Wilson Lake, Kansas, USA

Also known as:  Wilson Reservoir

Welcome to the ultimate guide for history, statistics, local fun facts and the best things to do at Wilson Lake KS.

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Wilson Lake KS visitor and community guide

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

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.

Custom Wilson Lake KS house decor

Read our full review of these personalized lake house signs.

Things to do at Wilson Lake KS

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

Fish species found at Wilson Lake KS

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

Best hotels and vacation rentals at Wilson Lake KS

The Wilson Lake KS map shown above is a simple and stress-free way to search for trip accommodations. But if you want to take a deeper dive to find the ideal waterfront home, cabin, condo, hotel or resort, visit our favorite lodging partners by clicking the buttons below.

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Wilson Lake KS photo gallery

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Wilson Lake KS 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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