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Castles, Caves, and Crystal Springs: Unveiling the Magic of Ha Ha Tonka State Park

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May Ha Ha Tonka State Park be essentially the most stunning place in Missouri? Conde Nast Journey thinks so! After you see our thrilling issues to do in Ha Ha Tonka State Park, you would possibly agree. And after a visit to Camdenton, you’ll be able to see for your self.

This information takes you from historic citadel ruins on the bluff tops to the crystal blue springs at lake degree. In between, you’ll discover 3,700 acres of beautiful nature, together with well-preserved woodlands and distinctive karst options.

See the Ha Ha Tonka Fortress Ruins

Castle ruins Ha-Ha-Tonka-State-Park-MissouriCastle ruins Ha-Ha-Tonka-State-Park-Missouri
Photograph Credit score: Jenn Coleman.

On the prime of the record and the highest of the hill sits the Ha Ha Tonka Fortress Ruins. Kansas Metropolis businessman, Robert McClure Snyder, began development on the citadel in 1905, solely to die in a automobile crash in 1906. His sons, Robert Jr., LeRoy, and Kenneth, accomplished the challenge within the early Twenties, simply in time for the inventory market crash. It struggled as a lodge in the course of the Nice Despair, solely to burn to the bottom in 1942. Initially designed as a Sixteenth-century European fairy story, these buildings extra carefully resemble a flip of the century American gothic.

Right now, guests can see the crumbling partitions of the citadel, water tower, and stables. For a second, you might think about that you simply’re in Europe an previous spoil set excessive above the Rhine. Interpretive indicators let you know in regards to the development, operation, and demise of this historic construction. Additionally to not be missed are the sweeping views of the Niagara Arm of the Lake of the Ozarks. Because the 250′ cliffs face west, this location is house to a number of the greatest sunsets within the state.

Discover the Ha Ha Tonka Pure Bridge

Natural Bridge Ha Ha Tonka State ParkNatural Bridge Ha Ha Tonka State Park
Photograph Credit score: Jenn Coleman.

Slightly below the citadel ruins, you’ll discover the Ha Ha Tonka Pure Bridge. The bridge is 70 toes large, spans 60 toes, and reaches greater than 100 toes within the air. At one time, this bridge served as the first entrance for the citadel grounds like a medieval drawbridge. Right now all site visitors excessive, together with foot site visitors, is prohibited to protect the function.

Whilst you’re visiting the pure bridge, make sure to preserve heading down the path a brief bit to see the Colosseum, a huge 500 toes lengthy and 300 toes large sinkhole. In case you like, there’s a small picnic space full with tables and grills adjoining to the pure bridge parking space.

Go for a Hike on the Ha Ha Tonka Trails

Spring Trail Ha Ha Tonka State ParkSpring Trail Ha Ha Tonka State Park
Photograph Credit score Jenn Coleman.

13 trails crisscross Ha Ha Tonka State Park with greater than 15 miles of marked routes. Highlights embrace: the Ha Ha Tonka Fortress ruins, crystal blue Ha Ha Tonka Springs, a number of karst options such because the pure bridge, Satan’s Bathtub, and several other sinkholes. Path circumstances vary from paved paths to wood boardwalks to the pure path floor. Of word is the 316-step wooden staircase that takes guests from the spring head at lake degree to the ruins on the prime of the bluff.

Once you’re mountain climbing, pay shut consideration to the confluence of trails between the publish workplace and the pure bridge. As much as 4 trails can share the identical observe, every with its personal blazes. It will cut back your whole distance traveled, as you’re mountain climbing two or extra trails concurrently, however watch out with navigation.

Particular person Path Descriptions

Hiking Ha Ha Tonka State ParkHiking Ha Ha Tonka State Park
Photograph Credit score: Jenn Coleman.
  • Acorn Path (.9 miles / blazed inexperienced) is a self-guiding interpretive path that leads hikers by an open woodland and glade advanced.
  • Boulder Ridge Path (1.5 miles / blazed purple) is an previous gravel street that travels by lichen-covered boulders with views of Lake of the Ozarks.
  • Fortress Path (.4 miles / blazed yellow) is likely one of the park’s hottest trails that accesses the ruins of a Twentieth-century citadel and affords spectacular views of Lake of the Ozarks. The path is accessed from two parking tons. The higher lot has restricted parking and is beneficial for individuals with disabilities and the aged. The decrease lot has extra parking areas obtainable with a brief, shaded hike to the citadel.
  • Cedar Path (.2 miles / blazed blue) is a brief interpretive loop across the Put up Workplace day-use space with native tree identification markers.
  • Colosseum Path (.6 miles / blazed yellow) is a determine 8 loop across the Ha Ha Tonka Pure Bridge and Colosseum Sinkhole. It shares the path with parts of Satan’s Kitchen, Dell Rim, and Spring trails.

