As the oldest recreation area in Kansas, Kanopolis State Park has a reputation that precedes it. Located near Ellsworth in the heart of Kansas, and situated on the shores of the 3,000-acre Kanopolis Reservoir, this big and beautiful park offers a long list of recreational opportunities to campers.
Excellent boating, fishing, swimming, and hiking can all be enjoyed here, with the park offering two distinct areas for visitors to enjoy — Horsethief in the north and Langley Point in the south. And with 14 campgrounds and more than 300 campsites spread throughout these two areas, there are plenty of great places to stay for campers looking to escape civilization for a while.
With thousands of acres to explore, it can be hard to know where to start your Kanopolis State Park RV camping adventure. That said, most campers agree that the best activities in the park involve getting on or in the water.
Kanopolis Reservoir makes this park a dream destination for water sports enthusiasts, with water skiing, jet skiing, and pleasure cruising all hugely popular pastimes. The park even has its own full-service marina to cater to boat users, and the reservoir is a hive of aquatic activity in the summer months.
Fishing is a major highlight for many Kanopolis State Park campers, with white bass, crappie, walleye, smallmouth bass, and several other species found here. The best white bass fishing typically occurs in April, while any time between March and May is a good time to target crappie.
If you don't want to take to the water in a boat, you can always go for a refreshing swim to avoid the summer heat. There's a natural swim beach in the Langley Point area of the park, and it's a favorite spot for campers and day-use visitors of all ages.
When you grow tired of water sports, you might want to check out the 25-odd miles of hiking trails that traverse Kanopolis State Park. Open to hikers, mountain bikers, and horseback riders, these trails allow you to explore the undulating terrain surrounding the reservoir at your own pace.
The Buffalo Track Canyon Nature Trail offers a great mile-and-a-half-long hike that's perfect for families, while beginner mountain bikers will love exploring the Split Boulder Trail loop. And if you're an animal lover, you'll definitely want to head to the park's wildlife viewing area to take a stroll along the ADA-accessible trail.
Camping at Kanopolis State Park
If you want to spend a few days (or longer) RV camping at Kanopolis State Park, search for an RV in Ellsworth County and then reserve a site in one of the park's 14 campgrounds.
There are over 130 sites equipped with hookups and more than 200 primitive campsites in total throughout the park. The exact facilities and amenities on offer differ from one campground to the next:
- If you're after a full-hookup site, you'll find 16 of them in the Langley Point Area's Sumac Campground.
- Sites with electrical and water hookups can be found at the Rockin' K (Horsethief) and Sandstone (Langley Point) campgrounds.
- Electric-only sites are available at the Rockin' K and Eagle Point Campgrounds in the Horsethief Area, and at Langley Point's Cottonwood, Yucca, and Switchgrass Campgrounds. Several other camping areas also boast sheltered electric campsites.
Restrooms and showers come standard. Four deluxe cabins are also available for rent in Langley Point's Little Bluestem camping area.
Finally, if you want to camp at Kanopolis State Park with your dog, you'll be pleased to learn that pets are welcome in the campgrounds. Of course, you'll need to make sure your pet is leashed and attended to at all times, and that you clean up after them.
Exploring the Area
There's plenty to enjoy when you camp with an RV at Kanopolis State Park — and lots more to enjoy outside the park boundaries as well.
For example, if you decide to head northeast when your Kanopolis State Park adventure comes to an end, you can make it to Salina in a little over half an hour. When you get there, make sure you spend a day exploring the Rolling Hills Zoo to get up close and personal with more than 100 species.
If you'd prefer to spend a little more time camping out in another great state park, you'll find Wilson State Park less than an hour's drive to the northwest. Mountain bikers, wildlife watchers, and hunters will be spoiled for choice here with more than 9,000 acres of craggy terrain and undulating hills.
And if you want to head for a big city, Topeka is a little over two hours away. Once you've settled in, treat your inner thrillseeker with a tour of the Evel Knievel Museum, where you'll get to see some of the bikes and helmets the famous daredevil used to perform his death-defying stunts.
When you rent a camper near Kanopolis State Park, a wide range of great experiences and activities await. Make sure you leave plenty of time in your itinerary to enjoy the best of them.