Glen Elder Reservoir, Kansas, USA

Also known as:  Waconda Lake

Welcome to the ultimate guide for history, statistics, local fun facts and the best things to do at Glen Elder Reservoir.

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Glen Elder Reservoir visitor and community guide

Lake Locations: USA - Midwest - Kansas - North Central -

Glen Elder Reservoir, also known as Waconda Lake, is one of the most scenic and popular outdoor attractions in Kansas. Located in north central Kansas in the Solomon River Valley, you can see U.S. Highway 24 from Waconda Lake. Beyond that, you can see for miles in all directions and in the evening, you will witness some of the most beautiful sunsets that America has to offer. The lake and Glen Elder State Park are just east of Cawker City, Kansas and 12 miles west of Beloit, Kansas.

Glen Elder Dam creates a reservoir and was constructed by the Bureau of Reclamation in Osborne and Mitchell Counties, on the Solomon River, just west of Glen Elder. Glen Elder Lake and Dam are key flood control features of the Kansas River Basin, providing prevention to the lower Solomon River Valley. Operating together with other basin reservoirs, Glen Elder Reservoir contributes effectively to the control of flooding on the lower Smoky Hill and Kansas Rivers. In addition to flood control, the earth-fill dam, embankment, dike, and spillway provide and serve 21,000 acres of valley lands for irrigation and provides a large municipal water supply, recreation, fish and wildlife conservation and pollution abatement benefits.

Waconda Lake is one of the best fishing lakes in Kansas, featuring catfish, crappie, striped bass, white bass, largemouth bass, and walleye. In addition to the fishing opportunities, Glen Elder State Park provides camping, swimming, boat access, and hunting.

More than 13,000 acres of land surrounding Waconda Lake are managed for public recreation. The well-appointed campground provides electrical hook-ups, showers, picnic areas, fishing and hunting guide service, shelters, marina, beach area, boat ramps, boat rentals, nature trails, educational ranger programs, and annual fishing tournaments. The kids will love a uniquely Kansas attraction at Glen Elder State Park, a prairie dog area.

There’s so much to do in or near Glen Elder State Park. The Osage area has sand volleyball courts, a group shelter that can be reserved for special events, and a swimming beach. The Waconda Nature Trails have been recently developed. Concrete camp pads with secure tie downs, water and 50 amp electricity are available in Cheyenne and Kanza Campgrounds. A modern handicap accessible Fish Cleaning Station is at the east dump station. Cawker City Park has a nine hole artificial green golf course with a second nine holes for serious golfers. Whether your idea of a good time is swimming, boating, hiking, horseback riding, softball or bike riding, Waconda Lake is sure to have an outdoor activity to keep you busy, or maybe you’d rather just relax by the water in this lovely rural setting.

Custom Glen Elder Reservoir house decor

Read our full review of these personalized lake house signs.

Things to do at Glen Elder Reservoir

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Fishing Tournaments
  • Boating
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Golf
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Picnicking
  • Hiking
  • Horseback Riding
  • Hunting
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • State Park
  • City Park

Fish species found at Glen Elder Reservoir

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Catfish
  • Crappie
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Perch
  • Striped Bass
  • Walleye
  • White Bass

Best hotels and vacation rentals at Glen Elder Reservoir

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Glen Elder Reservoir photo gallery

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Glen Elder Reservoir statistics & helpful links


Lake Type: Artificial Reservoir, Dammed

Water Level Control: U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

Surface Area: 12,586 acres

Shoreline Length: 100 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 1,456 feet

Minimum Elevation (Min Pond): 0 feet

Maximum Elevation (Max Pond): 1,500 feet

Average Depth: 24 feet

Maximum Depth: 45 feet

Water Volume: 241,460 acre-feet

Completion Year: 1968

Drainage Area: 4,945 sq. miles

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