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If you are looking for one of the most scenic camping areas in Kansas then Wilson Lake should be top of your list. Defined by its crystal clear water, rugged shoreline and scenic cliffs this is one of the most popular camping spots in the state.

As it is such a large lake, at 9,000 acres, there is plenty of room here for lots of great spots to pitch a tent or park up in your RV. To help you pick the best location for your visit we have looked at the best Wilson Lake, Kansas campsites.

1. Wilson Lake

Wilson Lake is a large reservoir in Kansas on the border between Lincoln and Russell County. It was built by the US Army Corps of Engineers and is still managed by them, although some areas are managed by the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism.

It is one of the state’s clearest and prettiest lakes with excellent striper and white bass fishing. Located in the Smoky Hills of North Central Kansas the lake offers views of hazy valleys, buttes and rolling hills.

2. Lucas Park Campground

Lucas Park is one of the campgrounds which are managed by the Army Corps of Engineers and is located on the north side of Wilson Lake. You can stay for up to 14 nights during a visit to this campground.

It has 98 campsites, 15 of which have electric and water hookups and a large group shelter. The sites offer great vistas of the lake as well as access to a boat ramp, fishing dock and lots of great hiking trails.

One of the most popular pastimes for visitors to the campground is boating on the lake. Water skiing, jet skiing, sailing and wakeboarding are also popular activities here.

There is an abundance of fish in the lake. You can fish for large and smallmouth bass, white bass, flathead catfish, and striped bass.

For those who prefer hiking to fishing there are several trails accessible from this campground including the Rocktown Hiking Trail. This is located in the western part of Lucas Park and is a three mile loop trail set in a 305 acre area full of wildlife.

With a great variety of red sandstone formations some of which are 15 to 30 feet high an illusion of a city skyline is created, hence the name Rocktown. There are also many hunting opportunities around the lake for pheasant, quail, deer, waterfowl, turkey and rabbit.

Pets are allowed, and you can make your own campfire but are advised to use locally sourced firewood to prevent introducing tree pests and insects to the park.

3. Sylvan Park Campground

Sylvan Park Campground is situated below the dam that created Wilson Lake. You can choose the campsite that best suits your needs, either overlooking the Saline River or the Old Saline River channel or sweeping views of the surrounding prairie.

This campground offers a maximum of fourteen night stays in one of its 27 reservable modern campsites. There is also an 8 site camping area for groups which has a large picnic area which can accommodate up to 50 guests.

For anyone wanting to take to the water there is a boat ramp and many people enjoy a range of water sports such as jet skiing, wake boarding or sailing. As the river has high salinity the ocean native striped bass grows very large in this lake attracting keen anglers.

Visitors can of course enjoy swimming in the lake too and pets are allowed on the campground. When you are done with the day’s activities you can take a shower in one of the shower blocks and retreat to your campfire built with locally sourced firewood.

The area around the lake offers plenty of licensed hunting opportunities for deer, rabbit, turkey, pheasant, prairie chicken and quail. Hiking enthusiasts will appreciate the Bur Oak Nature Trail which is a three quarter mile nature walk with interpretive stations along its length.

Nearby areas of interest include the town of Lucas which is referred to as the Grassroots Art Capital of Kansas for its unique artistic spirit and attractions. Or explore the town of Wilson for its rich, historical heritage.

4. Minooka Park Campground

Located on the south side of Wilson Lake, this campground is surrounded by the wide open spaces of central Kansas. Its name is derived from the Otoe Indian word for ‘good earth’. With its beautiful scenic views the name is quite apt.

Minooka Park Campground offers 159 modern campsites, all of which are reservable. It also has a 12 site group area with a large picnic shelter which can hold up to 50 guests. The campsites offer wonderful vistas of the lake and surrounding prairies.

With shoreline access from your campsite you have a variety of options for water based activities such as swimming, boating via the nearby boat ramp or fishing for the multiple species of fish in the lake.

For visitors who prefer their activities on land you can take to the Prairie Fire Trail which is a self guided interpretive trail. The area has an abundance of limestone and contains thousands of miles of stone fences and buildings.

Campfires are allowed on the campsite, but visitors are encouraged to use local firewood rather than bringing their own. This is to protect the native trees in the park from any insects or pests that may be introduced from outside the area.

Of course if you wish you can visit one of the other campgrounds in the area such as Lucas Park, Sylvan Park or one of the campgrounds run by the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism.

5. Wilson State Park

Wilson State Park sits right on the edge of the 9,000 acre reservoir that is Wilson Lake. There are 240 campsites for RV campers and tents here and these are situated in two main areas, Hell Creek and Otoe.

The area is known for its rocky outcrops and scenic cliffs. This makes it stand out from the rest of the state’s flat and featureless plains. With Dakota and Kiowa sandstone formations which were deposited during the cretaceous period there is plenty to see here.

When camping in Wilson State Park you will have access to a 8,000 acre Wildlife Area as well as to the waters of Lake Wilson where you can enjoy boating, fishing or swimming.

The park has two boat launches which can be used for fishing or recreational activities. You can launch canoes or kayaks from anywhere along the shoreline.

There are numerous hiking trails, some of which are self guided with interpretive stations. The one mile barrier-free Cedar Trail is ideal for those with limited mobility. For mountain biking there’s the Switchgrass Trail which is 25 miles long.

Campsites are situated along Hell Creek Cove or State Park Cove and many have wonderful views of the lake. For RV campers you can choose from partial or full hook-ups and a choice of back-in or pull-through drives.

Most sites are equipped with picnic tables, water faucets, and cooking grills. There are also flush toilets, showers, cooking shelters and dump stations.

6. Wheatgrass Campground

Wheatgrass Campground

If you are looking for a swimming beach right on your doorstep then you should make a beeline for the Wheatgrass Campground. Stroll out of your tent or RV first thing in the morning and straight into the crystal clear waters of Lake Wilson.

There are twenty campsites here with allowance for up to 8 guests and 6 vehicles per site. Each is suitable for either a tent or an RV. You can drive in and park next to your site and there is access to the water here for boats.

Outside loop sites are pull-through with beautiful lake views while the inner loop is mostly back-in with lake views. Pets are allowed, and you can make a campfire if you wish, using locally sourced firewood.

Nearby amenities include showers, potable water, toilet facilities and picnic tables. From this location you can enjoy fishing, paddling, water sports, wildlife viewing or hiking. There is also a small fishing hole for kids.

If you want to go further afield then there are lots of mountain bike trails to explore including the challenging Switchgrass Bike Trail which is approximately 25 miles long.

Of course, you will have all the benefits of the area around Wilson Lake including Wilson Wildlife Area which is over 8,000 acres of public hunting land.

This area is made up of 5,000 acres of rolling hills and natural prairie, 2,000 acres of cropland and 1,000 acres of riparian timber along the Saline river.

Final Thoughts

You will be spoiled for choice when you come to Wilson Lake. There are so many great places for you to enjoy some relaxation time with family and friends that it may be difficult to choose just one.

But we hope we have helped you to narrow down your many choices. Happy camping!

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