Particular person Path Descriptions Half 2

Hiking at Ha Ha TonkaHiking at Ha Ha Tonka
Photograph Credit score: Jenn Coleman.
  • Dell Rim Path (.3 miles / blazed purple) The primary .07 miles is a boardwalk across the historic water tower earlier than circling the 150′ deep Whispering Dell Sinkhole. The path is a part of the 316 step wood staircase that results in Ha Ha Tonka Spring. It shares the path with parts of Satan’s Kitchen, Colosseum, and Spring trails.
  • Satan’s Kitchen (1.3 Miles / blazed brown) This path provides entry to the Satan’s Kitchen Sinkhole and shelter cave advanced. It shares the path with parts of Dell Rim, Colosseum, and Spring trails.
  • Island Path (.4 miles / blazed Inexperienced) This path circles a small island shaped by the Ha Ha Tonka Spring Run getting into Lake of the Ozarks. You’ll see karst options just like the Balanced Rock Boulder and Island Cave (gated). You’ll additionally discover the historic water pipe used to provide the citadel on the bluff and have a number of good views of the iridescent blue Trout Glen Pool on the base of Ha Ha Tonka Springs. You may’t enter Trout Glen Pool, however you’ll be able to swim within the cool spring water previous the previous dam because it enters Lake of the Ozarks.
  • Lake Path (.4 miles / blazed purple) This path primarily serves as a connector path from the courtesy boat dock to the Quarry Path and the Fortress Ruins

Particular person Path Descriptions Half 3

Walking at Ha Ha Tonka State ParkWalking at Ha Ha Tonka State Park
Photograph Credit score: Jenn Coleman.
  • Oak Woodland Path (.1 miles / blazed blue) This quick, handicapped accessible interpretive path has panels that determine attribute crops of the park’s Ha Ha Tonka Oak Woodland.
  • Quarry Path (1.7 miles / blazed inexperienced) This path takes guests previous two quarry websites the place sandstone was mined to construct the citadel, carriage home, and water tower.
  • Spring Path (1.4 miles / blazed blue) This widespread loop path has slightly little bit of every part. The primary .4 miles alongside the shoreline are paved and extremely accessible as much as the previous mill pond. Then, a .1 mile boardwalk takes you to the attractive blue Ha Ha Tonka Spring that discharges a median of 48 million gallons of water a day. Then a 316 step wood staircase ascends the bluff. Lastly, the path returns by the forest on the prime of the cliff band. It shares the path with parts of Dell Rim, Colosseum, and Satan’s Kitchen trails.
  • Turkey Pen Hole Path (6.5 miles / blazed purple) – The longest steady path within the park with spurs that entry the backcountry camps. Taking the white connector that bypasses Camp B will minimize two miles off the loop. This path shares a trailhead and a long way with Acorn, Oak Woodland Interpretive, and Satan’s Kitchen trails.

Picnicking at Ha Ha Tonka State Park

Picnicing at Ha Ha Tonka State ParkPicnicing at Ha Ha Tonka State Park
Photograph Credit score: Jenn Coleman.

Ha Ha Tonka State Park has three picnic areas for everyone who loves consuming in nature. Each has ample parking and restrooms. Nonetheless, the expertise at every is as various as Ha Ha Tonka Park itself.

  • Pure Bridge Picnic Space – Right here you’ll discover picnic tables and grills within the woods between the pure bridge and the Ha Ha Tonka Ruins. Picnicking right here supplies the proper base camp to discover the park’s most unusual function, the Fortress Ruins, and exemplary karst formations.
  • Ha Ha Tonka Lake Shelter – A waterside shelter, picnic tables, and grills that allow you to benefit from the lake and spring earlier than, after, and even throughout your meal.
  • Put up Workplace Picnic Shelter – A big shelter in a quiet nook of the park. Benefit from the playground and the interpretive Cedar Path.

Tenting and Backpacking at Ha Ha Tonka State Park

Ha-Ha-Tonka-State-Park-MissouriHa-Ha-Tonka-State-Park-Missouri
Photograph Credit score: Missouri State Parks.

Ha Ha Tonka State Park doesn’t have a campground per se. There’s a special-use tenting space designated for organized youth teams, however there’s additionally one thing for on a regular basis adventures – backpacking off the Turkey Pen Hole Path.

Backpackers ought to register on the park workplace earlier than beginning their journey, with after-hour registration directions exterior the park workplace. Campfires are prohibited in addition to reducing implements equivalent to saws and hatchets.

Teams of seven or extra individuals should camp within the designated tenting areas (A, B, and C on the map). Smaller teams can camp at massive as long as they’re a minimum of 100 toes from the path, 200 toes from any main public use space, and a minimum of one-fourth mile from the path entry/exit level. If you wish to strive backpacking, slightly paperwork and a quarter-mile hike are about as simple because it will get!

Go to Ha Ha Tonka Spring

Ha Ha Tonka SpringHa Ha Tonka Spring
Photograph Credit score: Jenn Coleman.

Ha Ha Tonka Spring is the park’s namesake. Within the native Osage Indian language, it means laughing water. We didn’t hear the water guffawing on our go to, however our eyes exploded with pleasure. The spring is Missouri’s twelfth largest, and it discharges greater than 48 million gallons of crystal blue water day-after-day. The sapphire blue water collects within the Trout Glenn Pool and travels about 1/4 mile to enter the Lake of the Ozarks.

