(Last Updated On: February 15, 2022)

snowy mountains behind the North Platte River in the edness k wilkins state park in wyoming

Mountains behind the North Platte River at the Edness K. Wilkins state park. Photo: Park Facebook page

Edness K. Wilkins State Park (EKW) is located in Natrona County only 6 miles outside of the large city of Caspar.

This 1700 acre Wyoming state park is in the heart of northwestern Wyoming and on the banks of the historical North Platte River.

The park was originally a rock quarry before it was purchased by the state in 1981 and reimagined as a state park. It was then named for Edness K Wilkins, who was a beloved 25-year Wyoming legislator and area resident.

Edness K Wilkins State Park is a popular place with area residents and visitors from all over. It’s been named a perfect picnic place due to the 50 plus picnic areas inside of the park. Many of these are shaded by the abundance of cottonwood trees growing here near the river.

Swimming, fishing and birdwatching are also major draws to this large public park.

Activities

This family friendly park is a day use recreation area only, meaning they have no camping allowed at this time. But you can camp elsewhere and spend the day here swimming, fishing, boating, hiking and biking or just relaxing and watching nature.

There are 4 group picnic shelters available here. Each holds up to 70 people, is close to parking and restrooms and has electricity. Contact Park Headquarters to inquire about the rental fee.

Here’s a closer look at some of the other activities that you can do here:

Recreational Activities at Edness K Wilkins State Park

In addition to the picnic tables and group shelters there are playgrounds, horseshoe pits, volleyball courts, grills and clean restrooms.

The playgrounds consist of 2 climbing rocks and a large combo tower, slides, swings and climbing rock. And there are 11 regulation horseshoe pits as the park has a long standing partnership with the local horseshoe throwers community.

Hiking and Biking at Edness K Wilkins State Park

Both hiking and biking are popular here year round on the miles of winding scenic trails through the trees and along the river. 2.8 miles are paved and easily accessible to strollers and those with disabilities. Several more miles are unfinished and provide a more natural trail throughout the park.

If you are interested in exploring other trails outside of the park, Caspar Mountain and Rotary Park are short drives away and offer a network of trails leading to a scenic waterfall.

Geocaching is also popular here and there are many local groups that participate in this fun activity.

Horseback Riding at Edness K Wilkins State Park

Year round horseback riding is also possible here at Edness K Wilkins State Park. There are several miles of trails suitable for riding and a horse trailer parking area – located southeast of the Mountain View Shelter area.

Fishing at Edness K Wilkins State Park

This is an excellent location for fishing and is known for its blue ribbon fishing, meaning that there are some 4,000 catchable fish per mile of river! You’re sure to catch a brown or rainbow trout!

Fishing is only allowed in the river and not in the swimming pond and you will need a valid fishing license so be sure to pick one up before heading to the park.

There’s also an ADA accessible fishing pier that is the only one of its kind in the entire state of Wyoming. This pier has built-in benches, a leaning platform, rails and curbs for safety.

Swimming at Edness K Wilkins State Park

The beach area is another popular draw to this park. The main swimming pond is encircled by the beach which is made up of small pebbles and sand. And there are 3 shaded picnic spots on the beach to help protect you from the harsh summer sun.

Boating at Edness K Wilkins State Park

Only non motorized boats are allowed on the swimming pond, in the middle of the park. But you can also boat on the North Platte River and access to it is at the western boundary of the park.

Bring your canoes, kayaks, paddle boards, paddle boats and rafts and enjoy a day on the water.

Winter Sports at Edness K Wilkins State Park

Edness K Wilkins State Park is truly a year round park and this is evidenced during the winter months as many visit the park to hike, snowshoe, cross country ski and ice skate.

Birds at Edness K Wilkins State Park

Edness K Wilkins State Park is located on the Central Flyway. Audubon Wyoming has designated the park as an important bird area and subsequently it has become a gem for birdwatchers.

There are several different habitats here including the river, the open areas and the cottonwood grove. With both local and migrating birds it’s possible to see up to 100 different species during a season.

Some birds you may spot here are owls, bald and golden eagles, red tails and hawks and, of course, many more.

Wildlife at Edness K Wilkins State Park

Not only are there many species of birds at Edness K Wilkins State Park but also many species of mammals live there too. And, if you’re

quiet and paying attention you’ll spot white tail deer, mule deer, antelope, prairie dogs, 13 lined ground squirrels and red, kit and gray foxes.

Pets at Edness K Wilkins State Park

Pets are allowed inside of the park as long as they remain leashed.

Historical Features at Edness K Wilkins State Park

The historical North Platte River travels some 550 miles through Colorado, Wyoming and Nebraska. Westward pioneers followed the path of the river in order to have fresh water and grasses to feed their horses and the other animals traveling with them.

The area around and throughout the park is known for the trails used by these pioneers – Oregon, California, Mormon and Pony Express. Although much of these trails are now covered with natural shrubs and prairie bushes there are still markers designating their route west.

One of these markers lies at the Park Entrance. And there is an old rustic wagon next to the start of the trail system that is a popular spot to take a family photo.

Park Location

Edness K. Wilkins State Park
8700 East Highway 20/26
Evansville, WY 82636
Phone: 307.577-5150

Website

Park Hours:

April 1 – September 30 7:00am – 10:00pm
October 1 – March 31 8:00am – 8:00pm

Map

Video

Here is a short YouTube video showcasing several attractions at Edness K. Wilkins State Park: