Wilson Lake, Kansas, USA

Also known as:  Wilson Reservoir

Welcome to the ultimate guide to Wilson 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 Wilson 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 Wilson Lake

Nicknamed the “Clearest Lake in Kansas”, Wilson Lake is located in the heart of the Smoky Hills of central Kansas. This reservoir is an unexpected jewel in the wide, flat expanse of the Kansas prairie. Wilson Lake is conveniently located just five miles north of Interstate 70 in the Saline River Valley.

Wilson Reservoir, State Park and Wildlife Area offer diverse recreational activities to please all visitors. Hunting is permitted on 8,120 acres, in season. Game animals include pheasant, quail, prairie chicken, whitetail and muledeer, turkey, waterfowl and rabbit. If you hunt for fur, there’s opossum, raccoon, muskrat, coyote, bobcat, beaver and even mink.

If fishing is more your sport, you’ve come to the right lake. Wilson Lake proudly holds state records for smallmouth bass, striped bass, and walleye. The channel and flathead catfish grow quite large here, but it’s the striped bass that are the biggest fish, weighing in at over forty pounds.

Five campgrounds around Wilson Lake offer plenty of camping. The Corps of Engineers manages Lucas, Miinooka and Sylvan Parks. The other two campgrounds, Wilson State Park and Otoe State Park, are handled by the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks. User fees are collected for camping in parks that the Corps of Engineers operate. These are all level campsites; many feature electrical hookups, lantern hanging posts, picnic tables and fire rings. Showers, dump stations, playgrounds and fish cleaning stations are located in most parks.

Peak boating season runs from April 1st to November 1st. Wilson Lake marinas offer pontoon boat rentals, gas, groceries, and bait.

For hikers, there’s a trail that leads to an adventure unique to Wilson Lake. The Rocktown Hiking Trail is in the western section of Lucas Park. Rocktown is a 305 acre area that is registered as a Natural and Scientific Area and you’ve got to see it to believe it. After hiking a couple of miles along the trail, visitors are confronted with massive red sandstone rock outcroppings that tower 15 to 30 feet into the air. This gives a distinct impression of a city skyline, thus the name – Rocktown.

Things to Do at Wilson Lake

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Picnicking
  • Hiking
  • Hunting
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • State Park
  • Playground

Fish Species Found at Wilson Lake

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Catfish
  • Flathead Catfish
  • Perch
  • Smallmouth Bass
  • Striped Bass
  • Walleye

Find Places to Stay at Wilson Lake

If you’re considering a Wilson 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 Wilson Lake Vacation

If you want to take a deeper dive to find waterfront lake cabins, cottages, condos, hotels or resorts, check out our favorite Wilson 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.

Wilson Lake Statistics & Helpful Links


Lake Type: Artificial Reservoir, Dammed

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

Surface Area: 9,020 acres

Shoreline Length: 100 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 1,515 feet

Average Depth: 24 feet

Maximum Depth: 65 feet

Water Volume: 235,000 acre-feet

Completion Year: 1964

Drainage Area: 1,917 sq. miles

Trophic State: Mesotrophic-eutrophic

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Captain / First Mate Custom 20 oz Tumbler

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Personalized My Boat My Rules Unisex T-Shirt

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


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