Kaw River State Park
Forested trails and access to the Kansas (Kaw) River sets Kaw River State Park apart from other state parks. Hiking and mountain-biking trails wind through an extensive oak-hickory forest on steep slopes with good views. The park property presently consists of 76 acres of land on the south bank of the Kansas River in west Topeka, and it is adjacent to MacLennan Park and Cedar Crest (the Kansas Governor’s residence) to the east. The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism Region 2 Office is also adjacent to the park property. Additional property west of the Region Office building will also include public access for trails. Kaw River State Park is the only free state park in Kansas.
Trail usage includes walking, hiking, running, and mountain-biking. There is a wide range of trail types of various skill levels, and are designed and constructed for erosion protection, sustainability, and access. The park has both double-wide gravel surface trails and dirt-surface single-track trails.
The Kansas River is accessible from a boat ramp and parking area. This river access is available for canoes, kayaks, and other small craft. Two miles downstream is Portage Park, which provides a portage around the city water wier (low-head dam). Learn about river conditions and know your skill level and abilities before entering the water.
Some of the more remote areas of the park provide interesting natural features and views. Deer, turkey, and numerous other wildlife species are common in the surrounding forest. Eagles and various species of waterfowl are common visitors on the river through winter.
Welcome to Kaw River State Park
The Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks invites the public to attend the opening of Kansas' newest state park, the Kaw River State Park, on Saturday, Sept. 4. The celebration will begin at 8 a.m. with the "Race for the Kaw," a 4-mile walk/run sponsored by the Topeka Sunflower Striders. All proceeds will benefit Let’s Help, an organization that helps families struggling with poverty.
At 10:30 a.m., Gov. Mark Parkinson and his wife Stacy will address visitors and then dedicate the Kaw River Access Road at 11:30 a.m. This will be followed by dedication of the Kaw River boat ramp and a canoe flotilla on the Kansas River.
Visitors may participate by renting canoes for $25. To reserve a canoe, phone Friends of the Kaw at 913-963-3460.
For more information about the dedication, phone KDWP at 785-273-6740.
- Hours 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.
- All pets must be on leash
- No ground fires
- No motorized vehicles off road or on trails
- Alcoholic beverages prohibited
- No camping or overnight use
- No equestrian use
Kaw River is Kansas’ newest state park and is the only urban type park in the state park system. The property was acquired by donation in 2005 and the park officially opened to public use on September 4, 2010.