El Dorado Lake State park is located in Bulter County. The equestrian area (Camping area #1 of Boulder Bluff) is located on the West side of the reservoir. There are restrooms in this campground and there is a shower building in area #2. There are several campsites in this area that are level and easy to back into, each has a picnic table, cook out, and two tie poles for tying horses to or setting up a picket line between them. About half the sites are on the water and there are water hydrants spread out around the two loops.
The trail winds through the prairie grass of the camp and down around toward the dam. There are a few road crossing (that were well marked) and a section of the trail travels close to the train tracks. We set up a portable electric pen for the horses. The terrain is very easy, not hilly at all and horse shoes are not required.
Update 6/4/02: Highs in the 90's found us on our way to the Lake with the horses. We loaded up all four horses and headed down to El Dorado. The overnight camping fee has gone up, I've changed the information below to reflect the $6.50 fee. We were the only "horse" campers in the camp area, that's not to say this area is reserved. It was very full of all manner of campers, some with jet-skis and one guy brought along his "pet" chickens, we figured they'd end up in the supper pot but they were still pecking around his camp when we were leaving Sunday. We talked briefly with a man who lives in El Dorado and was interested in finding a "trail" to ride from Gardner to the State Line, he wants to ride the Santa Fe trail route, figures it'll take him 18 days at 35 miles a day, WOW! We weren't able to offer him much, even though we live in Olathe, I wouldn't ride along side the road, nothing against the horses, it's the drivers you have to worry about. There are pictures from two years ago, we forgot the camera this last trip, but trust me, we'll be back.
Update 7/17/00: Just back from a great weekend at this park. We went on a night ride here Saturday, it was great, there was a full moon to help light the way and aside from getting the horses used to the trains which pass fairly close to one section of the trail, we had a great ride. Saturday afternoon we spent about three hours in the water with the horses, first time we've done this with them and they seemed to enjoy it. There were boats and jet skiers but most slowed down to watch us and were slow about getting going so as not to scare the horses, but it is something to think about. Sunday morning we were back in the water prior to breaking camp, it felt good on a 97 degree day to cool off before going home. Check back, I'll be posting pictures here soon.
Update 4/20/00: We camped and rode this past weekend and the weather could have been better, it was very windy and rained most of the night. We found ourselves the sole occupants of this very big camp area but we still enjoyed the ride. The trail head departs the campground up near the entrance off the paved road and travels down near the water, then up to the road, crosses and travels beside the RR tracks, then loops down by the dam. We rode all around the camp area, might as well check it out on horseback. We will go back to this park, maybe in the summer months so we can take the horses into the lake.
From I35 Highway (Kansas Turnpike) turn south onto 77 Highway (El Dorado North exit). The State Park entrance is the first left. Turn left after the RR tracks at the stop sign. The camp gate collects vehicle fees (if you don't have a sticker), the camp host collects the overnight camping fee. Follow the signs for Boulder Bluff Area #1, it is the last camping area before the marina. The first loop has tie poles in each camp area.
Vehicle fee $4.00
Overnight Camping fee $6.50
(check out time is 12:00 except Sundays and Monday Holidays then it's 2:00)
We decided to purchase a yearly vehicle pass for $30, this can be used at all the State Parks on the one vehicle, a second vehicle pass can be obtained for $14.50 (that'll go on the new truck!)
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