- What is there to do at Spring Creek Prairie?
- What wildlife is there to see?
- How is the prairie managed to help birds?
- Can the trails be accessed when the visitor center is closed?
- Are the trails accessible?
- What activities/items are not allowed on the trails or at the Center?
- Are drones allowed to be flown?
There are over four miles of walking trails for visitors of all ages to experience a mostly native tallgrass prairie. The trails wind over hillsides, around ponds, and next to a woodland stream. There are wonderful views of the surrounding countryside from atop the hilltop trails. Nature abounds: lots of birds and other wildlife, wildflowers, grasses, trees, and wetland plants to enjoy. The visitor center has interactive exhibits, bathrooms, a gift shop, and staff and volunteers to answer questions. No food or water is sold on site.
Over 235 species of birds have been seen. Our prairie is managed for grassland birds such as Henslow's sparrows, bobolinks, dickcissels, and grasshopper sparrows. Other notable species are red-headed woodpeckers, Bell's vireos, Sprague's pipits, and willow flycatchers. Mammals are mostly active outside of Center hours, but tracks and traces of coyotes, white-tailed deer, badgers, bobcats, and raccoons can be found.
Yes, the trails are open sunrise to sunset, seven days a week throughout the year. No appointment is necessary. Trail maps are available for download from this website (Come Visit Us page). There are no outdoor bathrooms available.
Only the trails around the visitor center are accessible. Specifically, the path from the parking lot to the visitor center, the trail north from the parking lot to our boundary line, the trail south from the visitor center to the footbridge, and the trail from the visitor center east to the Oregon Trail cutoff wagon ruts across the pond. All of the trails beyond these paths are not accessible.
For the safety of our breeding birds and for visitors, dogs (even on leashes) and bicycles are not allowed on the walking trails. The pet rule does not apply to service animals. Also, hunting and fishing are not permitted on the property. We recognize hunting and fishing can be appropriate habitat management tools, but they are not needed for wildlife management at our prairie.
Drones are allowed on our property only as part of research activities, and flights must be approved by and scheduled with staff.