El Dorado State Park
Guide

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Introduction

Looking to explore the largest state park in Kansas? If so, look no further than El Dorado State Park. Nestled in the scenic Flint Hills and sprawling across 4,000 acres, the park stretches along the eastern and western shores of El Dorado Reservoir. The park is very popular for RV lovers who are looking for family friendly fun in a relaxed environment. El Dorado State Park is known for its impressive reservoir that was constructed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and completed in the summer of 1981. The lake consists of approximately 8000 surface acres of water, with 4500 acres of park lands and 3500 acres of wildlife area.
The reservoir provides most of the recreational entertainment in the park, with fishing being especially popular. You can also go boating in the reservoir if you want to go explore it a little more. There are seven hiking trails for visitors to enjoy that are open all year round. Hunting is also a popular activity to do at El Dorado State Park with around 6,000 acres of land around the park being available to use during the specified season. Another great feature on offer at El Dorado State Park is the handicapped accessibility. It has some of the best access for those with disabilities in the whole state of Kansas.

The camping facilities are very impressive at El Dorado State Park. There are four campgrounds found within the park that include nearly 1100 campsites that offer primitive to full utility hookups camping. Reservations can be made online for the campgrounds and peak season at El Dorado State Park runs from the beginning of April until the end of October.

RV Rentals in El Dorado State Park

Transportation in El Dorado State Park

Driving

El Dorado State Park is a super easy state park to access. The park is located in a very central location of Kansas to the east of Wichita. The park is very close to the town of El Dorado and can be accessed by three different exits if you are traveling on the Kansas Turnpike. Besides from El Dorado there are a few other small towns near the park, including Cassoday, Rosalia and Towanda. Wichita is the closest city and is around 43 miles from the park.

The terrain leading up to the park is super easy to navigate as it is mostly flat with little to no obstacles for you to deal with. During the winter the area can get heavy snowfall so make sure you call ahead to make sure the park is open before you begin your journey. If you are coming from the El Dorado Exit, take east bound Highway 254 into El Dorado to Highway 54. Take HWY 54 three miles east of El Dorado to Bluestem Road. Go north on Bluestem Road for around a mile and a half and you will reach the park.

From the Cassoday Exit, go south on Highway 177 for 14 miles to NE 10th St. Turn right and go west on NE 10th St. for around two miles. From West bound Highway 54, turn north on Highway 177. Go for two miles to NE 10th St and then turn left and go west on NE 10th St. for two two miles.

Parking

There are plenty of parking options available at El Dorado State Park.

Public Transport

Unfortunately there are no public transport options that will take you to El Dorado State Park.

Campgrounds and parking in El Dorado State Park

Campsites in El Dorado State Park

Reservations camping

Bluestem Point

Bluestem Point is the largest of four campgrounds available at El Dorado State Park. Out of the four campgrounds, three have RV access whilst the Shady Creek area is set up for primitive tent camping. The campground is simply huge, with 59 water, sewage and electric equipped sites available, 232 with water and electric and 232 primitive campsites. The sites are very wide, flat and spacious and there are some great amenities also available to guests. If you stay at Bluestem Point you have access to a swimming beach, picnic shelters, boat ramps, fishing areas, playgrounds, a dump station, showers, toilets and laundry facilities.

Since the campground is so large there are many bathroom facilities located throughout the grounds. If you are looking for full service camping we recommend staying in the Sunflower Meadow section of the campground. Cell phone reception should be achievable within the campgrounds and concessions are available from the marina. Sites at Bluestem Point are reservable and ADA accessible camping is also available.

First-come first-served

Boulder Bluff

Boulder Bluff is the smallest campground in El Dorado State Park that offers electric hookups for you to enjoy during your stay. Unlike the other campgrounds in the park there are facilities for equestrian along with RV camping available to visitors. The campground is very large and features a mixture of water/electric only and primitive sites. In total there are 24 water/electric only sites and 124 primitive campsites are spread across four different areas. This is usually the quietest campground as there are not as many electric sites available compared to the other two. Amenities in Boulder Bluff include access to the Walnut Valley Sailing Club, boat ramps, picnic shelters, playgrounds, shower blocks and toilets. If you need concessions they can be purchased from the Walnut Valley Sailing Club.

