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Park Trails

at Prairie State Park

Coyote Trail

  • Backpacking
  • Hiking

Length: 2.75 Miles View map

Hikers on the Coyote Trail may come across a den of coyotes with the pups playing nearby or hear a songbird scolding them to get away from its nest in the sumac patches.  A covey of northern bobwhite quail may be seen as they scatter away or an owl might be heard in the evening. To the west of the trail, elk may be viewed in the distance.  Just off the trail is a backpack camping area where hikers may experience the howl of a coyote or the bugle of an elk in the twilight hours. This trail shares a section with Drover’s Trail. White connector 1 links this trail to Gayfeather Trail.

Length Estimated Hiking Time Type Blazes Trailhead
2.75 miles 1 hour, 25 minutes Loop Blue At the day-use area near the campground located .80 miles north of the nature center on NW 150th Lane then .20 miles west past the campground and picnic area

Drover's Trail

  • Hiking

Length: 3 Miles View map

Drover’s Trail gets its name from a time when the cowboys drove cattle across this prairie on their way to market. The trail is divided into two loops. Bison often roam through the small loop and it is a good place to see Indian paintbrush in the early spring.

The larger loop starts out by crossing over a small stream that is frequented by prairie wildlife. The trail continues up a hill where the prairie can be viewed and it is easy to imagine how the cowboys felt as they watched the prairie grasses sway back and forth in the wind. Northern harrier hawks and short-eared owls may be seen gliding overhead in the winter. A .25-mile white connector 3 can be used to shorten the hike. If a longer hike is desired, white connector 2 leads to Sandstone Trail.

Small Loop
Length Estimated Hiking Time Type Blazes Trailhead
.25 Mile 10 minutes Loop Red At the nature center
Large Loop
Length Estimated Hiking Time Type Blazes Trailhead
2.75 Miles 1 hour, 20 minutes Loop Red At the nature center

Gayfeather Trail

  • Hiking

Length: 1.5 Miles View map

On the Gayfeather Trail, hikers can experience what the settlers might have seen as they headed west, including bison grazing on the prairie. The trail is within Regal Prairie, which is named after the endangered regal fritillary butterfly. This butterfly and others can be seen resting on the colorful prairie wildflowers. Hikers wanting to view more of what early settlers could have observed can follow the white connector 1 for one-fourth of a mile and continue the experience on Coyote Trail.

 

Length Estimated Hiking Time Type Blazes Trailhead
1.5 Miles 45 minutes Loop Green Located .9 miles south of the nature center on the west side of NW 150th Lane

Path of the Sky People

  • Hiking

Length: 1.75 Miles View map

Path of the Sky People Trail loops through Tzi-Sho Prairie, which is translated from the American Osage to mean "Sky People." The path goes through a hardpan prairie where the Henslow's sparrow or an upland sandpiper can be heard.  Other prairie wildlife such as badgers or white-tailed deer may be seen. White connector 5 can be followed for about .50 mile, crossing the road to join Sandstone Trail to extend the trail experience.

Length Estimated Hiking Time Type Blazes Trailhead
1.75 Miles 55 minutes Loop Brown From the nature center, 1.30 miles south on NW 150th Lane then 2.5 miles east on Central Road on the north side

Sandstone Trail

  • Hiking

Length: 4.25 Miles View map

Sandstone Trail leads past East Drywood Creek, which encompasses about a mile of a prairie headwater stream that is designated an Outstanding State Resource Water. The stream has rocky bottoms and deep pools lined with sandstone. Bison and white-tailed deer are often viewed along the trail. This trail is also excellent for observing prairie birds like the eastern meadowlark, dickcissel, or possibly Bell's vireo. If a shorter loop is preferred, the .11-mile white connection 4 can be used. White connector 5 can be followed for .50 mile, crossing the road to join Path of the Sky People Trail to extend the hike. White connector 2 connects to Drover’s Trail.  

Length Estimated Hiking Time Type Blazes Trailhead
4.25 Miles 2 hours, 10 minutes Loop Yellow From the nature center, 1.30 miles south on NW 150th Lane, then 2 miles east on Central Road, then .80 miles on NW 130th Lane

Path of the Earth People Trail

  • Hiking

Length: 2 miles View map

Path of the Earth People Trail travels through Hunkah Prairie, which is translated from the American Osage to mean “Earth People.” The prairie landscape is dotted with gayfeather and white wild indigo wildflowers as well as big bluestem, little bluestem and cord grass. The trail follows a section of East Drywood Creek as it meanders through the area. American bitterns are known to hide among the cattails and turkey vultures ride the thermals above the prairie. White-tailed deer are often spotted in the area.

Length Estimated Hiking Time Type Blazes Trailhead
2 miles 1 hour Loop Orange Located 1.30 miles south of nature center on NW 150th Lane and 1 mile east on Central Road on the south side of the road