Kaw City


The Heart of Kaw Lake” is used to describe Kaw City, located on a peninsula next to Pioneer Cove which juts out into the middle of Kaw Lake.

Founded in 1902 prior to statehood, old Kaw City was overcome by a flood in 1923, and then devastated again by the Great Depression. The townspeople survived those two upheavals, settled down for some quiet living, and then went underwater again in 1976. That was when the gates of the Kaw Dam closed and turned that particular area of the Arkansas River into the Lake that we know today.

Kaw City was moved to its present location, along with the Kaw City Museum, which is housed in the old Santa Fe Railroad Depot. The townspeople really cherish this building, and have upheld it as a symbol of their rise above hard times. The Kaw City Museum houses many artifacts from the area. From the equipment of a beauty parlor, circa 1930, to a homemade bed frame, history is preserved at the Kaw City Museum.

A second museum, the Kanza Museum, also in Kaw City, emphasizes the nearby Kaw Nation and its heritage and history, and is owned by the Kaw Nation. Bronzes of Kaw tribal members are displayed along with many Kaw specific photographs that document the history and activities of the Kaw Indian people.

Just to the west of town a metal sculpture, South Wind, overlooks the area. This is a joint project of the City of Kaw City and the Kaw Nation.

This cozy community of about 370 people is the closest town to Kaw Lake, and provides many of the amenities and services for campers and water enthusiasts. It boasts a marina, restaurants, convenience store and laundry, sandy beach, park, and a playground. There are both privately-owned campsites, RV parks and cabins in town, and more campsites at Sarge Creek Cove and other areas around the lake. Boat storage facilities make it easier for boater to keep their craft close to the water year ‘round.

Kaw City has events sprinkled throughout the year, beginning in January with the annual Eagle Watch on the third Saturday of the month. Check out these links for videos from the 2010 Eagle Watch:



There are guided bus tours leaving the Community Center and presentations on the beautiful eagles that can be seen in the area. On Memorial Day weekend, at the end of May, the community gets together for their annual Kaw City Reunion at the Kaw City Museum. Christmas in July is a fun time for the whole family that centers around the lake with different activities going on such as fireworks and boat and motorcycle Poker Runs. On the first weekend of August, the Kaw Nation Pow Wow is held at Washunga Bay. The beautiful traditions of the Kaw Nation are displayed by the colorful dress and intriguing dances.

Visitors can take pleasure in boating, RVing, cycling, water-skiing, fishing, hunting, wildlife watching, picnicking, jet-skiing, swimming, and just some plain ol’ laid back living.

Becoming increasingly known as a great place to retire, Kaw City is a wonderful place to live…and to visit!

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May 25, 2017
1:49 am US/Central


55º F

Current Conditions:

Thu - Sunny, High: 82
Fri - Thunderstorms, High: 86

High Water

As of 17 May, the Kaw Lake level is just above 25 feet above normal at the 1035 elevation and the lake level is falling.  Most of the campgrounds and boat ramps are closed and unavailable for public use due to the high lake levels.  If you have campsite reservations or were planning on coming to Kaw Lake in the near future we suggest you log on to the Corps of Engineers website at www.swt.usace.army.mil for up to the minute facility closure on Kaw Lake, current flood gate settings and discharge.  

© 2008 Kaw Lake Association