Scott State Park located long Lake Scott in beautiful Ladder Creek Canyon is one of Kansas’ biggest tourist attractions. It is listed in the National Geographic Traveler as being among the top fifty state parks in the entire United States of America. Being so close to the waterways, this makes the park a popular destination for tourists and fishermen alike. It can be reached by car quite easily. From U.S. 83, visitors can travel approximately 10 miles north to the junction with K-95 which should be taken, and where the park is located 3 miles north.
There are a great variety of things to see and do here, as the area is home to many different species of flora and fauna indigenous to the landscape. The park is approximately 1120 acres in size, carved out of a canyon over the years by the Ladder Creek. For wildlife observers, this is one of the top 50 favorite natural sites in the country. The sparkling waters of Big Springs and Barrel Springs have provided the life giving liquid to the ecosystem existing here for well over 1000 years. The cool water flows at an astounding rate of 400 gallons per minute and is home to Rainbow Trout which was introduced to the area a while back.
Many different species of wildlife call this park home, including white-tailed and mule deer. There are also numerous beaver dams that litter Ladder Creek. Turkey vultures, wild turkey and many different types of ground squirrels are also spotted frequently. In addition, black-headed grosbeaks, Lazuli buntings and nesting rock wrens also are attracted to the rock formations afforded by the canyon walls. And lovers of reptiles will be glad to know that there are many different types of this genus on site as well.
For history buffs, there is also the El Cuartelejo ruins which are the remnants of the only known Indian pueblo in the state of Kansas. First built by the Taos Indians in the 1600s, and then later used by the Picuris, the site has become a destination spot for scholars interested in learning about the early Native American culture. Each of the tribes that lived here made great use of the natural springs which were close by. For military mavens, along Beaver Creek, there is also the site of the last battle fought by U.S. Cavalry against the Northern Cheyenne who were fleeing from a reservation in Oklahoma.
This area is also home to an endangered species – the Scott Riffle Beetle, a very tiny insect that makes its home in the springs which feed the lake. The Beetle is found nowhere else in the world, which means that the study of this species can only be done here, and so this area is protected by the United States government.
There are a number of recreational activities that visitors can enjoy as well since the large number of waterways meander through this property make this type of pastime easily accessible. For water lovers, swimming, sunbathing and boating can be enjoyed at this idyllic spot. There is a boat ramp for water craft owners to launch their vessel onto Scott lake and a canoe and paddle boat rental as well.
There are two hundred and thirty campsites available to be rented at Scott State Park, with 55 of them having utility hook ups, and 175 being the primitive variety where tourists can savor the pleasure of “roughing it” in the wild. With modern amenities also being offered such as water and showers, this can make a great experience for families trying to attempt to live as the settlers did in the past.
Nature lovers will have fun on the Big Springs Nature Trails which forms a quarter mile loop, the Lake Scott Hike or the Bridle & Mountain Bike Trail which encompasses a complete path around the lake for hiking or biking fans. No matter what type of interest or exercise is desired, there is something at this place for everyone. It doesn’t matter the age or income level either, Lake Scott State Park is the destination of choice for tourists and visitors from everywhere in the United States.
For more information, prospective visitors to the area can contact the Kansas Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks at (620) 872-2061.