Free Outdoor Family Fun in Garnett, KS

There is typically 2 kinds of camping families. The hardcore campers that roll in with everything but the kitchen sink packed and organized. The last minute campers who throw beer and hot dogs in the cooler and grab the tent that may or may not have been repacked with all the pieces. If you are either type of those campers you will love Cedar Valley Reservoir. It is about 7 miles from Garnett, KS so you are close enough to civilization in case you forgot to pack the ketchup or need emergency medical attention after nearly hacking your finger off with a pocket knife. One of the great things about the reservoir is that you can be about as social as you want to be. There is plenty of camping spaces and recreational areas. Campers can enjoy the peace and quiet of nature without the sound of loud music and drunken shenanigans that you could experience at some of the more popular lake campsites.

thumbnail (7).jpg

We spent many weekends this last summer and fall at the reservoir kayaking, hiking, and camping. The best time to kayak on the lake is early morning and late afternoon when the water is the calmest. Our favorite spot to put the kayaks in the water is circled in the map below. Once you put in on the boat ramp head southeast toward the bottom of the lake. After a little paddling you will find yourself in a scenic little creek (Disclaimer-once you reach the creek it is private property on both sides so exit your kayak/canoe at your own risk). Depending on the water level you can paddle a couple of miles down the creek before you reach an impassable area full of downed trees. The local wildlife includes a couple herds of cattle getting a drink in the creek and a family of bald eagles with a giant nest in a creek side tree.

thumbnail (10).jpg
thumbnail (8).jpg

Kayaking on the dam side of the reservoir has its own beauty. I recommend putting your kayak/canoe in at a camping area instead of trying to scramble down the rocks of the dam.

thumbnail (13).jpg


Cedar Valley has electric RV hookups and tent/no utility camping available without reservations on a first come, first serve basis. There are porta potties available in the large camping areas. There are ATV trails around the lake that require a city permit to ride on but the fee is very reasonable and easily obtained.

thumbnail (16).jpg
thumbnail (15).jpg
thumbnail (20).jpg
thumbnail (17).jpg

If you are looking for a quiet out of the way spot to spend a day relaxing in the outdoors I would highly recommend Cedar Valley Reservoir. It is perfect for some free outdoor family fun.

Where are you and your family going for your next outdoor adventure?

For more detailed information on the reservoir visit the city of Garnett’s website: