Prairie State Park – Lamar, Missouri totals more than 3,700 acres, is Missouri’s largest remaining tallgrass prairie landscape.
A prairie is an amazingly diverse and complex ecosystem containing more than 350 different species of grasses and wildflowers. More than 150 bird species are recorded at Prairie State Park. At least 25 park plant and animal species are listed as rare or endangered.
To preserve this unique prairie heritage, park staff replicate the historic, life-sustaining processes of native grazing and fire. Controlled burns are used to preserve the prairie. Fire prevents invasion of brush and trees, removes accumulated grass mats, and recycles nutrients back into the soil. Bison and elk have been restored to the park to help replicate nature grazing.
To get the true feeling of the park you can visit the visitor center with interpretive displays, hiking trails, and a backpack camp for those wanting to experience the prairie wilderness overnight.
Held every other year at the Prairie State Park near Liberal, Missouri, this day-long prairie festival features such activities as a wilderness campout in the tallgrass prairie and traditional-themed music and dancing. A Living History Loop will feature a pioneer family with a covered wagon, one-tent school, country doctor, historical surveyor, early settler, trappers with tepee, and pioneer game exhibitions. Contests and guided wagon tours to view the bison are also included in the festivities. Lunch is served at concessions by local civic groups.
Hiking: The best time to hike the trails is in the early morning or late evening, particularly during the summer. If you do hike during the warmer parts of the day, be sure to take plenty of water and some type of protection for your head. Ticks and chiggers are common during the summer months, so insect repellent is recommended.
Because of the bison in the park, electric fences cross several of the trails. The fences are insulated where they cross the trails, and hikers should step through the insulated wires at these points.
Bison roam freely in portions of Prairie State Park. For your safety, do not leave your vehicle until you obtained information on the location of these animals from the visitor center. Elk roam free throughout the entire park. Keep a safe distance from the elk.
Location: To get to Prairie State Park: Take Missouri Highway 43 to K Highway, turn on to Highway P, then turn left onto 150th Lane. All traffic must enter from the north.