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Walking trail by Lake Melvern at Eisenhower State Park

Walking trail by Lake Melvern at Eisenhower State Park. Photo: Park Facebook page

Picturesque Eisenhower State Park lies along spacious Melvern Lake surrounded by woodlands, tall grassy prairie, and wetlands 35 miles south of Topeka. This 1,785 acre public recreational area features lake activities, trails, campgrounds, picnic areas, and more for guests to swim, paddle, boat, hike, mountain bike, horseback ride, fish, camp, picnic, and bird watch.

Activities

Escape for a few days of peace and quiet inside Eisenhower State Park. Pack your camping gear (or stay in one of the park’s yurts or cabins) and plan to enjoy some quality time spent outside.

The park’s Jones Family Activity Area features picnic tables, grills, shelters, restrooms, a playground, basketball court, and horseshoe pits to help make your visit more comfortable here. The park also features an 18 hole disc golf course, a 19 target walk through archery trail, a kids fishing pond, and a 1 mile scooter trail that winds through the woods and across a bridge.

Here are some more activities that you can do during your visit to Eisenhower State Park:

Boating at Eisenhower State Park

Bring your canoe or kayak, or rent one from Ike’s General Store inside the park, and spend a peaceful day paddling on Lake Melvern. A 9 lane boat ramp offers easy access to the lake and a dock with 16 rentable slips are ideal for guests who bring in their own boats.

Swimming at Eisenhower State Park

Enjoy a day at the beach during your visit to Eisenhower State Park. The park features a sandy beach area and access to the almost 7,000 acre lake. A volleyball court, picnic areas, and restrooms are also located within or close to the beach area.

Hiking at Eisenhower State Park

Grab your water bottle and prepare for an active day exploring the trails throughout this Kansas State Park. While the park doesn’t specifically have designated hiking trails, hikers are permitted on the 5 mile Bike Trail and the 20 mile horse trail. There is also a 2 mile Archery Trail that is pleasant to walk along.

The bridle trail, Crooked Knee Horse Trail, allows hikers and mountain bikes. This long trail winds through an undeveloped section on the west side of the park, offering hikers (horseback riders and mountain bikers) an exhilarating trek across tall prairie grasslands (watch out for ticks), wetlands, water crossings, and steep rocky climbs.

Biking at Eisenhower State Park

Bring your bicycles and explore the trails surrounding Eisenhower State Park.

A 5 mile mountain biking trail flows through the woodlands and joins up with the 2 mile archery trail where guests with their own equipment may practice their skills. Riders are also allowed on the 20 mile horse trail that extends out into an undeveloped area of the park.

Horseback Riding at Eisenhower State Park

Equestrian campsites, corrals, and trails are available within Eisenhower State Park for guests traveling with their own horses. The Crooked Knee Horse Trail, a 20 mile bridle trail, flows through an undeveloped area within the park offering guests an exhilarating ride.

Archery at Eisenhower State Park

An archery range is available for guests who bring their own equipment (not broadheads). This range lies along Ike’s Archery Trail, a 2 mile path with 19 targets set at various difficulties. The trail winds through the woodlands surrounding the park.

Fishing at Eisenhower State Park

Pack your angling gear and plan for a leisurely day fishing on Melvern Lake during your visit to Eisenhower State Park. Here you may catch white bass, channel catfish, crappie, walleye, and sauger from your boat or shore. A fly fishing pond and a kids fishing pond are also located within the park.

The park offers canoe and kayak rentals and also provides boat ramps for guests who bring their own boats. If you do plan to fish during your visit be sure to pick up a Kansas Fishing License ahead of time.

Birding at Eisenhower State Park

Eisenhower State Park is a great place for bird lovers of all ages. Waterfowl, shorebirds, wading birds, and many other species, both native and migratory, may be sighted here, near the river and lake and throughout the woodlands, prairie, marsh, and thickets.

Grab your bird list and binoculars, you just might see a Common Merganser, Eastern Wild Turkey, Cooper’s Hawk, Bald Eagle, Canada Goose, Mallard, Mourning Dove, Black-capped Chickadee, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Tufted Titmouse, Eastern Kingbird, Great Blue Heron, Red-tailed Hawk, Northern Harrier, Eastern Screech-owl, Belted Kingfisher, Ring-necked Pheasant, Bobwhite Quail, or a Red-headed Woodpecker.

Nature and Wildlife at Eisenhower State Park

An early evening walk or while heading to the shower house first thing in the morning offers the best viewing opportunities for wildlife within the park. Many species, including white-tailed deer, squirrels, cottontail rabbits, bobcats, coyotes, muskrats, beavers, and waterfowl may be sighted throughout the tall prairie grass, woodlands, marsh, and along the river and lake.

Eisenhower State Park also features a Nature Room and Arboretum where guests may get a closer look at some of the local fauna and flora. The Nature Room features honey bees, turtles, fish, snakes and more. And the picturesque Arboretum has benches scattered along the waterfall for guests to stop and observe nature.

Pets at Eisenhower State Park

Pets are allowed at Eisenhower State Park as long as they are supervised and kept on a hand held leash no longer than 6 feet. Pets are not permitted inside park buildings, including cabins and yurts.

Camping at Eisenhower State Park

Spend the night inside peaceful Eisenhower State Park. The park offers guests a variety of overnight accommodation choices: modern, primitive, and equestrian campsites plus cabins and yurts.

Campsites scattered throughout the park (and within separate campground areas) consist of 25 full hookup sites, 126 water/electric sites, 15 equestrian campsites (with water, electric, and individual corrals), and many primitive non-electric campsites. All campsites have picnic tables, grills, and fire rings and access to restrooms, hot showers, and laundry facilities.

A camp store, Ike’s General Store, located at Doud Campground, carries kayak/canoe and game rentals, souvenirs, ice, firewood, snacks, ice cream, camping supplies, and more.

The 4 cozy cabins offer guests lake views and most of the comforts of home. Each cabin has one bedroom with a double bed and a couch, a bathroom with shower, a fully equipped kitchen, and dining area. A pull out futon and twin size Murphy bed ensure that each unit can accommodate up to 6 guests. Guests do need to bring their own linens, towels, and toiletries.

The park’s 2 yurts (dome shaped shelters that are a combination tent and cabin) sleep either 4 or 5, and have beds, electricity, heat and air conditioning. There are no bathrooms or a kitchen inside the yurts but restrooms and showers are accessible nearby. And a water hydrant, picnic table, and grill are located at each yurt.

Park Location

Eisenhower State Park
29810 S Fairlawn Rd
Osage City, KS 66523
Phone: 785.528.4102

Park Website
Reservations

Map

Video

Here is a short YouTube video showcasing several attractions at Eisenhower State Park: