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Finding Peace at Cherokee Prairie


Hiking and spending time in nature is my favorite way to relax and enjoy peace and quiet. The sounds of birds, rustling breezes and babbling brooks can have incredible calming effects, but some of Arkansas’s most popular trails and nature areas are often bursting with people. While meeting and interacting with fellow nature lovers is one of the joys of hiking, there are times when I seek solitude and quiet. Cherokee Prairie is one of my favorite places to disconnect from the world and reconnect with nature and myself.

Located in the town of Charleston at the intersection of State Highways 60 and 217 within Franklin County, Cherokee Prairie is one of the most extensive tracts of tallgrass prairie located in the Arkansas Valley. There are no marked trails within the prairie, but visitors can walk freely through the area. Find a spot for a picnic, enjoy bird watching and take lots of photos. To preserve the prairie, guests are asked not to remove any flowers or grasses from the prairie.

By Dan Pancamo – Flickr: Painted Bunting, CC BY-SA 2.0

Birdwatching at Cherokee Prairie

Cherokee Prairie represents a rare and special bird habitat full of native grasslands that are no longer available in other parts of the state due to agriculture and land development. Twelve species of birds named on the list of Arkansas Birds of Conservation Interest, including Henslow’s Sparrows, have been documented in the Cherokee Prairie. Other birds often seen in the area include Cooper’s Hawk, Painted Bunting, Bob White, Dickcissel, Loggerhead Shrike, Bell’s Vireo, etc. Large groups of Bald Eagles have also been spotted roosting and flying in the area.

Cherokee Prairie Wildflowers

Various species of wildflowers can be observed in the Cherokee Prairie from early spring through the late fall, with May and June being the most popular viewing season. Look for red and yellow Indian Paintbrush early in the season with Purple Coneflowers and blazing star in abundance next. Many additional species of wildflowers, such as milkwort and downy phlox, are observed throughout the growing season.


The abundance of wildflowers attracts a variety of butterflies to the area. Gulf fritillaries, monarchs and more can be observed and photographed flitting around the wildflowers.

Are you looking for more peaceful stops? Visit Flanagan Prairie Natural Area or the Presson-Oglesby Preserve, located just a few miles away.

Photos courtesy of Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism unless otherwise noted.

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Julie Kohl works from home as a writer and teaches art part-time at a local private school. A former Yankee who was "converted" to the south by her husband, Julie has grasped on to rural life in a sleepy, blink-your-eyes-and-you'll-miss-it town in central Arkansas where they raise chickens, farm hay and bake bread. Julie loves adventure and sharing it with her husband and son. They frequent the trails, campgrounds and parks of Arkansas, always on the hunt for new adventures and new stories to share. Learn more on her blog Seek Adventures Media.

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One response to “Finding Peace at Cherokee Prairie”

  1. Joyce G Dairion-Fletcher says:

    Love my new prairie and want more information how to take care of it and share it.

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