Perry State Park is located in Ozawkie, Kansas, which is between Topeka and Lawrence, and situated along the southwest portion of Perry Lake. The park is home to several campgrounds within, all of which can accommodate those who prefer a primitive site or one with water and electric hookups. The park offers several hiking and biking trails with varying lengths, terrain, and degrees of difficulty, boating to include personal watercraft, equestrian activities, camping, and fishing. And with Topeka, the state’s capital, only a fifteen-minute drive away, an extended stay at what has been nicknamed “Paradise on the Plains” is a breeze.
After a quick stop at the entrance to snap a shot of the sign, we were excited to make our way through the park and to our campgrounds. Richey was excited too! He always seems to know when we’ve arrived at a place we’ll be calling home for a while. We had no idea what to expect on the ride in, or even once there, but were we in for a surprise!
We stayed at Rock Creek Park, one of the several camping grounds within the State Park and located at the south end of Perry Lake in the lush Kansas Forest. Not only was the twisting and bending, beautifully scenic, drive in wonderful, but we were pleasantly satisfied with the campgrounds as well. The ninety-nine spacious campsites at Rock Creek are surrounded by the blue waters of Perry Lake on one side and dense forest on the other. So, if you’re the type of person who prefers one just a little more, all you have to do is turn around. There really is something for everyone. We landed a spot on the lake, next to a tree, and setup camp for the next several weeks. We knew right away exploring this place was going to be fun! And the best part is… it only cost us $10.00 per night for our site with a view (and hookups) because we used our Access Pass which gives us half-off of Army Corps of Engineers campgrounds. Otherwise, it would have cost $20.00 per night. For those who are not aware of this pass, please visit the home page of our website (on the side bar under “Links”) for additional information on this pass and others. We’ve used our Access Pass several times already and it has saved us hundreds of dollars.
We Also had a view of the Perry Dam from our campsite. The drive across it is both a little scary, with its narrow and unmarked two-way road, and breathtaking. With nothing but water and peninsulas on one side and green and yellow plains on the other, there isn’t enough drive-time across it to take it all in. And capturing it with a camera is impossible since there’s no stopping until you’ve reached the other side. There is a lookout point on the same side of Rock Creek Park, but it doesn’t help capture the scenery only observed half-way across. We were forced to take some of our pictures through an open window of our moving vehicle.
All throughout Perry State Park, and even right from our own camping grounds, we saw boats floating down the lake, jet ski’s speeding across it, people in full-out hiking gear trekking along, and fisherman balancing on the smallest rock or narrowest section of a peninsula hoping to make the catch of the day. But one thing remained consistent through it all….the wildlife. It’s everywhere. We wish we could have photographed the many deer we spotted during our stay, but they tend to get spooked pretty easily which made it difficult for us to document our encounters. Sometimes, however, it’s better to just live in the moment instead of through the lens of a camera.
With the water and greenery, wildlife that call the park home, and all the two and four-legged visitors that pass through, Richey was just beside himself with all the scents and sights to take in. His little nose was working overtime. And although I’m sure there isn’t a square inch of the park he failed to sniff, he still found time to take in a view or two with his Mommy. He had a great time.
Although we didn’t know it at the time, we would be in for some of the best sunrises and sunsets we’ve seen since hitting the road. Now if we could just get better and photographing them. Trust me, they were gorgeous!
We got to catch a few of these, too!
Perry State Park isn’t just beautiful, it also has a lot to offer. Even if you don’t partake in everything, you will certainly get to observe it. Although it was never overly crowded while we were there (that’s a good thing), the weekends were a different story so reservations are highly recommended. We would definitely return to Perry State Park and stay at Rock Creek again or any one of the other campgrounds. Besides, there’s still a lot of the area we didn’t get to explore even after being there for several weeks.
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