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Flint Hills
Country  United States
States  Kansas,  Oklahoma
Region Great Plains
City Manhattan, Kansas (largest)
Elevation 412 m (1,352 ft)
Coordinates 37°17′00″N 96°40′31″W / 37.2833333°N 96.67528°W / 37.2833333; -96.67528
Length 320 km (199 mi)
Width 130 km (81 mi)
Area 212,380 km2 (82,000 sq mi)
Biome Temperate grassland
Geology Permian Limestone
Plant Tallgrass prairie
Map showing physiographic divisions of Kansas
Website: Natural Kansas: The Kansas Flint Hills

The Flint Hills, historically known as Bluestem Pastures or Blue Stem Hills[1], are a band of hills in eastern Kansas stretching into north-central Oklahoma, extending from Marshall County in the north to Cowley County, Kansas and Osage County, Oklahoma in the south.[2] Oklahomans generally refer to the same geologic formation as the Osage Hills.




The EPA and the World Wildlife Fund have designated the Flint Hills as an ecoregion, distinct from other grasslands of the Great Plains.[3][4] Explorer Zebulon Pike first coined the name the Flint Hills in 1806 when he entered into his journal, "passed very ruff flint hills".

The Flint Hills were created approximately 250 million years ago during the Permian Period. During this time much of the Midwest, including Kansas and Oklahoma, were covered with shallow seas. As a result, much of the Flint Hills are composed of limestone and shale with plentiful fossils of prehistoric sea creatures. The most notable layer of chert-bearing limestone is the Florence Limestone Member. It is approximately 45 feet thick; numerous roadcuts of the Florence Member are prominent along Interstate 70 in Riley County, Kansas. Many of the honey-colored limestones have been used for building blocks. The non-chert-bearing limetones are best for this, since the chert is extremely hard to cut, yet it can fracture quite easily.

Beginning in the mid-1800s homesteaders replaced the American Indian in the Flint Hills. Due to shallow outcroppings of limestone and chert, farming was not practical over much of the area, and cattle ranching became the main agricultural activity in the region. Still sparsely developed, the Flint Hills represent the last expanse of tallgrass prairie in the nation[2]. There are four tallgrass prairie preserves in the Flint Hills, the largest of which, the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve, near Pawhuska, Oklahoma, also boasts the largest population of bison in Oklahoma. The other preserves, all located in Kansas, are the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve, Flint Hills Tallgrass Prairie Preserve and the Konza Prairie Biological Research Station.



See also

External links


Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

The Flint Hills region is in Kansas.


The Flint Hills encompasses 13 Kansas counties (Butler, Chase, Chautauqua, Cowley, Elk, Geary, Greenwood, Lyon, Marshall, Morris, Pottawatomie, Riley, Wabaunsee) and smaller areas of 7 peripheral counties (Clay, Dickinson, Jackson, Marion, Ottawa, Saline, Shawnee). Some people are surprised to learn that such a large section of Kansas is so hilly, as much of the rest of the state is relatively flat.

Get around

Driving is the best way to get around in this region.

  • The Brookville Hotel [1] 105 E. Lafayette Abilene, KS. Phone: (785) 263-2244. Not a hotel anymore, but a restaurant that only serves family style fried chicken dinners in an 1800s hotel. Food is superb and reservations are recommended.
  • The Cozy Inn 108 N. 7th Street, Salina KS. Phone: (785) 825-2699 Small restaurant that serves small burgers, similar to those made by White Castle. Better get carry-out; these burgers are piled high with onions and if you eat in, you'll smell like onion all day.

Stay safe

Kansas is a part of Tornado Alley. If you are traveling in this region, it's a good idea to brush up on Tornado safety.

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Simple English

The Flint Hills, historically known as Bluestem Pastures, are a band of hills in eastern Kansas stretching into north-central Oklahoma.


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