An Outdoors Experience in the Kansas Flint Hills

Vacations

Great for family vacations to explore the South-fork River and Flint Hill Prairie.

Guest cabins at the ranch: Two separate houses are available for rent so guests have their own space to live, sleep, and eat. The ranch does not prepare food. For a quick look at what is available see photos:

Fishing

  • fishing, river, Cottonwood Falls, Pilgrim Ranch

River Fun

  • river, swimming, Cottonwood Falls

Trail Rides

  • Horse, trail ride, river, Pilgrim Ranch

Activities Summary

It is your choice to do-your-own-thing, or to have guided river canoeing, swimming, kayaking, and fishing, scenic Jeep Wrangler rides through the Flint Hills Prairie, or fish the prairie ponds. Enjoy the many outstanding scenic views from the crests of the Flint Hills and observe the wildlife & nature so unique to the native tall-grass prairie. Trail riding is a delight for those that bring their own horse.

You have a choice of cabins here at the ranch for family & friends getaways to enjoy the beauty of the Flint Hills. Lodging accommodations are provided by the ranch headquarters’ Cottage and Bunkhouse. These are separate and private with each outfitter with bedding, linens, towels, kitchen appliances & utensils, and satellite TV.

We take a special interest in our guests and we enjoy sharing our knowledge of fun things to do. A detail description of Activities follows below the Arrangements information on this page.

The ranch has a small river running thru it. The road entrance to ranch lodging and farm ground are on the west side of the river. There are river gravel bars which are accessible from this west side and offer swimming and fishing. The pastures, flint hills, and fishing pond are on the east side of the river and accessible by three drive through river crossings.

We can normally drive through the river (gravel bottom) and up the east bank to gain access to those features of the ranch. With heavy rain, the river can swell and become impassable. Except following rain with surface run off, the river is spring fed and is very clear and lovely to be near. Under normal conditions, the river level allows swimming (need to ware sneakers, Velcro strapped sandals, or rubber footies to protect feet from rough gravel bottom), boating/canoeing/kayaking, and fishing from river banks or boat. Also, we can set fishing bank lines along the river.

Arrangements

Guest Ranch Vacations for Families & Friends

The Pilgrim family members, who own and operate the 2,640 acre farm and cattle ranch, make two separate houses available for rent by guests. Outfitted kitchens in each house can be used for food. An option is to go to Cottonwood Falls or Strong City, about 5 miles, for restaurants.

Rental fees including tax per day/night for either the Cottage or Bunkhouse: (Sales Tax 7.5%; Guest Tax 6.0% are included in the fee):

Children 10 and under are free. Children 11 – 17 are $15.00.

  • $90.00 per single or couple
  • $40.00 per additional adult, and is applicable for groups that over flow into both lodging facilities.

We do not take credit cards, so check or cash are methods of payment upon arrival.

Rates include all activities at the ranch including free use of vehicles, water craft, and equipment for fishing.

No deposit required, but be assured your reservation will be honored. We wouldn’t want a deposit in the balance to be a factor in event of unexpected occurrence in the weather or you plans. If you can come, please do, if you can’t it is not a problem with us but we would like to know as early as it is discovered.

Pets are not allowed inside the Cottage or Bunkhouse. They can be free running outside, tied up, kept in a kennel, within a large fenced pen with access to shelter, or a small open cage – all available here. This is an absolute restriction to insure that the lodging facilities are suitable clean for all our guests. We have a free running yard dog; very human and dog friendly German Shorthair Pointer.

1. Cottage (Non-Smoking)

Lodging: The Cottage formerly served as a foreman’s residence now serves as very comfortable guest quarters. Generally, it would be booked by a family or close friends. The Cottage consists of two bedrooms one with queen bed and the other with two single beds, a third small bedroom with standard double bed, living room, kitchen, bath with shower, and central AC & heat. So there are beds for six sleepers if two couples double up.

Meals – The Cottage has a completely outfitted kitchen with dishes and utensils included so guests may prepare their meals. An outside propane grill is available. Food is not provided. But it is not necessary to bother with preparing meal while on vacation because many local restaurants are only 15 min away (see item 3. below). See Reservations Webpage for photos of accommodations.

2. Bunkhouse (Non-Smoking)

Lodging – The word “Bunkhouse” continues to be used to preserve the historic nature. Generally, the Bunkhouse would be booked by a family or close friends, and may serve as extended lodging for overflow of the Cottage. The bunkhouse consists of a large bedroom with two standard double beds, a second large bedroom with one double bed and one single bed, a regular bedroom with two single beds, an open day room with a single bed, living room, kitchen, bath with shower, and AC & gas heat. So there are beds for ten sleepers if three couples double up.

Meals – The Bunkhouse has a completely outfitted kitchen with dishes and utensils included so guests may prepare their meals. An outside propane grill is available. Food is not provided. But it is not necessary to bother with preparing meal while on vacation because many local restaurants are only 15 min away (see item 3. below). See Reservations Webpage for photos of accommodations.

