Sitting peacefully on 1,200 acres in northeast Kansas, Tuttle Creek State Park is made up of four distinct areas of the Tuttle Creek Reservoir and boasts over 700 campsites, making it the perfect destination for your next RV vacation.
Tuttle Creek Reservoir, or Tuttle Creek Lake, was originally designed to control floodwaters and mitigate damage to nearby towns after a series of disastrous floods in 1951. However, this area now features a wide array of recreational activities and draws in thousands of visitors from all over the country. The lake is surrounded by a majestic setting including tallgrass prairie in the uplands, which pop with color in the spring blooming with bluestems, golden rods, and sunflowers. The most popular time of year to visit is from April to October.
RV visitors to the park can enjoy everything from exploring 100 miles of wooded shorelines and swimming, to hiking, boating, and even playing disc golf. The park is just as good for soloist explorers as it is for families, but no matter how you choose to spend your time at Tuttle Creek State Park you're in for quite the RV adventure.
RV Rentals in Tuttle Creek Lake
Transportation in Tuttle Creek Lake
Tuttle Creek Lake can be easily found by using Highway 24, turning onto KS-13, and then turning onto River Pond Road and following it to the park entrance. Although your specific route will depend on where you're coming from and which part of the reservoir you're staying at. For example, the Fancy Creek Area is easier to access using KS-16. The easiest way to reach your destination and avoid any unnecessary confusion would be to use a GPS.
The roads within the different areas vary greatly in quality and condition. Most of the roads within the park are paved, but there are also several gravel and unimproved roads, so they aren't necessarily the best for trailers and RVs. Most visitors choose not to drive their rigs more than they absolutely have to around the park since some of the roads and turns are difficult to navigate.
However, if you are tent camping and just bringing your car, you have nothing to worry about. If you are RV camping it is highly recommended you bring an extra car and practice extra caution while driving. Bikes are also a viable transportation option, just make sure your bike can handle gravel roads.
Campgrounds and parking in Tuttle Creek Lake
Campsites in Tuttle Creek Lake
Cedar Ridge Campground
None of the sites at this campground can be reserved, so if you want to stay here, you'll just have to cross your fingers and hope something is available when you get there. Luckily, there usually are campsites available.
River Pond Campground
The River Pond Campground is the largest of them all, with 540 primitive camping sites and 167 sites with water and electric hookups. It's not hard to imagine that despite its size, it's a very popular camping destination since it has both water and electric hookups. Since the River Pond area is so large, it is split up into three smaller areas: Riley Point, Rocky Ford, and River Pond. Riley Point is made up of 30 primitive sites and 20 water and electric sites, while Rocky Ford contains just 49 water and electric sites. The River Pond area contains 500 primitive campsites and 98 water and electric sites. Nearby amenities to the campsites will vary depending on exactly where you are staying, but boat docks, boat rentals, and boat ramps are all in the area. No matter where you are staying a few things will surely be nearby, including restrooms, a playground, and disc golf course. The River Pond Campground also features several shelters and seven reserveable cabins, for a more luxurious camping experience.
Fancy Creek Campground
Fancy Creek Campground is ideal for visitors looking for a rustic camping experience since there are 200 primitive campsites. However, it is also a good spot for RV camping, with 24 electric sites for your choosing. Visitors to this campground can enjoy breathtaking lakeside views and campsites with lots of shade. Water hookups aren't available, but the sites can be reserved year round and up to 13 months in advance. It's a popular campground in the winter months, not only since the snow-capped trees create a winter wonderland experience, but also because it is close to the shooting range, which is one of the few recreational activities that can be enjoyed year round. Several mountain biking trails in the area also make it a popular choice for bikers. Several shelters are also available in the Fancy Creek Area for group gatherings and they can be reserved up to a year in advance.
