We have always been Table Rock Lake people, and scoffed at the larger boats and party scene of Lake of the Ozarks. However, we were pleasantly surprised with the state park trails and facilities when we recently visited this central Missouri state park.
Lake of the Ozarks State Park includes a long list of available activities including cycling, horseback riding, hiking, rock climbing, metal detecting, camping, interpretive programs, cave tours, and that’s in addition to the typical lake activities of boating, paddling, swimming, and fishing.
The park is divided in different parts of the lake. We originally went to the marina side of the lake, and they weren’t able to stamp our state park book. There were hundreds of boaters there for a BassMaster’s tournament that morning. To get to the state park office on the other side was a 40 minute drive around the southern end of the lake. I would be sure to check your maps and make sure your navigation is taking you to the part of the lake you are hoping to visit.
I’ve had a difficult time getting my phone to navigate us to some of the Missouri state parks. We’ve been taken to several employee entrances or mailing addresses that weren’t actually where we intended to visit or hike. These are the times when our Missouri Gazetteer comes in handy to check our route and navigation into the state park.
The state park campground has over 180 sites, some primitive, some electric only, and some family sites designed for larger groups. As we keep visiting state parks and seeing beautiful electric only campgrounds, our desire for a larger camper (with larger tanks) is reinforced, as making it without water hook-ups right now doesn’t seem realistic for us. They also have cabins and yurts for rent, making it a good option for when we camp with camper-less friends.
We were bouncing from state park to state park on this day, and the day wasn’t warming up as much as we had hoped. During our hike here, the sun peaked out a little and we were finally able to get out and stretch our legs on the 2.5 mile Hidden Springs trail.
This trail was a slow start and finish, with some beautiful overlooks of the lake and forest in the middle. There was also a neat mid-1800s cemetery surrounded by yucca plants indicating the old homestead’s location. In places, the trail was following an old road that had been worn deep into the hillside over the years. The dogwoods were also in full bloom, and I’m sure there were plenty of mushrooms around if we knew more where and how to find them.
We would love to come back to explore the cave, the beach, and some of the other 11 trails throughout this state park in the future. It will be interesting to see if the vibe of this state park holds up to its wild reputation during the peak summer season.