Kansas State Outdoors

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State Parks
Camping and Hiking
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Kansas State Parks

El Dorado State Park
Perhaps the most popular state park in Kansas, El Dorado lies about 25 miles northeast of Wichita. El Dorado Reservoir provides 8,000 acres of water, and the wildlife areas adds 4,600 acres for the outdoor lover's enjoyment. This beautiful Flint Hills park offers 1,100 campsites (including cabins), five shelter houses, two swimming beaches, a modern marina, and a large amphitheater with an indoor-outdoor stage. Squirrels, rabbits, songbirds, and other wildlife can be seen in the park, and the wildlife area boasts good populations of game species such as wild turkey, prairie chicken, quail, geese, and deer. Bald eagles also nest on the area. Primitive camping is restricted to designated sites. For information call: (316)321-7180


Lovewell State Park
Lovewell State Park in north central Kansas is a haven for outdoor recreationists who look for variety in their vacations. Just 14 miles north of Mankato on U.S. Highway 14, Lovewell offers a blend of camping, fishing, wildlife watching, and year-round special events. Starting with the full-service office at the park entrance, you can study the mounts of native species in the interpretive center. Step to the wildlife habitat overlook to see the real thing, pick up some informative brochures, then explore the park on your own. Full-service and primitive camping are offered, and the 3,000-acre reservoir, complete with marina, provides fishermen with excellent opportunities. The lake is known for its excellent walleye fishing. Summertime also brings a variety of special events to Lovewell, including Lovewell Lake Fun Day and Fourth of July fireworks. For information call: (785)753-4971


Prairie Dog State Park
When you pass the prairie dog statue at this park's entrance, you know you've entered a unique state park. Containing a thriving prairie dog town, Prairie Dog State Park is located on the shores of Keith Sebelius Reservoir in northwest Kansas. Another part of the park's charm lies in the fact that it receives modest visitation, even though its facilities can compete with most busier areas. More than 40 electrical hookups, boat ramps, trails, and a marina make Prairie Dog a complete park. The 2,000-acre lake offers excellent boating and is renowned for its large numbers of trophy wipers, a white bass/striped bass hybrid known for its ferocious fighting ability. Norton Wildlife Area, which surrounds the lake, offers 6,500 acres for hunting, nature watching, and exploring. Two vintage 1800s buildings, including the only adobe house on its original site in Kansas in the park provide a bit of local history. For information call: (785)877-2953


Meade State Park
Located in the rugged southwest region of the state, Meade State Park is just 12 miles southwest of the old Dalton Gang hideout in Meade. While the 80-acre lake and 440-acre park are small in comparison with other state park areas, Meade provides the opportunity to get away from the crowds in a sparsely-populated region of the state. Ample facilities include 32 electrical hookups, a boat ramp and courtesy dock, and both swimming beach and bathhouse are provided. Because the lake is small, boating is allowed for fishing only, and boats must be operated at no-wake speeds. For information call: (316)873-2572


Tuttle Creek State Park
Just a few miles north of Kansas State University and Manhattan, Tuttle Creek State Park is located on the banks of the state's second largest lake, Tuttle Creek Reservoir. Four areas make up the 1,160-acre park, while the wildlife area comprises 12,200 acres and the lake 15,800. Electrical and water hookups, swimming beaches, boat ramps, a marina, courtesy docks, dump stations, and a hiking trail provide excellent opportunities for outdoor recreation. In addition, picnicking, softball, water skiing, wind surfing, bicycling, and jogging are favorite pastimes. Fishing in the reservoir -- especially for crappie -- is quite good, and the wildlife area offers ample opportunity for hunting. For information call: (785)539-7941


