What Are the Major Bodies of Water in Kansas?

Kansas has two major river basins: the Missouri River to the north and the Arkansas River to the south. The Arkansas River cuts through southern and south-central Kansas before going into Oklahoma. The Missouri River is in the extreme northeastern part of the state near Missouri and Nebraska. Kansas features more than 10,000 miles of rivers and streams and nearly 400 lakes.

Some of Kansas' winding rivers serve as recreational parks. The Kansas River National Water Trail follows 173 miles of the Kansas River from Junction City, Kan., to the confluence of the Missouri River in Kansas City, Mo. The Kansas River watershed drains 53,000 square miles, including most of northern Kansas.

The Arkansas River travels through Wichita, Kan. The river is popular with floaters when the water level is low enough. The Arkansas River is the sixth-longest river in the United States. The Missouri River flows near major cities in Kansas, such as Kansas City, Atchison and Leavenworth. The Missouri River forms part of the border with Missouri.

The state of Kansas owns 40 fishing lakes ranging from 50 to 300 acres. Some of the largest lakes in Kansas include Tuttle Creek Lake, Cheney Reservoir, Waconda Lake and Perry Lake. Many of these lakes and reservoirs offer recreational opportunities and drinking water.