River Mile 87 – Topeka Water Plant Weir

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Topeka Water Plant Weir
Topeka, KS

River Mile: 87.6

GPS:  N39.07396  W95.71606

River Left

From I-70 take U.S. 75 north. Get off U.S. 75 at first exit north of the Kaw River. Go east 3 blocks to the industrial park complex and take first right turn. Drive to the southeast corner of the industrial park (look for the cell tower.)  Take the dirt road that goes south over the levee to the large parking lot and access area.

Access Info:
The Topeka water plant has a weir (a dam designed for water to flow over it) about 2/3 mile downstream from the U.S. 75 Bridge and boats MUST BE PORTAGED ON RIVER LEFT, THE NORTH BANK, to avoid the water notch on the right (south) bank. There are two wide concrete access ramps on the river, one above the dam and one below the dam, to make this portage easier.  There is also a concrete portage path between the ramps that is accessible at low water.

Float Info:
The next access is Seward Avenue Access 10.6 miles downstream at river mile 77.  If you float to Seward Avenue be aware of two old railroad bridges that were dropped into the water years ago at river mile 85.3 and 84.5.  Both bridges are near the newer operating railroad bridges. The old bridges are a hazard because of exposed steel, especially at low water.  Boaters should pass the bridges by staying close to the river right (south) bank. This trip is not recommended for novice paddlers due to the in-river hazards. The river travels through downtown Topeka under road and rail bridges, controlled by earthen levees. There is access to the Great Overland Station from the river, but boats must be carried over the levee. The river then leaves the city and winds into the countryside. There is an active sand dredge as you approach the Seward ramp.

The first access upstream is at Kaw River State Park at river mile 90. If you float here from Kaw, be aware of the hazards of this structure, especially at low water flows. (The Kaw River State Park page discusses this trip, it is not recommended for novice boaters.)

WEST RUNWAY LOOKING DOWNSTREAM boat ramp fire dept boat new 001