Camping and Hiking in Kansas

Cedar Bluff State Park
Cedar Bluff State Park straddles the reservoir of the same name, providing approximately 1,000 acres of park. Camping (including cabins), boating, fishing, wildlife viewing, and a variety of outdoor sports -- such as volleyball, swimming, basketball, frisbee golf, and horseshoes -- are available in the park. In summer, interpretive programs may be available, as well. With 74 utility sites and large areas set aside for non-designated primitive camping, the park comes built to suit nearly any taste and includes two handicapped-accessible primative cabins. The 6,000-acre lake and almost 9,000 acres of adjacent wildlife area make Cedar Bluff State Park an excellent base camp for hunters, fishermen, and year-round explorers. High limestone bluffs provide a stunning rustic setting for all these outdoor activities. For information call: (785)726-3212


Kanopolis State Park
Kansas' first state park is also one the most beautiful. From the towering Dakota sandstone bluffs to the caves and crevices of Horsethief Canyon, Kanopolis State Park and surrounding area offer rugged beauty found few places in the Midwest. The park itself is split into two areas on the north and south sides of the dam. A marina, beaches, picnic areas, full-service camping areas, volleyball courts, and softball diamonds make the area an all-round recreation spot. Of particular interest is Horsethief Canyon, which offers 26 miles of trails for hikers, horseback riders, and bicyclists. The 3,500-acre lake and 12,500-acre Corps of Engineers wildlife area provide anglers and hunters with abundant fish and game. Nestled near the Smoky Hill River toward the northwest portion of the wildlife area is Farris Caves, which were carved by early pioneers and served as milkhouse, school house, and living quarters. For information call: (785)546-2565


Fall River State Park
Positioned between the cross-timbered Chautauqua Hills to the east and the grasslands of the Flint Hills to the west, Fall River State Park provides a remarkable variety of landscape and wildlife for the outdoor enthusiast. Eighty-four hundred acres of wildlife area and 2,500 surface acres of water complement the facilities in the 900-acre state park. In the spring, white bass runs up Fall River can be excellent. Some facilities available at Fall River State Park include boat ramps, a fitness trail, improved campsites, and modern sanitary facilities. Both developed and undeveloped campsites are also available. A favorite pastime at Fall River is canoeing. Canoeists can rent their vessels in Eureka or use their own and put in where Kansas Highway 99 crosses Fall River, at the north end of the wildlife area. Camping is available at designated areas in the wildlife area, or the ambitious canoeist can paddle all the way to the state park. For information call: (316)637-2213


Perry State Park
North of I-70 between Topeka and Lawrence, Perry State Park offers the full array of camping opportunities with 124 sites with water and electricity and 350 tent camp sites. Swimming beach, bathhouse, nature trails, and nearby marina complement the camping facilities. Whether you are just camping or want to use the area as a base for fishing, hiking, hunting, or other activities, Perry offers a scenic location in the wooded region of northeast Kansas. The wildlife area, which encompasses almost 11,000 acres, also includes about 1,000 acres of marshes, making it a great place to watch and hunt waterfowl. Quail are usually abundant, as well. The reservoir is known for its excellent crappie and channel catfishing. For information call: (785)246-3449


Webster State Park
Nestled in the Solomon River Valley of north central Kansas, Webster State Park is split between the north and south shores of Webster Reservoir. Campers can choose from 36 utility campsites or more than 100 primitive sites. An amphitheater, playgrounds, volleyball courts, horseshoe pits, and a nature trail offer a wide variety of recreational opportunities. Annual events include fishing derbies and Webster Fun Days, a festival complete with mud and sand volleyball tournaments, a sand sculpture contest, nature programs, and more. The wildlife area and reservoir also provide good hunting and fishing. The stilling basin below Webster Dam is outfitted with an accessible ramp and pier designed to provide barrier-free fishing for trout (during the fall and winter), bass, catfish, and many other species. The fishing forecast for the reservoir lists wipers and black bass as very good to excellent, crappie and bluegill as very good, channel catfish, flathead catfish and walleye as fair for the 1999 season. For information call: (785)425-6775


