El Dorado Lake, Kansas, USA

Welcome to the ultimate guide to El Dorado Lake — things to do, where to stay, fun facts, history, stats and more. Let’s dive in!

Topics we cover in this article:

Looking for El Dorado Lake cabins or other accommodations? Save time and use this interactive map to find, compare and book at the best rates. Or explore our comprehensive list of favorite travel partners.

All About El Dorado Lake

Completed in 1981, South Central Kansas’ El Dorado Lake is an 8,000-acre reservoir bordering the stunning tall grass prairies and rolling mounds of the Flint Hills. The lake boasts an average depth of 19 feet, and an impressive 50 billion gallons of potential storage volume. The project was constructed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for water supply and flood control. It also offers an impressive 97 miles of shoreline used for recreational purposes. The top of the dam stands at 1,370.5 feet above sea level.

Several recreational areas make up El Dorado Lake – Bluestem, Boulder Bluff, Overlook, Shady Creek,and Walnut River – all of them known for their phenomenal wildlife watching. Bluestem is best remembered for fantastic opportunities to view Canada geese, warblers, tree swallows and bald eagles; Boulder Bluff’s rock quarry is home to numerous collared lizards and waterfowl; Shady Creek hosts meadowlarks, common nighthawks, deer and greater prairie chickens; and Walnut River provides a habitat for chickadees, cardinals, woodpeckers, hawks, vultures and minks. Biking, boating, water skiing, jet skiing and horseback riding are other popular El Dorado diversions. Local facilities include four major campgrounds (some with electric hookups), cabins, boating ramps, marinas, picnic areas and playgrounds. Beach swimming areas, hiking and equine trails are also available, along with restrooms, shower houses, laundry facilities and a sailing club.

The hiking trails around El Dorado Lake host many of Kansas’ 800 varieties of wildflowers, particularly during May-June and August-September. At these times, hikers should keep an eye out for rose verbena, Missouri evening primrose, upright coneflower, and the purple prairie clover. A short walk to a lookout point made of limestone can be found on the left side of the basin, offering some of the best views of El Dorado Lake and its dam. Nearby, a plaque commemorates the old schoolhouse (circa 1897) that previously occupied the premises. Boulder Bluff Horse Trail wraps 12 miles around the lake’s picturesque shoreline, and is suitable for horseback riding, hiking, and biking. The ADA Trail is a 2.5-mile lark through the Walnut River area. Double Black Diamond Mountain Bike Trail is a tough 2-mile biking path that can also be tackled on foot. Teter Nature Trail is an easy 3/4-mile stroll through the scenic woodlands of the Butler County Historical Society Wilderness Area – expect to see deer, raccoon, turkey, and a variety of plant life here. The Walnut Ridge Trail is another short, 3/4-mile stretch of terrain that connects to the Linear Trail, which in turn crosses the Walnut River bridge.

Fishing and hunting are also popular at El Dorado Lake, which is overflowing with game fish like largemouth bass, walleye, channel catfish, flathead catfish, white crappie, black bullhead and drum. White bass, carp, black crappie, smallmouth bass and bluegill are also present. Rainbow trout are stocked in the Walnut River from October 15 to April 15; although sportsmen are required to obtain a special trout permit in addition to regular fishing permits. Anglers have the most fishing success along the rip-rap (stones lining the border of the lake that prevent erosion) near the dam and along the railroad. Crappie and largemouth bass are also drawn to the timber fish attractors that have been strategically placed throughout the lake. Additionally, “Old Bluestem Lake” is a favorite hiding place for flathead catfish. For hunters with proper permits, quail, prairie chicken, turkey, pheasant and deer can be pursued on the grounds to the northern side of the lake.

Just three miles southwest of El Dorado Lake lies the City of El Dorado. Founded in 1870, the municipality features 12 public parks that offer concerts, BMX bike races, picnics, skating, swimming, tennis, soccer, baseball and softball. The town’s main street is a lovely place to shop and stroll. Undoubtedly worth a stop is the Coutts Memorial Museum of Art, which holds works from legendary artists like Renoir and Remington. Nearby, the Kansas Oil Museum displays antique equipment from the 1920s through the 1950s, and also describes the town’s fascinating history in the oil industry. Families will love the Playhouse Doll Museum, a charming exhibit of dolls and collectors’ items located in the Antioch Church. During the summer, the El Dorado Broncos play at McDonald Stadium – this semi-professional team is a key competitor in the National Baseball Congress World Series. The oldest historical sites in the area date back to the late 1800s, and feature the 1958 El Dorado Tornado Memorial, the Butler County Courthouse, the Missouri Pacific Railroad Depot, and the Carnegie Library. With so many things to see and do, El Dorado Lake is the perfect place for a family vacation or summer home.

