Enjoy the views along this 1 mile loop of restored tallgrass prairie. Once an overgrazed pasture, this land has been reestablished as grassland providing visitors an opportunity to walk through corridors of grasses and native wildflowers that would typically grow in this region. The Prairie Trail can be accessed near the Hardwicke Interpretive Center (HIC), the southeast portion of the Caprock Trail, and from the Prairie Dog parking lot.
The trail exposes a limestone substrate and slopes to a sandy-loamy soil that grows tallgrasses such as Little Bluestem, Switchgrass, and Yellow Indiangrass. During spring, summer and fall, visitors can view a display of wildflowers that attract a variety of butterflies, bees, and other invertebrates. Along the way signs of other wildlife activities may be encountered; track, scats, and dugouts from Nine-banded Armadillos. Birds of prey are often seen scouting for their next meal such as American Kestrels, Northern Harriers and Red-shouldered Hawks.
A view of a Post Oak wood line can be seen on the horizon delineating a former access road. The trail meanders through a wooded area where Honey Mesquite, Honeylocust and thorny underbrush becomes a sanctuary for small mammals, reptiles, and songbirds before reaching the eastern Bison Range. This grazed pasture is the highlight of the Prairie Trail housing an iconic mammal of the prairie ecosystem, the American Bison. At certain times of the year, the Refuge’s herd coexists with the colony of social Black-Tailed Prairie Dogs that are active throughout the year.