Hunting and Fishing in Kansas

Clinton State Park
Located just eight miles from the University of Kansas, Clinton State Park is snuggled among the rolling Osage Questas woodlands west of Lawrence. The 7,000-acre Clinton Reservoir provides clear water for boating, fishing, and swimming. Deer, rabbit, squirrel, quail, and a variety of other wildlife thrive in the 11,000 acres of wildlife area surrounding the lake, including nesting bald eagles. The park itself comprises about 1,500 acres. From the park, photographers, naturalists, horseback riders, hikers, and campers all find a pleasant base for their activities. A nearby marina accommodates the needs of boaters. While water skiing is an obvious attraction to the area, cross-country snow skiers also find Clinton State Park an ideal spot for winter recreation. With 240 electrical hookups, 16 boat ramp lanes, restrooms and showers, and a marina, Clinton offers campers and boaters all they could ask for. For information call: (785)842-8562


Pomona State Park
Unlike the famous California speedway of the same name, Pomona State Park is a place to relax. The 500-acre park offers 47 full service, 109 electrical only campsites, and more than 160 primitive campsites, teepee, as well as a marina with boat rental. For anglers, the 4,000-acre reservoir is noted for great crappie fishing and giant flathead catfish. In fact, the last two state record flatheads were taken from this lake. Hunting and wildlife watching are popular activities on the Corps of Engineers wildlife area. A swimming beach and bathhouse are located near one of several picnic areas, and picnic shelters may be reserved. Horseshoe pits and volleyball courts are also provided. During summer, educational programs are offered, including a Junior Naturalist Program. For information call: (785)828-4933


Glen Elder State Park
Nestled next to one of the largest and best fishing lakes in the state, Glen Elder State Park not only offers outstanding outdoor recreational opportunities for anglers, but swimming, bicycling, horseshoes, volleyball, softball, boating, and water skiing are also favorite activities. A marina makes outings on the lake a simple matter. Equipment for volleyball and horseshoes is available at the park office. For the lucky angler, a fish cleaning station is also provided. One of the newest features of the park is the Waconda Heritage Village, featuring the historic Hopewell Church, which was moved to the park in late 1994 and eventually will house restrooms, a storm shelter for campers, space for an ecological exhibit, and a quaint setting for weddings, reunions, and other activities. Future proposals for the area include a full-scale replica of a sacred Indian meeting place called Waconda Springs. For information call: (785)545-3345


Hillsdale State Park
One of the newest parks in the state, Hillsdale provides a much-needed retreat for urban dwellers. Located about 25 miles southwest of Kansas City, opportunities abound for anglers, boaters, campers, naturalists, hikers, horseback riders, photographers, picnickers, and anyone looking for a break from the bustle of the city. Situated in the transition zone between tallgrass prairie and mixed hardwood forests, Hillsdale offers a great diversity of plant and animal life. Migrating shorebirds and waterfowl use the area as a rest stop. Songbirds, quail, deer, bobcat, and furbearers all inhabit the area around the park. Although the park is new and still being developed, a full complement of facilities is available, including boat ramps, improved camping areas, shower houses, and picnic shelters. For information call: (913)783-4507


Eisenhower State Park
Named for Kansas' most famous native son, Eisenhower State Park lies on the edge of Melvern Reservoir, which offers 6,900 surface acres for boating and fishing. This eastern Flint Hills park also provides 195 electrical campsites and numerous other facilities, and a marina nearby. The adjacent Melvern Wildlife area harbors a variety of wildlife. Hunting is allowed except on the 1,100 waterfowl refuge, which is open to wildlife viewing except during the hunting season, when it is closed to all activity. The park has a swimming beach, horseshoe pits, and playground equipment, and an interpretive nature trail allows visitors to take a one-half-mile self-guided walk. A 22-mile horseback trail follows the south side of the lake. In the summer, a variety of entertainment and educational programs take place, including a Junior Naturalist Program. For information call: (785)528-4102


Other Kansas Outdoor activities

Kansas also offers the following outdoor activities:
  • Biking
  • Boating
  • Golf
  • Swimming