If you are around Kansas and looking for a scenic place where you could camp peacefully yet have fun within nature, we recommend stopping by at Kanopolis Lake.
The campground Kanopolis area has a vast 22,000 acres of rolling hills, woods, bluffs, canyons, and the water area itself; this place could give you a quiet ground setting overlooking the scenic Smoky Hill River valley.
Besides visual features, this place also boasts fun and exciting activities, including hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, fishing, swimming, picnicking, Recreational Vehicle camp, tent camp, and even wildlife watching. It is a great spot to unwind, enjoy and learn nature at the same time.
Here, we have provided the necessary Kanopolis Lake information that you should know when traveling to KL:
- Check-in time: 2 PM
- Check out time: Noon
- Quiet time: 1 PM to 6 AM
105 Riverside Drive Marquette, KS 67464
- Latitude: 38° 37′ 18.0120″ N
- Longitude: 97° 58′ 12.0000″ W
- Elevation: 1,463 feet (446 m)
From I-135 in Salina, you could take K-140 approximately 21 miles west to K-141. You could travel approximately 9 miles south to the area office in the Horsethief Canyon area on the dam’s north side (the red arrow on the map).
To travel to the Corps Information Center, which features exhibits on the area’s archaeology, history, and natural resources, you could drive to the south side of the dam, then take the easy road.
History and Interesting Facts
The Flood Control Act of 1938 authorized Kanopolis Dam’s construction and the United States Army Corps began work in June 1940.
However, World War II’s outbreak led to a suspension of the effort, and they retrieved it in 1942, delaying the project for about three and a half years.
The Army Corps of Engineers finally completed construction in 1948 at the cost of $12.3 million, and the storage of water in the reservoir began on February 17, 1948.
Kanopolis Lake is the first reservoir built in the Corps of Engineers’ Kansas City District, which continues to oversee it to the present times?
Most of the sites here sit on shady tree-dotted shorelines. You could notice sandstone bluffs, rolling hills, and vast, open prairie lands surrounding the water reservoir.
Wildlife is variedly abundant in this pond area: you could spot whitetail deer, pheasants, quail, Texas horned lizards, beavers, and Bald eagles roaming around.
Waterfowl extensively gather at Loder Point Marsh, located within the ground. You could also witness the beauty of wildflowers such as purple poppy mallow, false blue indigo, yucca, and wild prairie rose, blooming colorfully within the lake.
Amenities at Kanopolis Lake, State Park
Aside from standard amenities in a state or national park such as campfire Rings, Drinking Water, Dump Station, Electric Hookups, Entrance Station, Vault Toilets, BBQ, Fire Pit, Electricity Hookup, Water Hookup, which you could find in common overnight camp areas.
The State area offers other facilities that you could enjoy, including cabins, the tower harbor marina, picnic areas, picnic pavilion, and kid’s play area.
Also, the lake offers easy access to the Kanopolis State Park and National Park.
You could reserve and stay in a unique cabin within the area; if you enjoy being away and being at peace, you might love it here.
Most of these cabins were wooded type, but offers full equipment inside;
It has all of the modern necessities despite the classic appearance.
There’s a nice little trail that leads down to the water from the cabin.
There’s also plenty of room for a boat or other toys to be parked on the property.
Most cabins could accommodate at least four persons, but you could pinch a tent outside to accommodate at least six visitors.
Kanopolis State Park Tower Harbor Marina
The marina provides a full line of marina activities and amenities.
Also, a private concessionaire manages this Tower Harbor Marina.
For parents out there who love bringing their kids along in their travels and campings in public and national parks, the Kanopolis Lake area offers some playgrounds that you could find and enjoy while staying in Kanopolis.
You could spot picnic areas within the lake; each picnic site offers either a great view of trails, bluffs or the science KL, giving a relaxing meal alone or with your loved ones.
It could be a family gathering or getaway; the area offers a picnic pavilion that could hold large size groups’ meals within the tree’s shade and a roof, and take note you could reserve it for group or family events.
Kanopolis State Park
Since the State Park stretches to KL, you could easily access Kanopolis State Park or vice versa.
Kanopolis State Park is the first-ever state park in (KS), and it offers a variety of activities and attractions. It also offers grounds near the area.
