Prairie Center Nature Reserve Loop

EASY 3 reviews
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Prairie Center Nature Reserve Loop is a 2.4 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Olathe, Kansas that features a lake and is good for all skill levels. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, trail running, and birding and is accessible year-round.

DISTANCE
2.4 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
190 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

kid friendly

birding

hiking

trail running

walking

forest

lake

river

wild flowers

wildlife

historic site

no dogs

hiking
25 days ago

hiking
1 month ago

walking
2 months ago

This nature preserve is managed by the Kansas Dept of Wildlife and Parks and is a mixture of native prairie, restored prairie and woods. There is an Olathe City park just east with a similar name (Prairie Center Park), so they are easily confused.

The parking area on the NorthEast has an historic home and barn, with a minimalst information sign and some paper maps. There is no permanent map posted. There was a QR code posted, but I had no cell service to use it. The parking area on the NorthWest is just a trail-head. Both trail-heads had portable toilets, but we found no drinking water available, so bring plenty. The trails are all wide, and a mixture of gravel and mowed grass (which may change over time). The paper map at the park was slightly different than the AllTrails map, probably due to different mowed paths. There are many loops to the trail system, and the signs were not helpful, so some type of map is needed to navigate the trails. I found no maps online at the KS parks department website (odd).

There is a lake in the center of the park with a dock and picnic tables and vault toilets. There are also several small ponds within view of the trails, and we saw a few different animal tracks.

A large creek runs through the park, and there were several trail crossings through the creek. Most were paved and all had only a few inches of water and were easily crossed in hiking boots. We hiked in mid-August after substantial rain and saw 10-ish different wildflowers in bloom. A legend at the trail-head describing the various wildflowers and tallgrasses would be a great project to enhance the park.

Due to the ecological conservation effort, no pets and no bikes are allowed.