Visitor Information

Where can we swim?

There are two swim beaches.  On the southeast side of the lake, just east of the dam is the Sandy Swim Beach. Cost is $1 per person up to a maximum of $4 per vehicle. The Pioneer Cove Swim Beach, just east of Kaw City, is managed by the community. There is no charge for use of this swim beach.

Where do we go to see eagles?

In recent years they have been seen just east of Kaw City by the bridge, just off the boat ramp at Sarge Creek and off Hwy 11 north going to Washunga Bay.  They also can be seen soaring over the cemetery in Kaw City.

How can I tag my boat in Oklahoma?

You can tag your boat with any Oklahoma tag agency.  In the Ponca City area there is one at the Ponca Plaza Shopping Center, 14th and Hartford, and one east of the Arkansas River bridge on Hwy 60 in Osage County.

Where are some places to camp where we can fish from the bank?

Probably the best bank fishing is found in Osage Cove.  There is also a designated fishing dock at Osage Cove in the boat ramp area of the park and below the dam in the Arkansas River.

Where can we camp with and ride horses?

You can camp with horses at Sarge Creek and ride the trails from there.  Sites established for this purpose are numbers one through eight.

Where can we hunt?

You can hunt on specifically designated land around Kaw Lake.  For a hunting map of the area go online toTulsa District Corps of Engineers. For details and hunting restrictions go to

What does it cost to put a boat in the water and who do we pay?

If you are camping at one of the Corps campgrounds there is no charge. For day use it is $3 per day. 

Where can I rent a boat?

McFadden Cove Marina, just west of the dam at the south end of the lake, rents pontoon boats.  For information contact them at 580-765-0696.

How many marinas are there and where are they?

There are two marinas.  The McFadden Cove Marina is at the southwest end of the lake just off Lake Road and west of the dam. The Pioneer Cove Marina is just east of Kaw City.

Where can I go hiking?

The Eagle View Hiking Trail is the best place.  It is on the southeast end of the lake and starts around Osage Cove winding over to the Burbank Landing area.

Where can we tent camp?

You can tent camp at any Corps campsite.  If you prefer roughing it (primitive camping), we suggest the Coon Creek or Washunga Bay multi-use area.

Which sites are the shady ones?

Most of the campsites in Osage Cove, Sarge Creek, McFadden Cove and Sandy Park are heavily shaded.  We suggest you call the individual park’s gate houses or the Kaw Lake Office of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (580-762-5611) for questions about specific sites.

How do I make reservations and is it necessary to make reservations?

You can make reservations through the National Recreation Reservations Service (NRRS) which coordinates reservations for all Corps of Engineers manager properties.  Their toll-free number is 877-444-6777 or on line at It’s not necessary to make reservations but from Memorial Weekend through Labor Day, it is strongly recommended, especially on weekends or if you have specific dates and locations.  For holiday weekends, we suggest you call from three to six months in advance as all spaces are usually booked two to four weeks prior to the holiday weekend.

What is the age for and where do I buy a Golden Age Passport? What is the cost?

American the Beautiful replaced the Golden Age Passport.  You must be at least 62 years old and pay a one-time fee of $10.  It entitles the holder to a 50 percent discount on all camping fees at Kaw Lake as well as other corps lake campgrounds.  These may be purchased from any National Park Service, USDA Forest Service, Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, or Bureau of Reclamation park or office.

Are there group camp sites?

Yes, there are two at Osage Cove and one at Sarge Creek.  They may be reserved through the National Recreations Reservations Service (NRRS) just like the individual campsites.

Where are dump stations?

These are located at Coon Creek, Bear Creek, Osage Cove, Sarge Creek and Washunga Bay.

Are there any cabins?

The only cabins in the area are a few privately owned and the Camp McFadden multi-use recreational area.

How big is Kaw lake?

Kaw Lake has approximately 17,500 acres and 168 miles of shoreline.  More than 20,000 additional acres of Corps owned land surrounds the lake.

How far are you from Wichita? Oklahoma City? Tulsa?

Kaw Lake is about equi-distant from Wichita, Oklahoma City and Tulsa with about a 1 1/2 to 2 hour drive from each.  

Directions from Wichita:  Drive south on I-35 to exit 222 (Blackwell) which is Hwy 11.  Drive east to Hwy 77, turn right (south).  You then can drive just a short distance and pick up Hwy 11 again and go east to Coon Creek, Sarge Creek and Washunga Bay, all at the north end of the lake near Kaw City.  If you’re going to the south end of the lake, continue south on Hwy 77 into Ponca City.  When you come to Lake Rd. (Pioneer Woman statue on your left), turn left (east) and drive about ten miles to the lake for McFadden Cove, Osage Cove, or Sandy Park.

Directions from Oklahoma City:  Drive north on I-35 to exit 214 (Tonkawa) which is Hwy 60.  Drive east into Ponca City where Hwy 60 becomes South Ave.  Continue east on South Ave. to Hwy 77 (14th St.).  You can then either turn right and go back to Hwy 60 where you turn left and drive out to Osage Cove, or turn left and go north on 14th St. to the Pioneer Woman statue and follow above directions for the south end of the lake.  For the north end of the lake, follow the previous directions to Kaw City.

Directions from Tulsa:
 Drive west on the Cimarron Turnpike to the Ponca City (Hwy 177) exit.  Exit right and drive north to Hwy 60.  Then follow the above directions to the campground of your choice.

Where can we gather or cut firewood?

Firewood can be gathered from any downed timber in your campground.  To cut firewood contact Jim Anderson at the Corps office, 580-762-5611, ext. 17.

Can we shoot fireworks?

The shooting of fireworks on Corps land or within the city limits of most communities in the Kaw Lake area is prohibited.  We recommend you attend one of the many organized Fourth of July fireworks displays in area communities.

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May 25, 2017
1:42 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 for up to the minute facility closure on Kaw Lake, current flood gate settings and discharge.  

© 2008 Kaw Lake Association