Activities at KL State Park
Aside from excellent amenities, KL also offers fun and exciting activities. Here we have listed the best activities that you could do and enjoy while you are in the area alone or with your family, based on other’s reviews.
You could enjoy camping near the lakeside with your vehicles, trailers, or tents.
The Corporation manages two of the campgrounds, the Venango ground, and the Riverside ground.
The Venango campground sits on the northwest edge of the dam offers facilities including 126 camping sites, 81 of them are electric hookups, and 30 have both water and electricity.
It also offers a boat ramp, dump station, primitive group camp area with shelter, picnic shelters, shower area, swimming beach, playgrounds, ATV area, and nature trail.
The Riverside campground sits on the southeast edge of the dam alongside the Smoky Hill River. It offers facilities including 25 camping sites, 16 of which are electric, and nine are non-electric.
Riverside also offers a dump station, a shower area, a playground, a nine-hole disc golf course, campsites, picnic areas, fire rings, shower buildings, sanitary dump stations, playgrounds, drinking water, and river access.
Entrance stations are at most campgrounds, and all campgrounds are patrolled routinely by Park Rangers.
Day Use Picnic
This area is for public enjoyment. And aside from camping near the water area, there is an available Day-use area in the state park. Morning to afternoon visits offers access to different amenities such as picnic areas, toilets, and many more.
Within the 3,400 acres of KL, anglers could explore a wide variety of fishing opportunities. The most sought species are saggy, white bass, and channel catfish.
Crappie and Wipers, a White Bass or Striped Bass hybrid, could be found in this water area.
You could take White bass soon after the ice melts in the shallows near the Bluff Creek. When river’s conditions allow, the white bass fishing during their March-April up-river spawn can be fantastic.
The best fishing occurs during their spawning period in late March or early April along the face of the dam or other rocky points. Saugeye could also be taken in the flats from Bluff Creek to Yankee Run Point as the water warms in late April and May.
Most channel cats are present during summer nights at the upper edge of the water area.
Fishing after the spring ice melt or using set lines throughout the lake are also popular techniques that can produce good results.
Also, They stock rainbow trout yearly in the seep stream below the dam. The trout season runs from November 1 to April 15, and you would need a special trout permit to possess trout during this time.
KL offers hunting activities for a variety of game animals. You could hunt pheasant, quail, chicken, whitetail deer, turkey, waterfowl, rabbit, and a squirrel could be found in huntable populations.
Hunters and farmers could also find coyotes, bobcats, beavers, muskrats, mink, raccoons, and opossums to pursue.
The Corporation of Engineers manages more or less 11,000 acres of land open to Public Hunting. The majority of this acreage sits at the upper end of the water area along the Smoky Hill River.
The Land management practices timber stand to improve and enhance wildlife habitat.
One of the Corporation’s most important wildlife management tools is the agricultural lease program.
Photos of DeerTracts of the public area leased to farmers who incorporate specific wildlife management practices into their farming operation.
Public access is available to most of these areas, but vehicles are not allowed on existing roads. Nearly all Federally owned land is open to hunting, except for the developed state parks and portions of the waterfowl refuge. We encourage all hunters to visit the Project Office for further information and guidance.
It would be great if you considered sportsmanship and safety at all times. Kansas law requires that any hunter born after July 1, 1957, you have to complete a Hunter Education course before obtaining a Kansas hunting license.
Biking in multi-purpose trails
KL is home to Cowboy and Indian folklore; this 24.5-mile track system has a similarly western feel.
You could enjoy mountain biking and pass through sandstone bluffs, canyon ridgelines, and even pass through numerous water crossings. The trails have a variety of terrain and difficulty levels.
Several sand areas are tough to ride, but patience and a little stamina would lead you through KL ‘s extensive multi-use trail system.
You could experience the highest quality boat rentals, jet skis, wave runners, boat tours and charters, water sports, flyboarding, and water toys at this beautiful water reservoir.
It offers fun for all group sizes, and they also have activities for all ages. You could enjoy their highest quality watercraft rentals at the lake of your choice, which is excellent for families, friends, companies, and corporate retreats.
Also, for team building activities, film and business production companies, company parties, celebrity vacations, and any boating excursion in Kansas.
They also offer the best MasterCraft all purpose boats that you could use for any lake use. You could enjoy swimming, fishing, wakeboarding, water skiing, kneeboarding, tubing, wake surfing, air chair, wake skating, sightseeing, and touring the water reservoir.
