Hillsdale State Park

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Hillsdale Reservoir Fishing Information
Hillsdale Wildlife Area

Located between Spring Hill and Paola, about 3 miles east of US-169/K-7and 255th St interchange

Conveniently located south of the Kansas City Metro Area, one of Kansas’ newest reservoirs awaits visitors to its more than 12,000 acres of park and wildlife area. Completed in 1982, more than 70 percent of the standing timber was left in the reservoir basin to provide fish habitat. Walleye, catfish, largemouth bass, crappie, and bluegill are abundant. Approximately 4,500 acres of water and 51 miles of shoreline are open to fishing. Roughly 7,000 acres are open to hunting at Hillsdale within the wildlife area and state park.

Common wildlife includes whitetail deer, bobwhite quail, squirrel, rabbit, beaver, muskrat, and a variety of waterfowl. Birdwatchers will see bald eagles, shorebirds, finches, warblers, sparrows, and hawks.

The Saddle Ridge equestrian area on the east side of the reservoir has about 32 miles of marked trails available to horseback riders.

26001 W. 255th St.
Paola,KS    66071
Office Hours:
8am-4pm Monday through Friday


Park News - Updated: 09/14/2021



Open Monday through Friday 8:00am to 4:00pm

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Our swim beach is now closed for the season.

Scott Creek is closed until further notice, due to some utility upgrades.

Sunflower is open for reservations, Crappie Cove, Pintail Point and Rabbit Ridge are all walk up sites.

For duplicate Hunter Education certificates,  please visit:   https://www.kansas.gov/hunt_ed/

If you are interested in Hunter Education Classes, view the schedules from the following link:     https://ksoutdoors.com/Services/Education/Hunter/Class-Schedule

There is no additional charge for using the beach but all vehicles are required to have either a daily or an annual Kansas State Park vehicle permit.   In order to provide public safety, the following items or activities are not allowed within the developed beach areas: glass containers, open fires, pets, fishing, boats, alcohol/beer.

The shelters at the beach are not available for advanced reservation.  They are available on a first-come first-served basis.  There is no charge for using the beach shelters.

Go to www.reserveamerica.com to make your advanced reservations now! 



The archery range is open. Please review and follow the safety guidelines that are posted.

Shooting Range:

The Hillsdale Range Training Facility, is open to the public. The hours of operation will be posted at the Range and on the website www.hillsdalerange.org. Park vehicle permits are required. The range will have a 100 yd rifle range, a 50 yd pistol range, a trap/skeet range, and at a later date, a 200 yd range. For more information contact us at:  contactus@hillsdalerange.org or 913-594-1954.


Fishing is allowed on all 51 miles of shoreline and approximately 4,500 acres of surface water, except for developed beach areas and boat ramps. Special length limits may apply to some species. Please follow posted length and creel limits.

General Information
26001 W. 255th St.
Paola, KS    66071
Office Hours:
8am-4pm Monday through Friday

Hillsdale SP (PDF 289.04 kB)
Hillsdale SP Bluebird Trail (PDF 785.89 kB)



Hillsdale lake was completed in 1982, and Hillsdale State Park officially opened in 1994.

Hillsdale Areas

Scott Creek Campground

Rabbit Ridge Campground

Russel Crites
  • Camping Available: Yes
  • ADA Camping Available: Yes
  • Reservable Sites: Yes
  • Primitive Camping: 18
  • Water, Electric: 98
  • Click for more information

Saddle Ridge Campground
  • Camping Available: Yes
  • ADA Camping Available: No
  • Reservable Sites: Yes
  • Primitive Camping: 12
  • Water, Electric: 22
  • Click for more information

Youth & Scout Camp

Hillsdale Trails
ADA Hike/Bike Trail
  • Trail Season: Year-around
  • Length of Trail: 5 mile(s)
  • Trail Activities: Walking, Mt. Biking
  • There is camping located near the trail
  • There is a permit required on the trail
  • This trail is ADA accessible
  • Location of Start: N38 39.277 W94 55.514
  • Click for more information

    This trail winds around throughout the Jayhawk and Russel crites areas. Vehicle permits are required for entry.

Saddle Ridge Trails
  • Trail Season: Year-around
  • Length of Trail: 49 mile(s)
  • Trail Activities: Walking, Horse Riding, Mt. Biking
  • There is camping located near the trail
  • There is a permit required on the trail
  • Location of Start: N38 40.145 W94 53.649
  • Click for more information

    You can hike, bike, or many enjoy riding their horses starting at the Saddle Ridge Horse Camp area. You can observe native plants, the view of the lake in some places, and may even see some native wildlife. There are four different loops of trail systems: NW blue trail, SE red trail, SW red trail, and the Outlet blut loop. Vehicle permits are required for entry.

Hillsdale Calendar

    Email Hillsdale

    This form allows you to email Hillsdale State Park with any questions you might have about the State Park and its facilities. This includes season openings and closings, campsite reservations, special events, etc.

    Wildlife Viewing

    Travelers to Hillsdale Lake should stop at the visitor center at the northeast end of the dam. Many interpretive displays explain the lake's history, recreational opportunities, and natural resources. (If you are planning to visit the western parts of the lake, be sure to pick up a map because the roads can be confusing.) Behind the center, bird feeders attract resident sparrows, juncos, woodpeckers, and chickadees. The 1.5-mile Hidden Spring Nature Trail, which begins at the visitor center, takes hikers through an oak-hickory forest. Look for fox squirrels, white-tailed deer, woodland birds, and a couple of the most respected reptiles in eastern Kansas: the venomous timber rattlesnake and the copperhead. Flocks of ducks, geese, pelicans, and gulls are seen on the lake during migrations. Late November may bring large flocks of snow geese. At the bridge over Little Bull Creek, scan the flooded timber for wintering bald eagles. Throughout the year, look for cormorants, gulls, grebes, and ducks. A great blue heron nesting colony is visible to the west from the Rock Creek bridge. With binoculars and a spotting scope, approximately 50 large stick nests can be seen in the tallest sycamores growing from the creek bottom about 0.5 miles away. Both equestrians and hikers can enjoy the 24 mile horse trail east of the lake. (Caution: This is in a hunting area, so wear bright colors during hunting seasons).