Lake of the Ozarks trails offer adventure off the beaten path

The rugged Devil’s Kitchen Trail at Ha Ha Tonka State Park leads to a unique geological sinkhole, past a cave shelter and along a steep concave bluff wall.

One of the best ways to enjoy the scenic and natural beauty of the Ozarks is by hiking or taking a leisurely walk through the mixed terrain enjoying the sights, sounds and smells of the forests, glades, meadows and prairie. 

There are ample opportunities for visitors to the “best recreational lake” in the nation to head off the beaten path and discover the wonders of nature.

The Lake of the Ozarks’ 26 trails accommodate the most seasoned hikers to the youngest.

There is perhaps no better place to hike at the Lake of the Ozarks than at its two state parks. In total, the parks have a combined 26 different trails covering over 57 miles.

Each park showcases the area’s natural history and beauty, and each has its own claim to fame.

Ha Ha Tonka State Park was voted the fourth-best state park in the country by readers of USA Today and has one of the most photographed features in the state: the ruins of a 19th century “castle” that was constructed on a high limestone bluff overlooking Ha Ha Tonka Spring and the Niangua arm of the Lake of the Ozarks. 

The 3,751-acre park is Missouri’s premier showcase of karst geology and is unique in the quantity and quality of its remarkable geological features.

Ha Ha Tonka’s 14 walking trails, covering more than 15 scenic miles throughout the park, make it easy for visitors to experience the honeycomb of tunnels, rock bridges, caverns, springs, sinkholes and other natural areas. 

Visitors can peer into caves, climb 316 steps from the spring to the “castle” on a wooden boardwalk that circles the spring chasm, or navigate well-worn paths through the woodland area and the park’s glades.

Jim Divincen, administrator for the Lake of the Ozarks Tri-County Lodging Association, enjoys spending some of his free time hiking the trails at Ha Ha Tonka. 

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