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.
Boats putt about complying with a five-mile-per-hour speed limit. 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.
Fees: Park Permit Required
Location: 9 miles north of Ogallala on Hwy 61