Horseback riding and hiking
By staying within KL, you would have a glimpse of Kansas’ wonders. One of them is the area’s 30miles of trails reachable by hiking and by horseback riding.
It offers different routes, from north to west trails, set as areas for horseback riding, hiking, and walking.
These tracks are marked well with color-coordinated banners; however: you would still need to pick up a map at the visitor center to identify which track goes with which color easily. So, Here’s a list of courses that you might want to visit.
The lake area covers two trails; The Horse Thief Trail and Horsethief Canyon, and Smoky Hill River Trail.
The Horse Thief Trail is a 3.1km of moderately trafficked loop perfect for all skill levels. It sits within KL, and its loop offers plenty of activities that you could enjoy year-round.
You could Start on the Buffalo Trail loop, then walk towards the HT trail loop. You could Take the short blue cut back to the head. You could have a glimpse of everything from bouldering, wooded areas, and prairie lands in this loop hike.
The Horsethief Canyon and Smoky Hill River trail is a 14.6km lightly trafficked loop great for all KS jungle skill levels. It also offers the Kanopoli stream. This loop trail is mainly for hiking, walking, and nature trips, which you could access year-round.
This loop is an excellent place with a lot of soft sandy parts and unique rock formations.
From the lake area, you could see the lake beach for swimming. The lake beach offers showers and restrooms within the location.
This place is home to wildlife, and by staying in this place, you could have plenty of opportunities to experience wildlife by watching animals and taking awesome photos.
During the winter season, bald eagles and ospreys fish in the river. And based on others’ reviews, wildflowers begin to bud in spring, giving a breath-taking view of nature.
You could see bald eagles, white-tailed deer, Canada geese, wild turkey, pheasant, quail, Crappie, walleye, channel catfish, and other wildlife roaming around.
Enjoying a stay to any public or national parks always accompanied by some rules and regulations, and while you are on the land of KL and Kanopolis State Parks, you have to obey and consider the following rules:
- The area requires a current motor vehicle permit for every motorized vehicle that would enter the park.
- Motor vehicles are not allowed to maintain roads and parking areas only, and there is also a limit of 25-mile-per-hour speed range.
- Camp trips are allowed only in overnight camp areas, not in the cabin; All campers and camp units have a stay limit of not more than 14 consecutive days, although a 14 (D) extension is allowed with written permission from the park manager. They require a five-day absence before returning to the park to camp again. Any unused property or unoccupied for 48 hours is subject to removal.
- Fires are allowed but only in fireplaces, fire rings, and cooking grills. It would be great if you extinguished the fire completely before leaving the area.
- Swimming is allowed in swimming areas. However; Liquor and beer are not allowed on swimming beaches or in waters for buoys or other markers as swimming areas.
- For other types of beverages, only shatterproof containers are allowed.
- You have to obtain boating and fishing regulations at Wildlife and Parks offices.
- Pets should always be in a cage, hand-held leash, or tethered chain no longer than 10 feet.
- Pets are not allowed on swimming beaches or swimming areas delineated by buoys or other markers or in public buildings or structures, and a cabin.
- Service dogs participating in activities or assisting the visually or deaf visitors are allowed without restrictions.
- They require a special event permit for any event involving entrance fees, exclusive use of an area, sales, organized competition, amplified sound, use of temporary structures, or rental of a specific site or facility.
- Hunting is allowed only in some portions of the area. Make sure to check with the park office before hunting.
- Fishing is not allowed on boat ramps, swimming beaches, and in swimming areas marked with buoys.
- In-state parks, you could only clean fish at fish cleaning stations or other locations.
- You could not operate boats within 200 feet of any area explicitly listed for swimming and delineated by markers.
- There is a no-wake speeds limit within 200 feet of a boat ramp, boat dock, boat storage, or concessionaires facilities.
- Boats may be moored or stored for more than 24 hours only at designated sites. Vessels left unattended other than a designated moorage or storage sites will retrieve. Other posted notices may apply.
- Only livestock used for riding is allowed in state parks. Horses and other livestock are restricted to maintained roads and designated riding trails and may only be stable in designated areas.
- Fireworks are allowed in some areas.
- Your litter should be put in trash containers if provided. If there are no containers, campers should carry their trash out with them as they leave.
