Cowley Lake Waterfall is a beautiful waterfall located in Kansas of all places. Growing up in the Jayhawker State I always thought that I had to head out east or west to see a significant waterfall. A land that is rumored to be flatter than a pancake could not possibly have one. Boy was I wrong. Cowley Lake Waterfall is a hidden treasure.
Located just north of the Oklahoma border 15 miles east of Arkansas City off of US Highway 166. Situated at the end of the road at Cowley State Fishing Lake. This scenic waterfall does not have much fanfare. Just a small sign that says “waterfall” with an arrow that points the way. Basically I just drove to the end of the dirt road and once there I could hear the falls.
I saw Cowley Lake Waterfall early in the morning and had the whole place to myself. I am not for sure if it gets busy being kind of the middle of nowhere. From the small parking area there is short walk to the overlook of the falls. The view of the falls is nice from the overlook, but you can also take a short trek down an unofficial trail to the base of Cowley Lake Waterfall. The waterfall is very scenic due to the exposed rock behind it. There is a nice variation of different sediments with the lower rock being a beautiful red color and the above being a sandstone.
If you do decide to take the hike down be careful. Good thick-soled shoes would be a nice thing to have since there are gobs of broken glass all over the place. Also watch your head as you start down the trail and come back because the trails begin below a single strand of barb-wire. It is kind of a steep trail with some rocks to maneuver around but doable. Either from the overlook or from the base Cowley Lake Waterfall is a sight to see.
Cowley Lake Waterfall
Located at 20467 US Highway 166, Dexter Kansas
25 feet in Height
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