If you want to be on the banks of the river we recommend the Pelican Point area of the campground for you to stay in. Cell phone reception should be achievable within the campgrounds. Sites at Boulder Bluff are not reservable and are not ADA accessible.

Walnut River

Walnut River is the second largest of the campgrounds available at El Dorado State Park for you to enjoy during your stay. Like Bluestem Point the campground is very large and features a mixture of full service and water/electric only sites. In total there are 63 full hookup sites and 126 water/electric only that are spread across three different areas. Sites in this campground are also very wide, flat and spacious. Amenities in Walnut River include access to the amphitheater, Black Diamond Trail, El Dorado Linear Trail, ADA Trail, Teter Nature Trail, Walnut Ridge Hiking Trail, swimming beach, picnic shelters, playgrounds, toilets, showers, laundry facilities and dump stations.

Since the campground is so large there are many bathroom facilities located throughout the grounds. If you want to be on the banks of the river we recommend the Eagle Pass section as you will have full hookups available for you to use. Cell phone reception should be achievable within the campgrounds. Sites at Walnut River are not reservable and ADA accessible camping is also available.

Alternate camping

Seasonal activities in El Dorado State Park

In-Season

Shooting Range

In late 2018 El Dorado State Park added a new recreational activity, a shooting range! Managed by non-profit group Friends of El Dorado Shooting Range, there are 30 lanes on the 15-yard pistol/rim fire rifle range, 14 lanes on the 25-yard rifle range and 12 lanes on the 100 yard available for you to use. It is fully baffled and bermed and has concrete sides and end walls to enhance bullet and sound retention. Check out the range website for opening hours.

Lantern Festival

Every year El Dorado State Park in partnership with the El Dorado Convention and Visitors Bureau holds a very popular lantern festival. Located below the dam by the Walnut River amphitheater, the festival draws people of all ages to come and see the night skies lit up with stunning lanterns that are of all shapes and sizes. The festival also features music and dancing, face-painting, children’s activities and food vendors. Make sure to check the park website to see what weekend the festival will be held on this year.

Fishing

The El Dorado Reservoir is a fantastic place for fishing throughout the year. The large reservoir has many different spots in and around the lake that attract different fish. Crappie and largemouth bass can be found around the standing timber and fish attractors. Walleye fishing is good along the face of the dam and also on the old railroad bed. If you want to aim for Channel catfish they can be found lake wide, along with flathead.

Off-Season

Hunting

El Dorado State Park is comprised of several diverse habitats that are great for hunting. These habitats include native prairie, annual grasses and forbs, agricultural crops, and woodlands. Around 2000 acres are available for hunting on within the park, along with another 4000 that are located around the reservoir. Common species found in the area include waterfowl, turkey, deer, rabbit and squirrel. The trapping of fur-bearers, including beaver, raccoon, coyote, and bobcat is also allowed. The areas open to hunting within the state park require a state park vehicle permit.

Hiking

El Dorado State Park has an impressive range of trails that are suitable for beginners to those who are experienced hikers. In total there are seven trails that are open all year round that vary in length from half a mile to twelve miles in length. We recommend the Walnut River trail for those looking for a trail that is a decent length but not too long. The trail is two and a half miles, is semi hardened and makes its way around the very scenic Walnut River campground.

Archery Range

Along with the shooting range there is also an archery range available for you to use at El Dorado State Park. Constructed in 2013, the range is free with park admission and you can find it near the Teter Nature Trail parking lot. There is both an adult and children's area that have different size targets. In the children's range there are three targets and in the adult one there are 11. Make sure to bring your own gear if you want to use the range as there is no guarantee that equipment will be available for rent.

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