- Digging holes, removing geological formations, archeological relics or ruins, or vegetation except for noncommercial use of edible wild plants, wild fruits, nuts, or fungi is not allowed.
- No person may advertise or solicit sales within the area.
- Quiet hours start from 11 PM to 6 AM, Actions which alarm, anger, or disturb others are not allowed, Failure to comply may result in expulsion from the area.
- Firearms are only allowed in areas for hunting or shooting practice.
Traversing to places far from home like KS might need preparation. Here is some information on what to bring and what to consider on a camp trip to help you efficiently pack your belongings.
Recreational Vehicle Essentials
To have a more relaxing trip to KL, we have listed here the appliances and equipment you might need to buy, change or upgrade.
- RV GPS– To help you find your destinations within (KS), we recommend buying the best GPS in stores near you.
- RV Air conditioner – weather in Kanopolis is sometimes hot, especially if you camp during the summer. So, to avoid being irritated by heat, we recommend choosing the best air conditioner to keep you cool in between your camp.
- RV Humidifier– To escape the humidity during travels and maintain your vehicle cool and well ventilated, we recommend buying the best Dehumidifier for your vehicle.
- RV LED Bulb – A great bulb is one of the essential pieces of equipment that you need to have when traveling with a vehicle, and we recommend changing your old Bulb to the best-LED Bulb that suits your vehicle.
- Rv Sofa Bed – overnight camps could still be as comfortable as sleeping in your home; you just need to buy the Best sofa bed and Mattress to suit your liking and your vehicle.
- RV Toilet Paper – Since toilet paper is one of our daily necessities, not just when you camp out but also in our homes, we recommend choosing the Best Toilet Paper for a stress-free journey.
Other RV Camping Essentials
To help you avoid forgetting necessary things and equipment, we have listed the things you might need during your trip.
Personal, hygiene, and self-care essentials
- Good shoes (comfortable rubber or hiking shoes)
- Spare clothes.
- Lotions with SPF
- Hats, caps, and sunglasses.
- Bug repellent
- Rainwear (umbrella, Raincoats, or waterproof jackets)
- Toiletries (shampoo, soap, and conditioners)
- First aid kit and essential medicines.
- Hand sanitizers or rubbing alcohol
- Toothbrush and toothpaste
- Bath and face towels and tissues.
- Tables and chairs (Foldable)
- Portable Stove or a grill
- Fuels, lighters, or matches
- Cooler box
- Chopping board, kettle, pots, and pans.
- Plates, mugs, bowls, spoons, forks, and knives.
- Dishcloth or sponge and dishwashing liquid or soap.
- Can and bottle opener.
Tent and other essentials
- Spare batteries
- Power banks
- Charger cables and adapters.
- Tent repair kit
- Sleeping bags, mats, or Camp beds
- Pillows and comforters
- Air pump (For airbed)
- Reservations, bookings, or tickets
- Camp permit and other permits.
- Travel insurance
- Identification cards or documents
- Debit cards or credit cards
- Other documents that you might need.
If you plan to visit KL without planning to stay on its grounds, then aside from a cabin, you might also want to check these hotels that you could find near the water reservoir:
Here are the ten nearest restaurants in Kanopolis Lake:
Here, you could have a glimpse of the daily rates in KL overnight camping sites:
Type of site
Rate of site
Group Shelter Electric
Group Shelter Nonelectric
Redwood Group Camp
Standard Electric Water
Standard Electric Double Site
Standard Electric Water Double Site
Standard Nonelectric Double Site
Offseason Primitive Site
Standard Primitive camp
Standard Electric Water
$10 – $20
Offseason Utility Fee
$10 – $14
**Fees are subjected to change without prior notice.**
Individual sites at this ground operate on a six months rolling basis:
You could check availability from May 01, 2021, to July 27, 2021.
On January 28, 2021, at 11 PM, you could check availability to July 28, 2021.
Group sites at grounds here operate on a twelve-month rolling basis:
You could check availability from May 01, 2021, to September 30, 2021.
Rental cancellation fees and No-Show fees may apply.
Kannapolis offers peaceful and fun trips, with its excellent amenities and exciting activities within the campground Kanopolis could offer.
We hope you could have a peaceful and fun camp trip to Kanopolis, and we also hope our article would make your trip more manageable and less hassle.