Clinton State Park

Clinton Lake is in Kansas and it’s a 7,000-acre reservoir. In 1962, Congress authorized the construction of the lake, and in 1971, construction officially started. The reason Congress approved its construction was to help control flooding on the Kansas River and the Wakarusa River. The US Army Corps of Engineers manages the lake, which took three years to fill.

Some of the native vegetation that is found at Clinton Lake include a number of fish species. White bass channel catfish and crappie are a few of the species of fish found there. Large mouth bass and walleye are other species that inhabit the lake.

Boaters of all sizes head to the lake, which is big enough for all types of watercraft, which includes jet skis, motor boats and sailboats to name a few. The lake has 10 boat ramps, and on the north side of the lake is where Clinton Marina can be found. This is where bait and fuel can be purchased, and it supplies the boat ramps there, as well as features a floating restaurant, retail sales, eight docks and a launching area where jet skis and windsurfers can go to. However, there are hazardous areas that boaters should be aware of, and everyone should be aware of the conditions of the lake, such as the constantly changing elevation levels.

Clinton Lake offers guests the chance to take part in activities such as hiking, camping, cross-country skiing and bird watching, as well as mountain biking and there’s an archery range, full-service marina, a playground, drinking water and restrooms located throughout the area. There’s nearly 500 campsites, as well as over 200 RV sites that have electricity and water available. You can reserve 15 of the campsites, and the rest of the sites are on a first-come first-served basis. In early June, you can attend the Wakarusa Music and Camping Festival that is held there for a period of four days.

Windsurfers tend to love the lake because windy days are common in the state, and there are two beaches where swimmers can go to, and those beaches are located at Clinton State Park and Bloomington East. The beaches are very large and they are open from May to September and you will know what the swimming areas are because they are marked with a buoy line. Also, the swimming areas can be accessed from eight in the morning to ten in the evening.

Boats cannot enter the area for swimmers and you can access the change house when you need to change, shower or use the restroom. There are a few small showers near the swimming area, which you can go to when you want to get a quick rinse. Clinton State Park beach is near a small cove and the buoys protects swimmers from boat traffic. Water-skiing cannot be done in the main body of the lake and there are buoys installed that designate the areas that are off-limits to jet skiers.

The Corps of Engineers manages five campgrounds, which are Bloomington East Park, Rockhaven and Woodbridge, as well as Cedar Ridge, Hickory and Walnut. On the developed campgrounds, you will find features such as playgrounds, shower buildings and sanitary dumps. Electric hookups can be found at Hickory, Cedar Ridge and Walnut.

An amphitheater is shared by Walnut and Hickory. From May to September, you can usually take part in a number of evening programs. Just make sure you check out the schedule ahead of time.

The only campground that allows you to bring your mules or horses is Rockhaven, but there’s no hookups there and there are two vault toilets for the campsites there. One trail horse lovers should go on is the South Shore Trail. This particular trail offers over 30 miles of riding and you’ll be able to check out the dam and the Rock Creek area.

The main trail-head is at Rockhaven Park, but you can access it via the dam or in Rock Creek. If you want to enjoy primitive camping and you don’t want to pay for it, then check out Woodridge Park, which is open all-year round. There’s a 4.5 mile trail and you can camp anywhere along the trail. At Ash, Elm and Bloomington West Group Camps, you can access a number of group facilities.

Deer, rabbits, and mourning dove are a few of the wildlife that calls Clinton Lake home. In the fall, Canada and snow geese migrate to the park, and so does teal, ducks and bald eagles. Clinton Lake is home to northern pike, white bass, channel cat and bull head because they tend to thrive in the lake. Fish habitats at the lake include river channels, trees, rocks and mudflats.

Bow hunting is allowed at the lake, but only on the south side. Coblentz Marsh is a great place for waterfowl hunters to go to. However, hunters must not hunt in the parks or at the dam because those areas are closed off to hunting.

There’s no shortage of hiking trails at Clinton Lake. In fact, there’s over 50 miles of them located there. Make sure you check out the North Shore Trail, as well as the Rockhaven Trail because those are some of the best trails at Clinton Lake.

Other trails at Clinton Lake include the South Lawrence Traffic-way Hiking and Bike path. In fact, these are relatively new, so you’ll want to check them out. This is a concrete paved trail that runs along the K-10 bypass road.

The path goes through the spillway area and it is best suited for joggers, walkers, cyclists and those who roller blade. If you enjoy doing any of those activities, then you will love the South Lawrence hiking and bike path. Just be prepared to spend a lot of time there because you can easily spend an entire day there.

Furthermore, there are over 20 miles of hiking and biking trails along the North Shore Trail. The trails start from Overlook Park and most of the lake’s north shore area. Check out those trails and all of the other fun things Clinton Lake has to offer by visiting there as soon as possible.