NThe Dyrt PRO User
Reviewed Aug. 26, 2021

Day Use Area

This is a Day Use Area located on the Big Hill Lake outside of Cherryvale, Kansas and set in the Gently rolling prairie with a large scattering of trees. The area considers itself as Kansas “Little Ozarks.” It is a beautifully serene setting dotted with campgrounds and day use areas. The Big Hill Lake is a reservoir and holds 1,240 acres of water with 367 acres available for use by the public. FEES  $40.00  Group site electric  There are three reservable shelters set along the water.  Each can accommodate 100 people at a time.  The area has drinking water and flush toilets.

DATES April 1 - October 31  Other amenities include drinking water, restrooms, a playground. The park is nestled in the rolling, wooded countryside with thick oak-hickory forests surrounded by prairie and farmland, the lake shore supplies a variety of habitats for birds and mammals. Cherryvale Park offers a relaxing atmosphere with plenty of trees for shade, and the lake is only a short walk.  Visitors can venture onto several hiking and equestrian trails including Big Hill Lake Horse Trail, a 17-mile trail with a variety of terrain for all ages to explore. The trail winds along a scenic hardwood ridge that offers gorgeous views all along the way. Big Hill Lake is known as a trophy lake for fishing. Principal species of sport fish include largemouth bass, crappie, channel and flathead catfish, bluegill, walleye and smallmouth bass. The lake is also popular for fishing tournaments. Almost all of the land around the lake is open to public hunting, except for parks and areas around the dam and control structures. Principal species hunted are whitetail deer, turkey and squirrel. Families with kids will enjoy visiting the sand-covered beach nearby for cooling off from the summer heat and enjoying a picnic. Directions Latitude 37° 16' 9.9998" N Longitude 95° 27' 29.9999" W  From Highway 169 in Cherryvale, Kansas, turn east onto Main Street. Continue through the town and turn right onto Olive Street. After half a block turn left onto County Route 5000. Continue 4.5 miles to the lake and follow signs to the park. Need to Know• Alcoholic beverages are prohibited within the Mound Valley Swimming Beach Area• Flush toilets and showers are closed outside of the reservation season, however vault toilets are available in the north loop• Don't Move Firewood: Protect your forests from tree-killing pests by buying your firewood locally and burning it on-site. Visit for further information. Contact Information Mailing Address 19065 CHERRYVALE PKWY CHERRYVALE, KS 67335-0426  Upon arrival at Big Hill Lake a visitor may choose from a plethora of fun activities. Camping with and without electricity, boat launches, ball field, swimming beach and so much more. For trails you will find the Big Hill Lake Horse Trail which surrounds¾ of the lake and is 17 miles long. It provides a variety of terrain for all ages. The trail provides amazing views and riders will enjoy tethering areas and three parking areas along the trail. The parking areas are equipped with limited facilities that can be used for overnight camping by the trail riders. Riders will have the opportunity for wildlife viewing. For those that wish to hike you will find the Ruth Nixon Memorial Trail. The trail enjoys blue bird houses that were set in honor or Ruth Nixon. It is about one mile and offers the hikers the chance to observe local wildlife. The scenery along the way is spectacular. This trail links the Overlook Day Use Area and Cherryvale Recreation Area. There are rest areas along the way so take advantage of those inviting stops to enjoy the lake views and just take in the scenery. Big Hill Lake is one of the clearest lakes in Kansas and considered a trophy fishing lake. Sport fish include largemouth and smallmouth bass, crappie, channel and flathead catfish, bluegill, walleye and sunfish. Hunters will find about 800 acres of project land that is managed for wildlife. Game species are large and varied around Big Hill Lake. Hunters will find bob white quail, rabbit, grey and fox squirrels, mourning dove, migratory waterfowl, wild turkey and white tailed deer. Hunters may also utilize another 1350 acres of land located about½ mile from the project. Wildflowers are in abundance in the spring and fall along with the beautiful trees such as persimmon, osage orange, redbud and dogwood. Swimming on the sandy beaches along the lake is a joy. Alcohol is not allowed on the beach area. Glass containers are also not allowed on the beach or in the water. Boats that are propelled by a motor of any kind or a sailboat must be numbered and registered with the state of Kansas or legally registered with another state. The Cherryvale area present day is a farming/ranching rural area with Friday night football the big excitement. In the 19th century Kansas was a bloody place. Before the “Civil War” you would have different groups battling for control. After the civil war the pioneers began their westward journey through the many trails that crossed the plains. In 1870 a group of five families settled in western Labette County. Cherryvale had not been established. This group stands out because of one particular family. The Bender family, a normal– mother– father– son– daughter from Germany. John Bender, Sr., his wife Ma Bender, son John, Jr. and daughter Kate. Now I am not going to get involved in their story but I will touch on some of the highlights and let you know the story includes an inn, a store, a hammer, a trap door, lonely single male travelers, haunted property and the only place where a mass murder is celebrated by a state historical marker. Google the Bender family in Kansas and enjoy a bit of the old west.


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