Things to Do at El Dorado Lake

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Sailing
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Jet Skiing
  • Water Skiing
  • Tennis
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Picnicking
  • Cabin Rentals
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Horseback Riding
  • Hunting
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • Museum
  • Playground
  • Antiquing

Fish Species Found at El Dorado Lake

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Black Bullhead
  • Black Crappie
  • Bluegill
  • Carp
  • Catfish
  • Channel Catfish
  • Crappie
  • Flathead Catfish
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Perch
  • Rainbow Trout
  • Smallmouth Bass
  • Sunfish
  • Trout
  • Walleye
  • White Bass
  • White Crappie

Find Places to Stay at El Dorado Lake

If you’re considering a El Dorado Lake lake house rental or hotel, we’ve made it super easy to find the best rates and compare vacation accommodations at a glance. Save time using this interactive map below.

Recommended Sites to Book a El Dorado Lake Vacation

If you want to take a deeper dive to find waterfront lake cabins, cottages, condos, hotels or resorts, check out our favorite El Dorado Lake lodging partners.

  • VRBO – Use VRBO to find the perfect lake rental home, condo, cabin, cottage or other vacation property.
  • Booking.com – One of the world’s leading digital travel companies, Booking.com connects travelers to everything from cozy B&Bs to luxury resorts.
  • Expedia – Expedia is a popular online travel agency with more than 140,000 lodging properties worldwide.
  • Hotels.com – With more than 325,000 hotels in 19,000-plus locations, Hotels.com is an industry leader in online accommodations.
  • TripAdvisor – Read traveler reviews and compare prices on hotels, vacation rentals and more at TripAdvisor.
  • Trivago – Trivago helps travelers compare deals for hotels and other accommodations from a variety of booking sites.
  • KAYAK – KAYAK scours hundreds of other travel websites at once to find the best deals on hotels and other travel-related services.
  • RVshare –RVshare connects travelers interested in renting a motorhome with owners who have RVs to rent.
  • CampSpot – Campspot offers premier RV resorts, family campgrounds, cabins and glamping options across North America.

Note: These are affiliate links so we may earn a small commission if you book through them. While there is no extra cost to you, it helps provide resources to keep our site running (thank you)! You can read our full disclosure policy here.

El Dorado Lake Statistics & Helpful Links


Lake Type: Artificial Reservoir, Dammed

Water Level Control: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Surface Area: 8,000 acres

Shoreline Length: 97 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 1,339 feet

Minimum Elevation (Min Pond): 0 feet

Maximum Elevation (Max Pond): 1,347 feet

Average Depth: 19 feet

Maximum Depth: 51 feet

Water Volume: 153,444 acre-feet

Completion Year: 1981

Drainage Area: 247 sq. miles

Trophic State: Eutrophic

We strive to keep the information on LakeLubbers as accurate as possible. However, if you’ve found something in this article that needs updating, we’d certainly love to hear from you! Please fill out our Content Correction form.

Shop El Dorado Lake Gifts

Custom Lake Tumblers

Captain / First Mate Custom 20 oz Tumbler

Custom Lake T Shirt

Personalized My Boat My Rules Unisex T-Shirt

Custom Lake Coffee Mug - On Lake Time

On Lake Time Custom Coffee Mug – 11oz or 15oz


Advertise Your El Dorado Lake Business or Vacation Rental

LakeLubbers will soon offer businesses the opportunity to advertise and homeowners and property managers the ability to showcase their vacation rentals to the thousands of lake lovers searching our site daily. If you would like additional details, please contact our advertising team.


Looking for the El Dorado Lake Forum?

LakeLubbers previously offered visitors the ability to create accounts and participate in lake forums. When we overhauled the site’s content management system in 2021 we had to disable those features. We’re evaluating options and welcome your comments and feedback here. We also encourage you to join our lake-lovin’ community on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest!

El Dorado Lake Photo Gallery

New photos coming soon!

Spread the word! Share our El Dorado Lake article with your fellow Lake Lubbers!