Park & Recreation River Recreation
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River Recreation

​Wichita Park & Recreation is activating the river with exciting river adventures and a whole new way to experience downtown Wichita! We offer a variety of ways to kayak on the river and at Watson Park from leisurely rentals to river tours.

River Status

Based on high and low tides, plus the flow rate, some days the river may be closed to public use for safety.

OPEN

River Status

Based on high and low tides, plus the flow rate, some days the river may be closed to public use for safety.

CLOSED

Kayak Rentals

Receive basic instruction on kayak paddling techniques and safety. Then, you're off for a leisurely float. Available on a first come, first serve basis. Waivers must be signed. Pre-registration not available.

Watson Park

3022 S McLean Blvd.
During regular business hours
Kayak rental: $10/hour

Gander Mountain Dock

Coming Soon!

605 S Wichita St
Kayak rental: $10/hour


Kayak Clinic

Just go with the flow in this one-day kayak clinic at Watson Park! Participants receive instruction on kayak paddling techniques, maneuvering and water safety. End the day with a leisurely trip on the water around Watson Park.

Register online for Kayak Clinic



River Tours

See the Keeper of the Plains and downtown skyline like you've never seen it before! Following a short kayak training, you'll set off on a leisurely paddling tour from the ramp just south of the Wichita Boathouse, to the Keeper of the Plains and back. No prior experience is necessary, however this is a strenuous activity, which lasts approximately 1.00-1.25 hours. Advanced registration is required. Tours typically fill up fast so register early!

Floatin' on the River - Sunset Tour

Enjoy the glowing sky and ever changing colors of the sunset on this kayak tour! There's a brief stop for photos at the Keeper of the Plains and then it's back to the patio of the Wichita Boathouse to enjoy a barbeque dinner while relaxing to the sounds of soothing music.

View available tour times

Floatin' on the River - Sunrise Tour

Kayaks will launch just before twilight into the stillness of the morning and catch the glorious sunrise! Photos will be taken during the tour and at the Keeper of the Plains. The morning will end with a full breakfast on the patio of the Wichita Boathouse.

View available tour times

Floatin' on the River - Senior Tour

Seniors 55+ will spend a little time learning kayaking basics and then set your course towards the Keeper of the Plains at a relaxed and easy pace. Not sure if you can make the return trip back? We’ve got you covered! The evening ends with a barbeque dinner on the patio of the Wichita Boathouse.

View available tour times

Floatin' on the River - Glow Tour

Enjoy a moonlight trip along the river with the stars shining overhead! You and the kayaks will be glowing with lights and glow sticks as you make your way to watch the lighting of the firepots at the Keeper of the Plains. Enjoy desserts ad light snacks afterwards. (Note: The lighting of the firepots is subject to mechanical or weather issues and is not guaranteed to occur, but it’s fun when it does!)

View available tour times


Bring Your Own

Individuals are welcome to bring their own kayak on the Arkansas River and to Watson Park from sunrise to sunset. Wichita Park & Recreation require you to sign a waiver when utilizing your own kayak at Watson Park.


Rules on the Water

  • Individuals can only be on the water from sunrise to sunset.
  • No motorized crafts are allowed without written consent from the Wichita Park & Recreation Director, Troy Houtman.
  • Kansas law requires that children 12 years old and younger wear a life jacket while on board any vessel.
  • Any occupant of a personal watercraft, regardless of age, must wear a life jacket. This includes both kayaks and SUPs.

BoatingFishing

USGS Water Data for Kansas

The USGS investigates the occurrence, quantity, distribution and movement of surface and underground waters and disseminates the data to the public.

Visit USGS website

Waivers

To save time, print off a waiver and have it completed before you arrive to Watson Park or the Arkansas River if you will be renting our kayaks.

Download waiver

​Arkansas River Corridor Access Plan (ARCAP)

The Arkansas River Corridor Access Plan was formed by three counties, municipalities, public interests, and the state for a coordinated planning approach.

Public outreach efforts included a series of three public meetings along the river corridor where input and ideas were solicited. The result was the Arkansas River Corridor Access Plan.

The ARCAP will:

  • Highlight the Arkansas River as a regional attraction and establish it as a “premier recreational amenity” for the state and the region
  • Enhance and improve recreational opportunities along the river by providing a “general guideline” for future access point development along the river
  • Provide economic benefits and opportunities to our city and region by improving quality of life
  • Foster and increase awareness of our natural environment and improve educational opportunities related to wildlife and conservation
  • Improve public safety along the river (more eyes and more responsible eyes watching out for illegal activity)

Sedgwick County, City of Wichita, and Kansas Wildlife and Parks are now working together to develop the companion public safety plan to support the Arkansas River Plan. This plan will include coordinated law enforcement, fire and EMS access, way-finding signage, waste-handling, boater-safety, and public education.

Download the master plan

The Arkansas River was awarded the distinction of being a “National Water Trail” by the National Park Service. ARCAP played an important role in this designation and checked many of the boxes required by NPS.