Best Lakes in Kansas:- Kansas boasts a variety of scenic natural landscapes. From forests, flatlands, and hills to rivers, the Sunflower State has it all. Even though the state didn’t have many natural lakes, plenty of reservoirs were built during the 20th century.
From lakes abundant with catfish and bass to reservoirs that feature sandy beaches and trails, there is a wide variety of lakes that draw nature lovers and adventure junkies alike.
Planning a lakeside vacation in this incredible state?
With more than 120,000 lakes to choose from, it can be challenging to pick the one that’s perfect for you.
We got you covered with our list of the best lakes in Kansas: –
Wilson Lake #1
Located in Russell and Lincoln Counties, this artificial reservoir was built to decrease flooding risk. Known for its clear waters, Wilson Lake offers plenty of fun recreational activities to enjoy.
You’ll find four parks here with the most notable being Wilson State Park.
From sunbathing on the beaches, and hiking on the numerous trails to boating and camping, there are various activities to indulge in here.
The lake is also well-stocked with walleye, striped bass, and smallmouth bass, which makes fishing another popular activity. You may also spot wildlife in the area.
Cedar Bluff Reservoir #2
Soak in a tranquil vibe as you look at the scenic lake surrounded by towering limestone cliffs. Spread over 6,0000 acres, it offers abundant recreational activities.
You can enjoy boating, or fish for walleye, crappie, bass, wiper, and catfish here.
Looking for some more adventure?
Hike to the top of the bluffs and catch the sunset. Got some more time on your hands? You can explore Cedar Bluff State Park which is divided into two parts, one on the lake’s southern side and another on its northern shore.
Clark State Fishing Lake #3
Nestled in the deep Bluff Creek Canyon, this beautiful lake offers an idyllic escape into nature. It sits in contrast to the surrounding flat plains which adds to its charm.
There’s a boat launch and around 900 acres of hunting land around the lake.
From boating, and fishing for crappies, channel catfish, and white bass to camping and wildlife spotting, there are a plethora of activities to enjoy here.
You can also explore two impressive hikes around the area, including Jay Wood Memorial Nature Trail which is around one mile long, and a gravel path from the trailhead to the K-94 highway which is a 2.2-mile loop.
Perry Lake #4
Sprawled across 11,000 acres, this lake draws locals and visitors alike. Located in Jefferson County, its natural charm has earned it the nickname “Paradise on the Plains”.
You can enjoy hiking on the numerous hiking trails around, go horse riding, and spot wildlife such as rabbits, turkeys, bald eagles, or fish for sauger, there is something here for everyone.
There’s also a system of ATV trails here. Wish to spend the night? Perry State Park is perfect for pitching a tent.
You can also hike the popular 47-km long Perry Lake Trail here.
The lake is easily accessible from major cities such as Lawrence, Kansas City, and Topeka.
Kanopolis Lake #5
Located near Ellsworth, Kanopolis Lake is a popular site for recreation. It was built in the 1940s for flood control and is one of the oldest lakes in Kansas.
The size of its shoreline differs throughout the year, expanding to around 135 miles when it’s full.
With six designated recreational areas around the lake, there’s plenty to keep you engaged here. You can enjoy boating, camping, and much more.
Want to explore further?
Kanopolis State Park is located on the lake’s edge and features many swimming beaches, and over 25 miles of hiking, biking, and equestrian trails.
Tuttle Creek Lake #6
Located in Riley, Pottawatomie, and Marshall Counties, this scenic lake is spread across 5,000 hectares. The lake is nestled beside the Big Blue River and offers abundant recreational activities.
There are around eleven parks along its shoreline. From picnicking, and playing volleyball to hiking, biking, horse riding, and boating, you can indulge in a wide range of fun activities.
Adrenaline junkies can also go mountain biking on the 13 km track in Fancy Creek State Park.
You can also enjoy kayaking on the lake and camping in the area.
Love the idea of enjoying music and nature together?
The Country Stampede Music Festival is held in Tuttle Creek State Park every year.
El Dorado Lake #7
El Dorado Lake is one of the largest reservoirs in the state. It’s located northeast of El Dorado city and draws many visitors to enjoy recreational activities amid stunning natural surroundings.
With rolling prairies and grasslands all around, the lake features a picturesque setting.
There is plenty to do on its almost 100 miles of shoreline. You can enjoy water sports such as boating, water skiing, and jet skiing on the lake or go hiking, mountain biking, and horse riding in the area.
Owing to the abundance of fish, the lake also draws many anglers.
The area has plenty of wildlife so keep your eyes peeled for warblers, bald eagles, deer, mink, prairie chickens, and even wildflowers.
Fall River Lake #8
Soak in a tranquil feel as you visit this scenic lake set on the verdant Fall River State Park sprawled across 980 acres.
The lake’s shore features lush trees, making for great photo opportunities.
From hiking on the six hiking trails, canoeing, and kayaking, to participating in a course for orienteering, there are many recreational activities to indulge in here.
Wish to make a multi-day vacation out of it?
There are various cabins available for camping. If you plan your visit during autumn, you’ll find the trees on the shore turn beautiful hues of red and orange.
Glen Elder Lake #9
Located in the Solomon River Valley, Glen Elder Lake is one of the most popular lakes in Kansas. There’s Glen Elder State Park on its shores.
From water activities such as kayaking, and swimming, to land activities such as hiking, camping, and hunting, there is a range of outdoor recreational activities to enjoy here.
It’s also known as Waconda Lake and is well-stocked with largemouth, different varieties of bass, crappie, and walleye, which makes fishing a popular activity.
You’ll find plenty of amenities here including modern campgrounds, picnic shelters, nature trails, a swimming area, and sand volleyball courts. You can easily access the lake through Highway 24.
Milford Lake #10
Escape the heat as you visit the largest man-made lake in Kansas. Also called the Lake of the Blue Water, it’s sprawled over 15,700 acres and offers 163 miles of shoreline for outdoor recreation.
You can unwind at its scenic sandy beaches, and enjoy jet skiing, tubing, water skiing, boating, sailing, and much more.
Located on the shores is Milford State Park which is home to many campsites, cabin rentals, nature trails, picnic shelters, marinas, and a beach for jet skis. The lake is located west of Junction City.
Hillsdale Lake #11
Around 30 miles from Kansas City lies this charming lake. Created in 1982 by the damming of Big Bull Creek, Hillsdale Lake has numerous beaches.
You can enjoy boating and fishing for catfish, bluegills, crappies, and walleyes among other activities on this 4,500-acre lake.
The adjacent Hillsdale State Park offers ample opportunities for horseback riding on the 32 miles of trails in the Saddle Ridge Equestrian Area, hunting in the 7,000-acre hunting area, and spotting wildlife such as hawks, eagles, otters, deer, and more.
So, start with the one that attracts you the most and get ready for an unforgettable lakeside outing in Kansas.
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Q. What is the prettiest lake in Kansas?
Wilson Lake, Cedar Bluff Lake, and Kanopolis Lake are some of the prettiest lakes in Kansas.
Q. What is the cleanest lake in Kansas?
Featuring clear waters and over 100 miles of scenic shoreline, Wilson Lake is considered the cleanest lake in Kansas.
Q. Are there any clear lakes in Kansas?
Wilson Lake and Bone Creek Lake are among the clear lakes in Kansas.