The Rules

Parking lots and trails are open daily from sunrise to sunset. Designated trails are maintained around the property and can be used by hikers and bikers. Do not venture off trails. Dogs must be on a leash and under control due to the extensive natural habitat. Bikes and dogs are not allowed on the boardwalk. No hunting, fishing, or trapping is allowed. 

The History 

The Wakarusa and Kansas Rivers flooded the plains in the Pre-Illinoian Glacial Period more than 300,000 years ago. Much later, the original stewards of this 927-acre natural habitat were the Kaw Nation, the Osage Nation, and the Kickapoo. 

Part of the area was divided into four parcels of 160 acres when it was homesteaded in 1854. Earlier pioneer accounts indicate that the wagons, along the Oregon and California Trails, crossed the Wakarusa, suggested by cuts in the banks.  

Between 1917 and 1927, a number of projects were carried out by the federal government draining the area for agricultural use. 

In the 1950s, the University of Kansas Natural History Museum and the State Biological Survey started the early efforts to save the “Haskell Bottoms.”

The restoration of the original wetlands began in 1991 under the patronage of Baker University and KDOT when the Baker Wetlands were greatly expanded to benefit the wildlife and future generations of visitors. 

Stargazers, Bird watchers, and Outdoor Enthusiasts

Baker University Wetlands are the most diverse habitats in all of Kansas. It is home to 278 species of birds, 98 other vertebrate species, and 492 unique plant species. The area has over 11 miles of maintained trails and an attractive wooden boardwalk over the water.  

Welcome sign for the Baker University Wetlands

To learn about the long history of the Baker Wetlands, attend a program or schedule a class field trip presentation. The Baker University Wetlands Discovery Center is open Monday – Friday, 9:00 AM-Noon and 1:00-3:00 PM, and Saturday, 9:00 AM-Noon. Visit their Facebook page for special events

Walking path map for Baker University Wetlands
Choose your own path; many miles to choose from.

Welcome the day at the wetlands 

Magda Born

Community Services Librarian

Kansas City, Kansas Public Library

625 Minnesota Ave.

Kansas City, Kansas 66101      

913-295-8250 ext 1103