Rare White Bison in Lake Scott State Park Kansas

Where is Lake Scott State Park

Located in the western region of the state, Lake Scott State Park resides entirely within the state of Kansas. The park’s most notable feature is the namesake Lake Scott. However, the state park also contains a visitor center, campground, hiking trails, and areas suited for fishing, wildlife viewing, and picnicking. The closest cities to Lake Scott State Park are Scott City and Oakley. The state park also known as Scott State Park is located 290 miles, or a four-hour drive east of Denver, Colorado.  It’s also 280 miles (a four hour and thirty-minute drive) north of Amarillo, Texas.  Lake Scott is also 258 miles (a four-hour drive) west of Wichita, Kansas. Lake Scott State Park is also located near several other outdoor recreation areas. These areas include Cedar Bluff State Park and the Cedar Bluff Reservoir.

How Large is Lake Scott State Park

Lake Scott State Park covers a total area of around 1,280 acres. The park’s geography mainly consists of Lake Scott, the lake’s shoreline, and acres of open terrain full of scrub brush and the occasional rock field. Lake Scott is a spring-fed freshwater lake that covers a total area of around 100 acres. The lake supports a variety of fish species. Lake Scott State Park also contains a 160-acre wildlife area that supports a variety of species. The average elevation of Lake Scott State Park is 2,831 feet.

Lake Scott State Park Weather

The weather at Lake Scott State Park varies frequently throughout the year. In the summer, temperatures in the park average between 60- and 95-degrees Fahrenheit. In winter, these temperatures cool considerably and average between 15- and 50-degrees Fahrenheit. The warmest temperatures of the year arrive at the park in June, July, and August, and the coldest temperatures find the park in December and January. On average, Lake Scott State Park receives around 45 days of rain per year. These 45 days of rain accumulate to a yearly average of around 25 inches. Lake Scott State Park also experiences snowfall throughout every year. Snowfall in the park is normally heaviest in the winter months of December, January, and February. The park’s yearly snowfall totals average around 10 inches per year.

When did Lake Scott Become a State Park

Lake Scott State Park first became a state park in 1928. The earliest recordings of civilization in the Lake Scott area are credited to the Taos Pueblo. These people arrived in Kansas in 1664 after escaping Spanish colonial rule in New Mexico. The Taos Pueblo soon formed an alliance with the Plains Apache who also resided in the area. Over the years, the Taos Pueblo built several protective pueblos and an irrigation system to support their crops. The only known Indian pueblo in the state of Kansas is located in Lake Scott State Park. Herbert Steele found the remains of the pueblo in 1889. Steele moved to the area in 1888 and donated his land to the state of Kansas in 1928. The state park is managed and maintained by the Kansas Parks and Wildlife Department.

Things to do in Lake Scott State Park

Lake Scott State Park is an outdoor recreation paradise. The state park contains opportunities for visitors to hike, fish, camp, and explore the great outdoors of Kansas. The most notable adventures and experiences found within the state park are listed below.

Explore the Visitor Center

The visitor center at Lake Scott State Park is one of the best places for visitors to start their Kansas state park adventure. The visitor center contains several educational displays and exhibits that discuss the park’s history, ecology, and Native American influence. The visitor center is also the perfect place for visitors to obtain park maps, trail maps, and information regarding camping and hiking conditions and facilities. Staff working in the visitor center can answer specific questions visitors may have about the park or their trip.

Participate in an Interpretive Program

Visitors who are looking to learn more about Lake Scott State Park after leaving the park’s visitor center should look to participate in one or more of the park’s interpretive programs. These programs touch upon a variety of topics including wildlife found in the park, the park’s rich Native American culture, and the future of wild spaces across the United States. All interpretive programs offered by Lake Scott State Park are led by experienced park staff or knowledgeable volunteers. These programs are offered on a rotating schedule. Daily and weekly schedules are normally posted in the park’s visitor center.

Hike one of the Park’s Trails

Lake Scott State Park provides visitors with access to several miles of hiking trails. These hiking trails vary in difficulty and length, but all traverse through the various ecosystems of the state park. Wildlife sightings are common on the park’s many hiking trails. Updated trail conditions can be found in the park’s visitor center. If not displayed, these trail conditions can be discussed with the park’s knowledgeable staff.

