KAW 173

JC to KC on the Kansas River!

Kansas River paddle around St. George, Kansas

Update on Tuesday July 21, 2020:

A note about the recent rains and the Kaw 173 Public Paddles:

We’ve received quite a bit of rain in the watershed and the river will be rising. These conditions are not recommended for beginner and average paddlers. We recommend that only experienced paddlers enjoy the river in the current conditions.

Our Riverkeeper and Kaw River Guides complete river checks at flows up to 15,000 cfs. They are experienced paddlers and will continue their 173 journey as planned given the current data.

Our public paddle scheduled for Lecompton will currently go on as planned however we recommend that only experienced paddlers join us on this trip. Please note that this is an opportunity to paddle the river with us but we will not be offering guide service and we will not be slowing our pace. We hope that those of you who can, will join us. We will assess the other public paddle trips as more information becomes available. Thanks for following us on social media!

The Kansas River Water Trail is a 173-mile-long prairie river wild space. The Kansas River was designated as a water trail in 2012, only the second in the nation at the time. This Trail boasts 19 public boat ramps and sandbar camping is available to the public between the high water marks. No reservations or permits are required, just a fishing license if that’s your thing. There’s plenty of driftwood on the sandbars for your campfire, but don’t go up the banks – that would be trespassing! The Kansas River is one of the few wild places in Kansas and those sandbars are ours–they are public land!

So follow along starting on July 17, 2020, as a team from Friends of the Kaw embarks on a journey to paddle the entire 173-mile-long river to bring awareness to its  beauty and all that it has to offer. Your Kansas Riverkeeper, Dawn Buehler, will write a blog about what she sees and experiences along the way. Otters tracks? Deer? Coyotes? Catfish? Bald Eagles? We will see all of that wildlife and more!

And if  you are into paddling and have your own boat and gear you can join along at any one of these designated segments below. We would love to paddle with you and share our passion for the  Kansas River Water Trail! Don’t have a boat but want to chat about the trail? Join us for one of our Community Visits to celebrate  what this magnificent waterway  has to offer us right here in Kansas. Who needs to go to Missouri or Arkansas or any other state when we have this beauty right in our own backyard! Join Us. We want to hear from you!

PUBLIC PADDLES–Come join us along the trail at one of these locations. No RSVP is required–just show up, be completely self-sufficient, and join us as we paddle on the Kansas River Water Trail!

  • Saturday July 18, 2020: We will be passing the Ogden boat ramp around 9:30 A.M. Launch and join us on the paddle to the Manhattan 177 Ramp.
  • Sunday, July 19, 2020: We will stop at the St. George Boat Ramp and get refreshments at Willie’s Hideout. We will launch at 12:30 P.M. so join us to paddle to Wamego.
  • Thursday, July 23, 2020: We will be passing the Lecompton boat ramp around 8:30 A.M. Launch and join us on the paddle to Lawrence Riverfront Park.
  • Friday, July 24, 2020: We will pass the Eudora area around 10:00 A.M. We will not stop at the Eudora Ramp, so launch yourself from there on the Wakarusa which flows into the Kaw, and join us for a  paddle to DeSoto!
  • Friday, July 24, 2020: After a food stop at DeSoto, we will launch around 2:30 P.M. and paddle from DeSoto to Cedar Creek  Join us!

COMMUNITY VISITS–We will be showcasing communities along the Kansas River Water Trail so come and join us at the boat ramp when we arrive. We will be talking to local community members and leaders about how the Kansas River Water Trail is a part of your community!

  • Friday, July 17, 2020: Launching on the Kansas River Water Trail in Junction City at 4:30 P.M. for a Community Visit and Send-Off!
  • Saturday, July 18, 2020: Arrive at Manhattan 177 Boat Ramp at 2:30 P.M. for a Community Visit.
  • Sunday, July 19, 2020: Arrive at St. George Boat Ramp at 11:30 A.M. for a Community Visit and Refreshments at Willie’s Hideout.
  • Wednesday, July 22, 2020: Arrive at Kaw State Park Boat Ramp in Topeka at 8:30 A.M. for a Community Visit.
  • Thursday, July 23, 2020: Arrive at Lawrence 8th Street Ramp at 12:30 P.M. for a Community Visit.
  • Friday, July 24, 2020: Arrive at DeSoto Boat Ramp at 1:30 PM for a Community Visit.
  • Saturday, July 25, 2020: Arrive at Kaw Point Park in Kansas City, Kansas at 3:30 P.M. for a quick toast!

NOTE: Dates and  times are estimated and may be shifted due to weather or unforeseen circumstances. Please wear a life jacket on the Public Paddles.  Please wear a MASK on the boat ramp.

Friends of the Kaw will be taking photos, video and drone footage of all events of the KAW 173 Journey and as such may use them in any or all of our publications.