Best Winter Weekend Getaway at Eisenhower State Park

By Ian-Spiegel Blum

Best Winter Weekend Getaway at Eisenhower State Park

With over 1,700 acres of land plus almost 7,000 acres of lake, the Eisenhower State Park offers endless winter weekend opportunities near Osage City, Kansas. Originally called Melvern State Park, the legislature renamed it to honor President Dwight Eisenhower in 1990. Today, it provides the perfect backdrop for families, couples, or anyone looking for a weekend away to experience the Kansas winter in all its splendor.

Stop in at Ike’s General Store

Located at Doud Campground, every visit to Eisenhower State Park should begin with a stop at Ike’s General Store. Not only can you pay your campground fees, but you can rent equipment, check out games, and pick up firewood. Anything you need, you can generally find.   

Choose from 186 campsites

Once you’ve paid your campground fees and stocked up on equipment at Ike’s General Store, take your pick from over 180 campsites. Choose from campsites with water, 37 with sewer hookups, 68 electric sites, and five shower houses, along with 15 equestrian campsites. If you’re in the mood for primitive camping, consider the Cowboy Campground.

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Hike the Crooked Knee Horse Trail

The Crooked Knee Horse Trail in Eisenhower Park is a 20-mile winding path through “the undeveloped west side of the park,” according to the official website. While it’s intended for equestrian riders, it is also open to on-foot hikers. Why not take it and see if you can spot a few horses along the way?

Go horseback riding on the Knee Horse Trail, or another of the many available

If you’re so inclined, bring along your horse or rent one nearby to enjoy the 25 miles of horse-friendly trails in the park. Various trail systems are marked with a blue, orange, or yellow connector. 

Work on your archery skills at the archery trail head at Five-Star Campground

The Five-Star Campground is just one of many in Eisenhower State Park, but archery lovers should note that it’s the best spot in the park to practice your skills. Weather permitting, winter archery can be one of the best ways to stay warm while working on your bow skills.

Go fishing at the Melvern Reservoir

Fish along the Melvern Reservoir for crappie, walleye, white bass, smallmouth bass, catfish, and more. You can check an update fishing report on their official website. GPS coordinates for those who would like an exact spot are as follows: N38 31.72 W95 44.70.

Go hunting around the Melvern Lake

Hunters along the Melvern Lake are subject to a variety of rules and regulations, including licensing and permits. Wildlife in the area includes waterfowl, white-tailed deer, wild turkey, and more. According to the official park website, “trapping which is allowed on the area can be a very successful venture due to the wide array of furbearer habitats.” 

Visit the Osage County Historical Society

Learn more about the surrounding area by making time to visit the Osage County Historical Society Museum. The museum has exhibits arranged to provide viewers with insights into the background and culture of the people of the city, particularly coal miners, railroading, and farmers. 

Visit the Glaciers Edge Winery

A short half hour drive away, the Glaciers Edge Winery provides an excellent spot to enjoy the wintery landscape while sipping on local wine before dinner. They have a fully equipped kitchen and state of the art audio visual system. Check their website for upcoming events.

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Dine like a local at Banjo’s Café

Head ten minutes down the road from Glaciers Edge Winery to Banjo Café in Topeka, Kansas. Finish off the weekend with a warm meal full of comfort served in a friendly atmosphere. Choose from dishes such as biscuits and gravy, meatloaf, and more.

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