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Ponca City Information

Ponca City Attractions

Kaw Lake

The Ponca City Information website is not affiliated nor associated with the City of Ponca City, the website is provided by the Ponca City Publishing Company, Inc. as an information website for Ponca City, Oklahoma.


Kaw Lake is the best Recreation paradise awaiting your discovery. The 11,000-foot long dam and spillway rise 121 feet above the riverbed, creating a 38-mile long lake with more than 170 miles of shoreline encompassing over 16,000 acres. Located in north-central Oklahoma, Kaw Lake reckons you with boating, skiing, hunting and fishing, picnicking, and camping opportunities. A Corps of Engineers lake, Kaw Lake’s beauty is like a beacon urging you to romp and play in nature’s playground.

You’ll find well-designed public campgrounds tucked into the many coves and inlets; trails for hiking, horseback riding and mountain biking; clean, fresh air, sparkling water; the earth beneath your feet and a clear sky – give or take a cloud or two – above your head. It’s an ideal vantage point to view nesting eagles in winter, enjoy fishing in the spring and summer, and take in the crisp, cool air while hunting in the fall.

Kaw Lake and the Arkansas River have long been known for great hauls of catfish. Kaw Lake also has bass, crappie, walleye, stripers and even a spoonbill or two. There are seven public use areas and 13 boat ramps located around the lake for visitors to enjoy. Campers can select from 268 family campsites, many of which are equipped with water and electric hookups. Groups of all types can enjoy two group areas at the Osage Cove Public Use Area.

Are spectacular sights something you savor? Whether you are drawn to the breathtaking majesty of the soaring bald eagles that make their winter home on Kaw Lake or the bounteous array of color offered by the assortment of dazzling wildflowers of spring, whether your special pleasure lies in basking on the shoreline amidst an awe-inspiring sunset on a summer's evening or in observing the incomparable, ever-changing colors proudly worn by numerous varieties of trees in fall--Kaw Lake has these vistas and more! You say you want action? Try the breezy waters for sailing or hone your skills in water-skiing and jet-skiing. Motor along the shoreline in a speedboat, discovering the many coves and inlets around the lake. Hike, bike, or horseback ride the various trails that surround the 168 miles of shoreline. Bait a hook and catch a variety of species; Kaw Lake offers some of the best catfishing in the state. Hunt the vast acreage set aside for the various game and wildlife seasons. Venture out into the surrounding area to discover the refreshing fun of a waterpark; shoot a round of golf on one of the area's fine courses; visit the museums and antique shops; attend one of the many area festivals; learn about native American customs. No matter what the season, there's something to see or do at or around Kaw Lake.

We have just scratched the surface about what awaits you upon your arrival at Kaw Lake. Check other parts of this site for specific information about these and other events and activities. Most of all, allow yourself to discover why season after season, there's always a reason to visit Kaw Lake.

A Little History Lesson

As part of the $1.2 billion control plan for the Arkansas in Oklahoma and Arkansas, Kaw Lake was finished in 1976. Flood protection for the Ponca City area is achieved through the operation of the Kaw Dam and Lake; it is estimated that $12,121,000 in flood damage has been prevented thus far.

A Little More History--Native American Style

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.

Powwows and other celebrations take place throughout the year and are open to the public. (Consult the Calendar of Events for specific dates.) Adherence to age-old traditions and respect for the sacred nature of the events are expected. 

Kaw Lake Celebrations

For summer fun, Kaw Lake hosts a couple of festivals. During the second weekend of July, gear up for the Kaw-Fest. Held around the south end of the lake, the festival offers every kind of water sport and lake-related activity imaginable. Fisherman will be delighted with the Big Bass Tournament Youngsters will be entertained with the sand sculpture contest. In addition there will be live music near the beach. Let's not forget the great food All in all, it's a great time in beautiful surroundings!

In addition, when you might be just about ready for wintry inspiration, Kaw Lake presents Christmas in July. This exciting day-long event takes place during the 4th of July weekend and features a water parade of decorated boats followed by spectacular fireworks.