Explore the most popular wild flowers trails in Prairie State Park with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

We went on Saturday. I expected it to be busy because it was a nice weekend. It was not. We did see the buffalo and they were not behind any fence. The trail was not marked real well, but it is prairie so you can't really get lost

hiking
4 months ago

I came for the bison. I'm not a big fan of hiking in open prairies...I prefer wooded trails. But I was excited to try something new on a sunny but cold January day. The visitors center is a nice amenity, and I spoke with the nicest park staff there. She really helped me decide which trail(s) to do and how to enjoy the scenic views. After hiking about an hour, I saw the bison just on the other side of a fence that the park ranger told me not to cross. I watched the herd of about 12 bison for a while, then backed off a bit, then returned to watch them file out of their grazing area, passing through an open gate. They were quiet and calm; I never felt threatened. Really exciting experience!
The trail itself has virtually no markings. If you are not super good with an internal compass, you will need a map and some tips from the park ranger. I really think they need some trail blazes. I saw only one at the very beginning of this trail--a painted stone set in the ground. You can't really get lost since it's open prairie, but I would like to have more way-finding available.
The 4th star is for the bison and the wonderful park ranger.

on Drover's Trail

hiking
9 months ago

Easy trail, I always love seeing the bison. The number of ticks this spring (2017) was ridiculous; even though saturated with repellent, my husband and I removed over 100 ticks on each of us during our trek across the plain! Because of this, we prefer this hike in the fall and winter. The staff at the visitor's center are always great, and the restrooms spotless.

hiking
Tuesday, October 18, 2016

This is a great place to explore and see a variety of plant life. If you're into prairies then this is your best bet in the 4-state area, especially because you can also see bison grazing throughout the park. There are some areas with trees and hills that make the hike worth it.

I thought it was a nice touch to have a trail on the other side of an electric fence. Just be sure to be careful and read directions if you're not familiar with it.

The best part is the bison. Go check out the visitor center and see the location of the herd!

hiking
Sunday, May 15, 2016

It was a very boring drive from north Joplin to the trail, but it was a nice change to be on a trail that isn't interrupted by suburbia and crowded with people. It was a beautiful Saturday afternoon and we were the only people on the trail. The landscape was a little lacking, but it was my first time hiking through a prairie so, again, a big change.
My husband thought it was "desolate" and "boring" because it is a loop trail through some pretty unentertaining terrain.
I like getting away from the city, so the only thing that was a huge downer for me were the stretches of mud and ankle-deep water in some spots. I was not prepared for that.
I probably won't do this trail again since I'm sure there are others close to the same distance that will be as enjoyable.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

stay on the blazes. I tried a short cut. fail. this was a good eventful hike. ran across a dying buffalo and marked the spot on my phone to report to the rangers. the gate way between fields was a buffalo wallow and made for a difficult muddy (over the knee deep) crossing.

hiking
Sunday, March 06, 2016

Be ready for bison. Got stuck between two herds and could not cross the path safely for a while, but that really is not common. Over all a good trail, flat with few creek crossings and watch for bison dong. But maps describing the trails are confusing.

camping
Monday, October 12, 2015

When you wake up on the small rise in a circle of twitchy prairie grass, you feel like you're the first person-- or maybe the last-- to see the sunrise.

This is one of my favorite spots in SWMO. Stop by the visitor's center and check with the ranger to make sure you're out of the way of the bison before you set out. The trail is only a mile, but the view from the backpacking campsite is the best for miles. No roads, no soybean fields, no towns, no people, no street lights. A good place to get away for just a night.

walking
Monday, October 12, 2015

This trail is actually situated in the Lester R. Davis Memorial Forest right across the road from Prairie State Park. Mr. Davis planted the area, which had been devastated by strip mining, with plants, trees and shrubs from all over the place. As a result, forest is now densely forested with very non-native species. I'm not used to seeing tall pines in Missouri!

The MDC has done some recent work in the area attempting to prevent strip pits from eroding the road. Last time I was here, I found some pieces of coal uncovered by the bulldozers. The forest still bears the scars of strip mining, and no amount of planting will ease the deep furrows between long piles of mining waste, but it's encouraging to know that Davis seized an opportunity to make a difference in SWMO.

hiking
Sunday, November 27, 2011

Prairie trails are a special hiking experience. personally I preffer winter or spring for best scenery. Anything but boring as most suppose for the spacious panorama's, for theever changing scenery and for the wildlife

on Gay Feather Trail

hiking
7 months ago

hiking
7 months ago

hiking
7 months ago

on Coyote Trail

hiking
9 months ago

Saturday, May 13, 2017

hiking
Monday, April 10, 2017

Sunday, January 01, 2017

hiking
Sunday, October 23, 2016

Monday, September 05, 2016

hiking
Saturday, November 23, 2013

hiking
Saturday, November 23, 2013