Lake Ogallala State Recreation Area
Chilled by the massive surface of Lake McConaughy, a breeze sweeps gently eastward across Kingsley Dam and tumbles 160 feet to the surface of Lake Ogallala. There, at the "little lake," anglers and campers enjoy the natural air conditioning, but sunset comes early in the shadow of the towering dam to the west.
Born simultaneously in 1941 with the construction of Kingsley Dam, Lake McConaughy and Lake Ogallala are litter mates, but not twins. Lake McConaughy is big and rough — 35,000 surface acres big — and even gentle breezes often lead to heavy swells.
Lake Ogallala, at 320 acres, is comparatively small, gentle and sedate. Its protected shoreline wards off winds that would send the big lake into torment. Lake Ogallala is a rag-sweater-and-cup-of-coffee lake, not a sweat and Gatorade lake like its sibling.
Fishing and paddling are the primary Lake Ogallala water sports. Only the hardiest swimmers venture a dip in water entering Lake Ogallala from the bottom of Lake McConaughy at a chilling 51 degrees, and there are no true beaches along its five-mile shoreline.
Cold water first brought the Rock Creek Hatchery fish truck there 52 years ago to stock rainbow trout, and Lake Ogallala became renowned for its fast-growing, feisty rainbows.
Lake Ogallala's modern campground is a pay-for-use area, but has all the conveniences electricity, modern restrooms, hot showers and fire grates. Its camper pads are nestled among mature cottonwoods in a serene lakeside setting.
On the west side, a more primitive atmosphere prevails at campsites without all the amenities. Serious anglers gather there at the two boat ramps. A wheelchair-accessible fishing dock is also available.
Lake Ogallala has 320 acres of water and 339 acres of land and is located below the Kingsley Dam Hydroelectric Plant. This area offers a shady modern campground with 82 pads, 62 have electrical hook-ups. There is an additional 180 non-designated campsites. All campers must register. Reservations are accepted. Reservations are taken for 50% of the modern camping at Lake Ogallala campground. Reservations are taken up to 1 year in advance of arrival day. .