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John Day Lock and Dam, Lake Umatilla, KANSAS

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Camping Kansas John Day Lock and Dam, Lake Umatilla
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Most Recent John Day Lock and Dam, Lake Umatilla Camping Reviews
Desolate in winter

After driving the whole park, we settled on Kanza campground at a little loop near the lakefront. There are several campgrounds available for you to choose from, just make sure to watch the signs to make sure they have your type of camping available (ie rv, tent, etc.). There are fire pits. The rv hookup ones are really nice. There are a few nice ones scattered throughout the primitive, and some are just rock piles. Love the fact they have trash cans! A little sad but Understandably they have their bathrooms locked up (We visited on Jan 4th). They have a nice kids playground In this section, and a small beachfront as well. After driving around, we saw a few people fishing, one guy on a boat, and several cars driving through for what seemed like pleasure cruising. As the sun set, we seemed to be the only campers in the whole place! Our only complaints about the location is the scattered tree cover (windblock for fire-we solved by using our vehicle) and the bathroom situation. We would return in the future and recommend this for an easy spot for winter camping if you come prepared. Summer wise, it may be crowded based on the proximity of the camping spot layouts, but that just gives us a reason to come back. Happy Camping!

Rockin’ K

We stayed at Eagle Point as we don not have horses but this campground had the shower house that we used which was very clean and the water was actually hot! Very well maintained!

Eagle Point

Well maintained campground right on the water! Will defiantly return!

Very Nice But Noisy

This is a nice campground with pull-through spots, playground, nice washroom/showers. Some spots even have concrete patios with fire pits and grills. A few tiny cabins and a “glamping” tent. The only negative is that the sites are very close together and it is right off I-70 which is very noisy all night long.

Beautiful views with full hookups

Well kept, beautiful views with water/electric/sewer and only 4 pull through spots next to a few cabins so it’s quiet and not crowded. Rangers are helpful and friendly. Water is clean and clear. Great park! Full service marina and store on site with supplies, groceries, fun stuff.

Convenient and cheap

Located behind the activity center, level spots with water and 20/30/50 amp hookups, $15 per night. Can’t beat it and the views are pretty too. Dairy Queen and Grocery Store about a block away.

Now called RV Village on Vine

We arrived here after a grueling day battling the wind in our VW van. The new sign is very pretty but didn’t indicate where the park was. We walked into a chicken place looking for it and were told there was no one there and to call the number on the sign. We did and there was no answer and the person hadn’t set up voicemail so we couldn’t leave a message. We discovered a sign on the restroom with info. $30 a night place money in envelope and drop thru slot. The women’s room had 2 toilets but no stalls. One sink. The shower was very unappealing. The door opens with a code. We were finally able to reach someone who gave us the code. The men’s restroom on, according to my husband, was disgusting. The electric box did not work for a normal plug. I had a converter for a large RV plug that did work. The grassy area is pretty but hazardous with children’s toys and pipes etc. strewn about. We had site #10 which had some shade. The website for this place shows pictures that are false, not reality. For a last ditch stop sure, stay here. Otherwise, I wouldn’t recommend it.

Wonderful Facilities

Very nice laundry room and bathroom facilities! Standard tent camping site. Nice staff - check out the postcards in the office!

Options For Every Camper

When traveling to Kansas there are 26 state parks to visit.     It might be a bit difficult to decide which you would like to consider for your outing however I would like to encourage you to give Wilson Lake State Park a thought.    There are several reasons which you might find appealing however one of the most impressive I have found is the sheer amount of camping you can find featuring a variety of options.

Wilson's Lake State Park has everything from primitive camping to Cabins and everything in between.   There are sites designed for RVs both small and large offering everything from standard electric to full connections.    With 240 sites on location this can quickly be considered as one of the best camping of this area.

Lake views are accessible from almost every campsite at the Park with up close and personal access in several of the loops.     Prices vary from Primitive to Improved sites  from $13 to $26.   

I found that while some of the loops provided more primitive restroom accommodations others had very nice flush toilets and showers.   There is a playground central to the park and several areas which you can launch smaller vessels such as canoes or kayaks and a larger boat ramp.

I checked out the various loops while visiting and found that many of the loops were semi even and provided various levels of shade to help you even on the hottest of days.   When I visited there had been a lot of recent rains which elevated the lake levels and lessened the beach access dramatically however typically there is a very nice beach area near two of the camping loops.

The outdoor space of the park has been a point of focus and the creation of a large bike trail was constructed to allow people to get out and enjoy the surroundings.    Many additionally, hike this path to see a bit more of the nature of the area which include deer, rabbits and foxes.

I really enjoyed my visit to the park.   Upon meeting the camp host I learned that the booking policy for the campground is very flexible and they do encourage you to make sure you try to book in advance during peak traffic season.

TIPS:   

  • Try to book in advance of 2 months for a cabin.   These spaces are very limited and often from June to September they are booked all weekends.
  • Bring your fishing pole.   There is a great access point for those wanting to fish from the shore before you get to the park entrance and another just after entering.
Most Coveted Campground of the State Park

Wilson’s Lake in Kansas is something of a departure from surrounding areas of Kansas. If you take a moment to pull just a slight distance off the major highways and toward the Wilson’s Lake area you will be pleasantly surprised as the world begins to roll and open up into vibrant hillsides winding their way though the area. 

I honestly stopped myself for a moment and checked the map thinking to myself in such a cliche way,“ We are not in Kansas anymore.”

 But just as the map proved, I was in fact still in the same state, I noticed more and more signs for Wilson’s Lake State Park and found it was a must see while visiting the area. 

The road winds you down to the park and down to what seems like a dead end just at the Yarrow Campground. This campground is one of the most coveted in the park because of its location, its convenience and its size.

When visiting Wilson Lake you might want to consider this loop for improved camping.   When I visited I noticed that the roadways in and out of the campsite were well structured to provide ample movement for larger units with back up capabilities.   While this loop also offers tent camping, it really is designed for the small to mid-size RVs.     

Each campsite was equipped with a picnic table and fire ring, although I must say that some of the tables in this area were lacking a bit and needed some updating.    The sites also included water and electric hook ups with reasonable spacing between sites.   Pull- in/ back-in sites were graveled and semi level while the area between the spaces were grassy and lush.    During summer months this would be a perfect retreat for families looking to have a little fun together but still have convenience.   

What I liked most about this particular site was the proximity it had to the swimming beach and also the restrooms.   Within 100 yards of one another you could access flushing toilets and showers or fun in the sun.     This was the best overall campground for accessing both of these amenities and therefore I believe would bring about the most fun for the family overall.   Additionally, a playground was located nearby.

I would definitely recommend arriving early if visiting on a weekend or making reservations online to ensure a site at this campground in particular.   The most popular of this lake region, Yarrow, stays booked well into the later portion of summer on weekends and is hit or miss on weekdays.

TIPS:

* Check out the rental shop just outside of the park where you can find anything from a paddle board to a canoe.   Also this is a great place to check in if you are needing a few last minute supplies.

* Make sure to check out park rules at the kiosk before entering, this can be very valuable information especially when crowds are flocking to the area.