South Randolph Campground
If you're staying the night in the South Randolph Campground or just looking to visit the area, it is easiest to reach it using KS-16, which cuts right through the area. South Randolph Campground is comprised of 70 campsites, 20 of which have electric hookups. The other 50 sites are ideal for tents as they are primitive and offer no hookups. This campground is a favorite of many visitors since it is right beside the beautiful Tuttle Creek Lake. Since there are no sewage hookups, the park provides a shower area and a dump station near the campground to make disposing of waste a breeze. There is also a community water hookup available. Several nature trails are within the area as well, including the park's equestrian trails. There are also picnic shelters very close to the RV campground. All of the electric sites can be reserved, and since there are only 20 of them, if you want one it is recommended you make a reservation well in advance.
Cedar Ridge Campground
The Cedar Ridge Campground also offers lakeside views while camping, but only has 100 primitive tent sites, so it isn't too popular with the RV crowd. Nevertheless, there is a boat launch and fish cleaning station available nearby, so fishermen who like to get down and dirty in nature may like this campground. The campground is also known for being very peaceful since it is fairly small and the sites are well spaced out.
River Pond Campground
Some of the campsites at this campground are available on a first-come, first-served basis, but since there are so many sites available, the easiest way to know which ones are reserveable and which ones aren't is to go online. The non-reserveable sites tend to fill up quickly on weekends, so get there early Friday afternoon if you're looking for a weekend stay.
Fancy Creek Campground
Some of the sites at Fancy Creek Campground are available on a first-come, first-served basis, so if you don't make a reservation in advance you may still be able to get a site when you arrive.
South Randolph Campground
The primitive sites are only available on a first-come, first-served basis, so there is almost always sites available upon arrival, even if they aren't your ideal spot. If nothing is available when you arrive, you can always try another campground at one of the other areas.
Seasonal activities in Tuttle Creek Lake
When you want to go for a dip to beat the heat park your camper at Turtle Creek River Pond, within the River Pond Area, which is the most popular swimming location in the park. However, make sure you stay within the designated swimming areas because boating is also allowed nearby. And if swimming isn't your thing, you can always relax along the forested shore without burning in the sun.
Biking and Hiking
Nearly all of the four areas that make up Tuttle Creek State Park have trails that you can bike and hike on. Two of the most popular areas for biking and hiking are South Randolph and Fancy Creek. The trails vary in difficulty and length, but there is definitely something for everyone. Many of the trails offer breathtaking views of the diverse ecosystems within the park, taking you through not only forested areas, but also flint hills and tallgrass prairies.
Since you are surrounded by water almost the entire time you're at Tuttle Creek State Park, not fishing would almost seem like a waste of a visit. There are ample opportunities to fish within the park, including in the river and lake, from the fishing docks and the dam. Bass are one of the most common catches in the park, but you can also expect to catch saugeye, crappie, and several other species of fish. So don't forget to pack your fishing gear in you camper..
It's no surprise that this giant park is home to dozens of species of mammals, insects, and birds, not to mention the wide variety of plant life. Whether you're exploring the trails or sailing on the lake, you'll likely catch glimpses of animals such as deer, turkey, quail, doves, and various shorebirds. If that isn't enough, be sure to check out the 12,000-acre wildlife area directly adjacent to the park.
Playing Disc Golf
The River Pond area features an 18-hole disc golf course that is open all year long. Even if you have never played before, disc golf can be a fun way to spend a day as a family. The best part of the course is that you get to enjoy the beautiful natural scenery of the area while playing. You can find detailed rules for the game and tips on the park's website. So if you're up for some friendly competitions head your rig over to the disc golf course.
Shooting and Archery Ranges
A popular activity year round is practicing your shot at the shooting and archery ranges. The shooting range is in the Fancy Creek Area, but is only open during the first and third weekends of every month, so if you want to experience it, make sure you plan your trip around the range's hours. If archery is more your thing, check out the Luke Nihart Archery Range in the River Pond Area; just be sure to bring your own equipment.