Waconda Lake, also known as Glen Elder Reservoir, is an artificial lake, offering some of the most spectacular sunsets in the country. It is one of the most popular outdoor destinations in the state of Kansas.
Geography and History of the Dam
Glen Elder Reservoir and State Park are located in north-central Kansas in the valley of the Solomon River, East of Cawker City and 19 kilometers West of Beloit. The dam was constructed between 1963 and 1969, which resulted in Waconda Lake, encompassing both forks of Solomon River. It was built by the Bureau of Reclamations in Osborne and Mitchell counties. An interesting fact is that one can see for many kilometers from the reservoir in all directions.
By functioning together with other basin reservoirs in the area, Waconda Reservoir works productively, providing effective flood control on the Kansas and lower Smokey Hill rivers. The dam complex, through its earth-fill dam, embankment, dike and spillway, serve 85 km2 of surrounding lands with irrigation, water supply, recreation, as well as fish and wildlife conservation.
Tourism and Leisure Activities
Waconda Lake is considered one of the best fishing lakes in Kansas, offering a wide variety including striped bass, white bass, largemouth bass, walleye and crappie. The prime fishing spots are near the dam, the bluffs, the granite creek and the river. Glen Elder State Park organizes a number of fishing tournaments throughout the year.
The park’s many campgrounds offer many accommodation sites to visitors, with electrical hook-ups, showers, designated picnic areas, a marina, plenty of boat ramps and rentals, and many nature trails for hikers. A unique attraction for kids is the prairie dog area.
Cawker City Park is home to a 9-hole artificial golf course, with an additional 9-hole course open for professionals only. The Osage area has plenty of sand volleyball courts, swimming beaches, and modern, handicap-accessible fish cleaning stations.