Willa Cather Memorial Prairie

category : Nature Preserves
Five miles south of Red Cloud, Nebraska, the Willa Cather Memorial Prairie is a botanical treasure consisting of 608 acres of never-been-plowed native prairie.

The Willa Cather Foundation is returning this land to its pre-1900 conditions, a time before overgrazing and the encroachment of man and foreign plant species. We have estimated that a minimum of 250 plant species exist on the Prairie, including the rare Fremont's evening primrose and Fendler's aster - both candidates for "threatened" status by the Nebraska Natural Heritage Program.

The area is classified as loess, mixed-grass prairie, and is unique in that it brings together species at the southern edge of their range with those at the northern edge of their range.

The transitional location of the Prairie makes it home to several species of birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and invertebrates. Two rare species that exist on the land include the Great Plains narrowmouth toad and smooth green snake.

The importance of the prairie in shaping America's art, history, and culture has been lost to much of the world. Of the millions of acres of grasslands that once covered the continent, only a small percentage still remains.

The Willa Cather Memorial Prairie is home to a variety of beautiful
bird species, and is recognized as a Nebraska Bird Site by the Nebraska
Teaming with Wildlife Coalition. On the Prairie, bird watchers can view
meadowlarks, upland plovers, wood ducks, blue-winged teals, bluebirds,
assorted sparrows, grouse, turkeys, orchard orioles, and more.

Nearly two miles of walking and hiking trails are now cut and open for the
public. Nature lovers can enjoy areas of tall grass, short grass, warm season
flowers, shrubbery and more.

Admission: Free
Address: 5 miles south of Red Cloud, Nebraska along U.S. Highway 281
Phone: 866-731-7304
Fax: 402-746-2652
Our Email:

Come visit us in Red Cloud, Nebraska

Attractions and Upcoming Events

Willa Cather's Childhood Home

World Famous author, Willa Sibert Cather (1873-1947), moved with her family from Virginia to the Red Cloud area in 1883. Nebraska became what Cather later described as "the happiness and the curse of my life". The state'

Red Cloud, NE Famous Homes

The Red Cloud Opera House

The Red Cloud Opera House, 1885, stood for many years as the jewel in Main Street's crown. Here Blind Boone played, William Jennings Bryan spoke, and it was from this stage that Willa Cather graduated in 1890 and delivered her eloquent oration, "Superstition vs. Investigation"

Red Cloud, NE Historic Buildings

The Methodist Church

[The Methodist Church] The Methodist Church building described in My Antonia , now serves as a Masonic Lodge. Cather tells how, during the winter, the children were starved for color and how they stood in the cold and looked at the stained glass windows: "

Red Cloud, NE Historic Churches

Chief Red Cloud

Red Cloud, the English name of Makhpiya Luta, the Oglala Sioux chief, and his followers were prominent participants in the Powder River War of 1865 and other subsequent battles. The chief himself was a significant player in the failure of the army's 1865

Red Cloud, NE Famous People

Red Cloud Post Office Murals

One of only twelve public buildings in the state of Nebraska which commissioned murals for its lobby, Red Cloud Post Office houses three works by the western artist, Archie Musick, 1941.

Red Cloud, NE Arts

Things to do Nature Preserves near Red Cloud, NE

Willa Cather Memorial Prairie

Five miles south of Red Cloud, Nebraska, the Willa Cather Memorial Prairie is a botanical treasure consisting of 608 acres of...