The Spring Path boardwalk travels alongside the south aspect of the pool, providing unbelievable views of the spring and the previous millpond. You may even take the 316-step staircase as much as the citadel ruins if you happen to like or discover the Island Path for extra views. One factor you’ll be able to’t do is swim in Trout Glen Pool. The closest you’ll be able to come is swimming within the discharge because it enters the lake. It’s nonetheless cool and blue, however you aren’t trampling in a delicate space.

Public Boat Docks at Ha Ha Tonka State Park

Ha Ha Tonka Boat dockHa Ha Tonka Boat dock
Photograph Credit score: Jenn Coleman.

Ha Ha Tonka State Park has not one however two public boat docks. The primary one is adjoining to the picnic shelter on the south aspect of the spring. This dock is a wonderful spot for fishing or enjoying within the water, even if you happen to come by automobile.

The second dock is on the north aspect of the lake and primarily serves boaters visiting the park by the water. It connects to the Lake Path and Quarry Path to type the shortest and simplest way as much as the citadel for boaters.

Kayak or SUP the Ha Ha Tonka Paddling Path

Ha Ha Tonka Kayak rentals
Ha Ha Tonka Kayak rentals
Photograph Credit score: Jenn Coleman.

Don’t have your individual boat however nonetheless wish to discover the Large Niagara River Path? Ha Ha Tonka affords kayak leases from April by October. A two-hour rental is ideal for exploring the no-wake zone surrounding the park. You’ll want a full-day rental if you happen to’re venturing out on the 13.3-mile paddling path to discover Niagara Arm highlights like Onyx Cave, the Tunnel Dam Powerhouse, Whistle Bridge, and several other wineries and vineyards.

Leases are organized from the park’s customer middle (573-346-2986) with a self-service kiosk lakeside. The no-wake zone mixed with the park’s simple entry dock makes the two-hour tour excellent for novice paddlers. Nonetheless, it is best to have some boating and navigation expertise if you happen to’re venturing out into the open water. Additionally, make sure to choose up a paddling path brochure whenever you cease by the park workplace and ask the rangers when you’ve got any questions.

Ha Ha Tonka FAQs

Ha Ha Tonka Kayaking
Ha Ha Tonka Kayaking
Photograph Credit score: Jenn Coleman.

Are you able to swim in Ha Ha Tonka Springs? You cannot swim in Ha Ha Tonka Springs. Then whole Trout Glenn Pool is a protected ecological space. You may swim within the park by the docks and picnic shelter.

What number of steps are at Ha Ha Tonka? A 316-step wooden staircase that takes guests from the spring head at lake degree to the ruins on the prime of the bluff.

How lengthy is the path at Ha Ha Tonka? Many information books record Ha Ha Tonka as having over 30 miles of path. Nonetheless, many of those trails overlap, so the park solely has about 20 miles of distinctive trails.

What’s the longest path at Ha Ha Tonka? Turkey Pen Hole (6.5 miles / blazed purple) is the longest steady path within the park with spurs that entry the backcountry camps.

What are the very best trails at Ha Ha Tonka? You will need to see the Ha Ha Tonka Springs and ruins. You get to succeed in the springs you employ the 1.4 mile Spring Path and to succeed in the ruins you employ the .4 mile Fortress Path.

Wrapping Up Issues To Do at Ha Ha Tonka

Ha Ha Tonka State Park castle ruinsHa Ha Tonka State Park castle ruins
Photograph Credit score: Jenn Coleman.

Hopefully, you see that Ha Ha Tonka will not be solely stunning however stuffed with thrilling issues to do. Its wealthy historical past and pure magnificence make it a must-see attraction when you’re on a Lake of the Ozarks getaway. Very like its sister park, Lake of the Ozarks, guests can discover the hills and hollows right here that make the Ozarks particular.

Learn Extra From Coleman Concierge:

Lake of the OzarksLake of the Ozarks
Photograph Credit score: Jenn Coleman.

There are such a lot of romantic and adventurous issues to do at Lake of the Ozarks, it’s an ideal setting for a romantic getaway. No marvel it was named the #1 Recreation Lake within the nation by USA Right now.

Learn on to be taught extra about romantic lodging, stunning boating, out of doors adventures, and scrumptious eating places for an ideal 3-day romantic getaway.

Romantic and Adventurous Issues To Do at Lake of the Ozarks- A Three Day Motion Packed Getaway

6 Bike Trails in Columbia Missouri That Encourage a Weekend Getaway

University of Missouri Columbia 2University of Missouri Columbia 2
Photograph Credit score: Jennifer Coleman.

Columbia, Missouri, has a fame as a unusual school city, however are you able to make it a hub metropolis for biking? We put collectively six bike trails in Columbia, Missouri, to indicate you the right way to just do that.

Learn on to find the very best Columbia Missouri bike trails and a few superior adventures to expertise whenever you hop off your bicycle!

6 Bike Trails in Columbia Missouri That Encourage a Weekend Getaway


Hello! We’re Jenn and Ed Coleman aka Coleman Concierge. In a nutshell, we’re a Huntsville-based Gen X couple sharing our tales of fantastic adventures by activity-driven transformational and experiential journey.



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