling book, Prairyerth, exploring its historic buildings, shops and art galleries. We return to Council Grove for dinner. Cottage House (B,L,D)

October 6: Council Grove and Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve

After our usual morning walk and breakfast we spend a little time exploring Council Grove and enjoying this delightful small Midwestern town; no WalMart or McDonald’s here—just good old Main Street, U.S.A. In addition, we’ll visit a couple of Native American historic sites—the Kaw Mission State Historic Park and the Allegawaho Heritage Memorial Park. After lunch, we can walk the Kansa Heritage Trail or the Pioneer Trail before returning to the tallgrass preserve to enjoy the late afternoon on the prairie. Our farewell meal is a special chuck wagon dinner at the Flying W Ranch in the Cottonwood River Valley. The Flying W is a working ranch that is in its 5th generation of ranchers. Eat up, buckaroos! Cottage House (B,L,D)

October 7: Departures Home from Kansas City

This morning we have an early departure from Council Grove for the Kansas City Airport. You’ll want to make your return flight for after 1:00 p.m. our final day. (B)

Note: This is a moderately active trip; walks may be up to three (3) miles and in the sun on rolling hills, unimproved trails, and ranch roads. The itinerary for the days in the park may vary based on weather conditions.


Pricing Details

NPCA Member Price

$1,595-$1,895 per person double occupancy; $310 single supplement.


$500 per person




Our Travel Partner

The National Parks Conservation association is delighted to be partnering with Off the Beaten Path (OBP) to bring you excellent, insider experiences in our cherished national parks. This well-respected travel company shares our love of national parks, and understands the significant role they play in safeguarding America’s most majestic landscapes. Off the Beaten Path also shares our travel philosophy of small group sizes and unique itineraries.

NPCA’s collaboration with Off the Beaten Path allows us to open up an even broader range of opportunities through which you can appreciate and enjoy your national parks. Off the Beaten Path is offering additional dates with similar kinds of experiences to the trip described in this official ParkScapes departure.


Lodging Info

Cottage House


Booking Info

To contact NPCA's ParkScapes program for questions or reservations please call 800-628-7275 or email travel@npca.org. You may also book directly online.

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