Finding a good piece of water to canoe or kayak can be tricky in Kansas. Reservoirs can often be windy, making them unpleasant for small boats, and most of the rivers in Kansas are not open for public use.
Don't hang up your paddles yet, though; there is some good water nearby. Here are some places to start.
are several locations around Tuttle Creek where the coves are shallow and out of the wind, so the paddling can be relatively calm. Stockdale, Fancy Creek and Carnahan are all areas that can be good canoeing waters.
The River Pond area is also a good place to do some relaxing canoeing or kayaking, and is a popular area for birdwatching. Boats and PFDs are available for rent there as well.
State Fishing Lakes
There are many state fishing lakes in Kansas, and three very nice ones are in the Manhattan region.
Pottawatomie #2 is about 5 minutes north of Highway 24 just east of Manhattan and has some beautiful scenery and campsites beside a 75-acre lake.
Pottawatomie #1 is a smaller lake (24 acres) about 5 miles north of Westmoreland on Highway 99.
Geary State Fishing Lake is a beautiful, nearly 100-acre lake about 8 miles south of Junction City just off Highway 77.
If you are interested in float trips on a Kansas river, the options available to you are limited. Only three rivers in Kansas are public rivers: the Kansas, the Arkansas and the Missouri. All other rivers and streams flow over private property, which includes the water to the midpoint of the stream.
That means to canoe through these waters you must get permission from the landowners.
Stick to the public rivers, and you're good. In northeast Kansas, that means the Kansas River, which runs through Junction City, Ogden, Manhattan, Wamego, to Topeka and finally Kansas City.
You can break up this river into sections based on the length of trip you're looking for. Here are a few of the access points in this region:
• Junction City: K-18 (Grant Ave. Park) bridge
• Ogden: Ogden bypass bridge (300 yds downstream from bridge)
• Manhattan: K-177 bridge off McDowell Creek Rd.
• Manhattan: Hwy 24-Blue River confluence boat ramp (3/4 mile upstream of Kansas River)
• St. George: St. George River Park. Great access due to a brand new boat ramp/parking area developed by the City of St. George.
• Wamego: Hwy 99 bridge
• Belvue: Shoeman Rd. bridge (steep bank climb)
Kansas River Highlights
The Junction City to Ogden leg is very scenic and passes through Fort Riley. For a fun detour, you can stop upstream and hike in to the First Territorial Capital museum.
The Ogden to Manhattan stretch is also beautiful, cutting through the Flint Hills. There is great camping here as well as on to St. George.