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Ponca City Information

Ponca City Attractions

Kaw Lake - View

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Early morning . . . the fog hugs the lake like a foot of see-through snow, swirling and rising to create eerie figures as it dances on its way. You can touch the stillness. The only sound is the occasional "plop" as your lure finds the water.

Suddenly the sun breaks over the horizon, turning the world from a monotone gray into a riot of pinks, purples, yellows and oranges. Another day begins on Kaw Lake.

The view from Kaw Lake, with its 168 miles of virtually unimproved shoreline, is an endless portrayal of nature's bounty. Does and their fawns drink at the water's edge, eyes and ears alert at the sound of a passing boat. Bobcats skulk the cliffs seeking mice or the occasional vole.

Armadillos, opossum and raccoons parade with babies in tow as they hurry from one place of safety to another.

The shores beckon with brilliant wildflowers in spring . . . the majesty of mature, fully-greened trees in summer . . . the turning leaves in fall and stark, leafless tree lines in winter. Kaw Lake is a place of great beauty.

And great fun! On summer days the stillness is broken by the roar of jet skis, party barges and speedboats, not to mention the shrill cries of delighted children flying along on inner tubes. The swimming beaches team with wildlife of the human variety as family members and friends savor the cool water and soak up the sun.

Natures Playground 

Kaw Lake's beauty is like a beacon, urging you to come romp and play in nature's playground. Here you won't find wall-to-wall houses, you'll find well-designed public campgrounds tucked into the many coves and inlets. You won't find traffic jams or hear screeching tires, but you will find roads that take you where you need to go and trails for hiking, horseback riding and mountain biking.

You won't find polluted air or acres of parking lots, but you will find clean fresh air, sparkling water, the earth beneath your feet and a clear sky--give or take a cloud or two--above your head.

For those who hunt and fish, Kaw Lake is a gold mine of opportunity. More than 20,000 acres of land in Oklahoma and Kansas, owned by the U.S. Corps of Engineers, surrounds Kaw Lake and is open to hunters. There is a hunting season for more than 23 different animals, from deer to nutria, and that's not counting doves, ducks, geese, sandhill cranes, coots and snipes.

The Lake, with its 17,500 acres, has several man-made fish attraction areas that are clearly marked on maps available at bait shops, restaurants and other stores throughout the area. Known for great hauls of giant catfish, Kaw Lake also has bass, crappie, walleye, striper and even a spoonbill or two.

Out and About

Just a short drive from Kaw Lake and you're there . . . at the Ponca City Herb Festival in June, at the Pawnee Bill Wild West Show in Pawnee during the summer, at the Tulips-A-Bloom Festival in Blackwell in April. Surrounding the Lake are numerous communities with special events, fine and fast dining, and great shopping opportunities including a bevy of antique stores.

A Few Facts and a Little History

Holding back the water is the dam on the south end of Kaw Lake. Finished in 1976, it is a part of the $1.2 billion flood control plan for the Arkansas River and is the northernmost lake-making dam on the River. Kaw Lake gets its name from the Kaws, a tribe of Native Americans that live around the north end of the lake. Other Native American tribes can be found in the area, including the Ponca, Osage, Tonkawa, Otoe-Missouria, and the Pawnee tribes. Pow-Wow's and other celebrations take place throughout the year and are open to the public and Here for You to Enjoy!

The Lake is for everyone. We hope you will come back again and again, to enjoy what Kaw Lake and the surrounding areas have to offer.