Cast a Line on Lake Scott

Lake Scott covers a total surface area of around 100 acres. The maximum depth of the lake is 15 feet, and the lake is constantly filled by a freshwater spring. Anglers visiting Lake Scott State Park can fish for a variety of species in the lake. Common species targeted in the lake include sunfish, crappie, largemouth bass, channel catfish, and saugeye. All visitors wishing to fish on Lake Scott must first obtain a valid Kansas freshwater fishing license. All Kansas fishing regulations also apply in the state park.

Wildlife Viewing in the Park

Lake Scott State Park provides a home to a variety of wildlife species. The most commonly spotted species in the park include wild turkey, deer, coyotes, beavers, bobcats, and various species of songbirds and birds of prey. Additional information on wildlife habits can be obtained at the park’s visitor center.

Camping in Lake Scott State Park

The campground at Lake Scott State Park includes modern and primitive campsites. These campsites can be reserved by visitors through the park’s website and reservation portal. Visitors looking to camp in the park during the summer should make their reservations several weeks in advance.

When to Visit Lake Scott State Park

Lake Scott State Park is open all year round, and visitors can plan their trip to the park throughout all seasons of the year. However, the state park is best visited during spring and summer. During these seasons, temperatures in the state park are best suited for hiking, fishing, and camping. Summers in the state park also will allow visitors to enjoy more of the park’s interpretive programs as more are offered. Wildlife in the park is most active in the spring and fall. During the winter, occasional snowfall descends upon the park and can make overnight camping challenging.

Must Have Items to bring to Lake Scott State Park

A trip to Lake Scott State Park requires a little packing and planning. Several essential items visitors should consider bringing with them when they visit the park are listed below.

Sturdy Hiking Boots

All visitors looking to hike the trails found in Lake Scott State Park should arrive at the park with a sturdy pair of hiking boots. Visitors looking for added protection and comfort can invest in a lightweight and waterproof pair.

Water, Electrolytes, & Snacks

Water is the most important item needed for every outdoor recreation trip. Electrolyte beverages and high energy snacks are a close second and third. The best snacks for visitors looking to hike or camp within Lake Scott State Park will be lightweight, easy to consume, and full of energy. Beef jerky, trail mix, protein bars, and dried fruit are good examples.

Swimsuit, Sunscreen & Sunglass

Visitors looking to spend extensive time in, on, or around Lake Scott will want to bring their swimsuit, sunscreen, and a pair of sunglasses with them to the park. These items will keep visitors comfortable while swimming, relaxing on the park beach, or fishing on Lake Scott. Visitors should look to bring an inexpensive pair of sunglasses they don’t mind damaging or losing with them to the park.

Fishing Equipment & Tackle

Anglers looking to target species found in Lake Scott should look to bring all of their rods, reels, and tackling equipment with them to the state park. Visitors should also look to bring a valid Kansas fishing license with them to the park. A store located near the lake in the park also sells various fishing tackle and equipment.

Camping Equipment

The best way visitors can ensure they bring all of the necessary camping equipment with them to Lake Scott State Park is by creating and utilizing a camping checklist. This checklist can be checked once during initial packing and again when visitors leave for the park.

Where to Stay in Lake Scott State Park

Visitors looking to stay within Lake Scott state park will want to make a reservation for one of the park’s campsites. The campsites can be reserved online through the park’s website and reservation portal. Visitors looking to stay at a hotel or other lodging establishment near the park will want to first seek options in Scott City or Oakley.

Food Near Lake Scott State Park

The closest food to Lake Scott State Park resides in Scott City or Oakley. The city contains several restaurants, fast food establishments, and grocery stores that are sure to provide needed sustenance and supplies. Visitors looking to camp in Lake Scott State Park can shop for groceries and supplies in the city before arriving at the park.

Airports Near Lake Scott State Park

The closest international airport to Lake Scott State Park is located in Denver. The Denver International Airport is about 279 miles and a four-hour drive away from the park. The next closest international airport to the park is located in Kansas City. The Kansas City International Airport is located 396 miles and a five hour and thirty-minute drive away from Lake Scott State Park.

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