Historic Lake Scott State Park and Wildlife Area near Scott City, Kansas is a surprising oasis nestled in the prairie of Western Kansas. From some directions, you can look across Ladder Creek Canyon from a few hundred feet away and see no hint of the 1100 acres of lush diversity. Descending into the canyon, you will discover Scott State Fishing Lake, natural springs, rocky bluffs, and groves of ash, cedar, elm, walnut, and willow trees.
The first residents of Ladder Creek Canyon were Native Americans. The pueblo, El Cuartelejo (Spanish spelling), was built in the in the 1600s by Taos Indians, and later occupied by members of other nations. El Cuartelejo is the only Indian pueblo that has been discovered in Kansas and the northern most pueblo in North America. The ruins of that pueblo can be visited at any time.
More recently, the Steele family built a simple home in the canyon in the 1890s. They lived in the area for 40 years and later built a 4 room house from local sandstone. The home has been preserved as a museum at Lake Scott State Park displaying home furnishings and tools used by early settlers.
In 1929 Ladder Creek Canyon was acquired by the State of Kansas, and the following year Ladder Creek was dammed, creating the 100 acre Scott Lake. Today Lake Scott State Park offers camping, fishing, canoe & paddle boat rentals, and trails for hiking & horseback riding, Hunting is permitted on the wildlife area adjacent to the park.
Historic Lake Scott State Park has 55 utility campsites, including some with electric service and water hookups. There are three modern shower buildings, 100 primitive campsites and several vault toilets. Daily camping is $7-10 depending on season and site. Utilities are extra.
In April 2017, the Kansas Sate Legislature changed the name of Lake Scott State Park to Historic Lake Scott State Park, recognizing El Cuartelejo and the nearby Battle Canyon,site of the Battle of Punished Woman's Fork.
Warning, cellular phone coverage may be unavailable in Historic Lake Scott State park and Wildlife Area. Pay phones are unavailable in the park.
copyright 2005-2017 by Keith Stokes