3. Other Meal Options

Several public restaurant options are available within 5 to 7 miles. These include:

  • Ad Astra (Strong City); Fri – Sun; 11 am – 9 pm; 620 273-8440
  • JACALITO Family Restaurant (Strong City); Mon – Sat ; 11 am – 8 pm; Sun 11 am – 3 pm; 620 273-8100
  • Grand Central Hotel & Grill (Cottonwood Falls); Mon – Sat; 11 am – 2 pm; 6 pm – 10 pm; 620 273-6763
  • Keller Feed & Wine Co (Cottonwood Falls); Fri 4:30 – 8:00 pm; Sat 9:00 am – 8:00 pm; Sun; 9 am – 2 pm; 620 273-5050
  • Southfork Smokeshack BQ (Strong City); Tue – Fri; 11 am – 6 pm; 918 693-8956
  • Subway (Strong City); Mon – Sun; 8 am – 10 pm; 620 273-8488

A leisurely meal in Cottonwood Falls, or Strong City provides an opportunity to take in the many craft shops, museums, historic buildings, and scenic drives.

4. There is no set check-in/out time.

5. Lodging accommodations are smoke free. Alcohol beverages are restricted to insure safety.

6. Extreme care to not cause grass or timber fire in pasture fields is essential.

7. Visitors shall read and sign a Rental Agreement, Release, and Acknowledgment of Risk.

Activities Details

It is your choice to do-your-own-thing, or to have guided river canoeing, kayaking, swimming, and fishing, or scenic Jeep rides through the Flint Hills Prairie, or fish the prairie ponds. Enjoy the many outstanding scenic views from the crests of the Flint Hills and observe the wildlife and nature so unique to the native tall-grass prairie. Trail riding is a delight for those that bring their own horse.

An orientation and description of the property will be given on the first day and on subsequent days as needed. The ranch has 2,640 acres.

One cannot stay too long, but at least a minimum of two days stay is needed to experience some of the variety available.

  • Fishing: 2 miles of South Fork of the Cottonwood River and 3 ponds feature channel cat, flathead cat, bass, bluegill, and croppy. The South Fork is a clear water stream fed by prairie springs of the Flint Hills. Biologically managed fishing is practiced.
  • River Fun: Canoe/kayak and swim in the South Fork River. Float down the river, swim and relax on the shady cool gravel bars. The river is spring feed clear water from prairie springs.
  • Hiking: Roam around 300 acres of woods, 400 acres of bottomland farm, and 1,940 acres of native pasture. Discover wildlife, plants, trees, springs, ponds, streams, rivers, and Native American Artifacts.
  • Horseback: Trail riding is a delight for those that bring their own horse(s) to experience a 5 mile excursion through the Flint Hills. Open pens and enclosed stalls are available.
  • Wildlife: Whitetail deer, antelope, bobcat, fox, coyote, beaver, raccoon, possum, skunk, otter, squirrel, rabbit, mole, Eastern & Rio turkey, prairie chickens, geese, ducks, great blue heron, quail, dove, owls, eagles, and a wide variety of song & migratory birds/vultures.
  • Nature: The Flint Hills is one of the last stands of the tall-grass prairie displaying a wide variety of native grasses and forbs. The riverbed and tributaries provide growth for giant oaks, walnuts, cottonwoods, sycamores, hackberries, locus, etc. which remarkably contrasts dense woods against a backdrop of treeless prairie.
  • Scenic Views:  Jeep Wranglers will take you through the river and up into the prairie to enjoy the many outstanding scenic views from the crests of the Flint Hills and observe the wildlife and nature so unique to the native tall-grass prairie.

Recommended clothing for hiking and water activities:

High top sneakers & long legged pants (jeans) provide protection and allow the greatest flexibility to getting around on foot. You can wade through ankle to knee depth river water (rocky bottom) and continue over trails. Your shoes and pants will dry out in little time. Light weight long sleeve shirt and wide brim hat offer protection from sun and insects. Velcro strap on sandals or rubber footies are recommended to ware when wading or swimming in the South Fork River.

Things guests may want to consider bringing:

  • Cameras – stills and video
  • Hiking boots/sneakers/velcro strap on sandals/rubber footies/wader boots
  • Long legged pants are important
  • Wide brim hat
  • Fishing equipment & bait
  • Outdoor chairs and recliners
  • First-aid kit
  • Tick and insect repellant
  • Mountain bikes for farm roads

Items available at the ranch:

  • Two Jeep Wranglers, 4X4, four persons.
  • Argo Avenger ATV, 8X8, go anywhere on land and water, six persons.
  • Two electric golf carts – each seat 4 passengers
  • Two canoes
  • Two kayaks
  • Fishing boat with trolling motor
  • Life vests
  • Outdoor chairs
  • Fishing equipment and bait
  • 4-wheel drive high-body pickup (used to forge river)

E-mail: [email protected]ook.com

MENU