Ha Ha Tonka State Park is a beautiful park located near the Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri. The neatest feature of this park is the stone ruins of an old castle nestled high atop the bluff. We stayed at my cousin’s lake house for a long weekend and we were lucky enough to get to see this park.This park can get pretty busy since it is near the lake.
We parked at the parking lot near the castle and walked the short path to the castle. The castle is immense and the stone work is amazing. It is fun to picture what the castle might have look liked back at its’ prime.
From here, there are also wonderful view of the lake. If you have a boat, you can actually dock at the state park.
We continued along the boardwalk until we came to the stairs that led down the bluff to the spring. These stairs are not for the faint of heart. There are a lot of them….but going down is a lot easier than going up.We followed this trail along until it met up with the Island Trail. The Island Trail loops around the an island centered between the spring channel and the lake. I felt like for such a small island, there was trails everywhere! The key feature to this trail is the balanced rock, and I am not really even sure if we saw it LOL! But the trail is rocky and fun and my favorite part of the trail was when it led down to where the spring channel meets the lake and a large bluff towards overhead.
After checking out the island, we headed back towards the castle, but instead of hiking the same way we came (via all the stairs) we took the white connector trail that is just passed the informational pavilion on the right. I really liked this trail because it was rugged and we got to see something different than if we went back the same way we came.
While hiking along the Spring Trail, we caught a glimpse of the old post office.
Just before we met up with the boardwalk on the Dell Rim Trail, we turned off on the trail to the natural bridge. There was a trail behind the picnic tables that leads over the top of the natural bridge and then the trail loops back around and goes through the natural bridge. I love this trail! It is rocky and rugged.
After climbing out of the ravine, the trail meets back up with the Spring Trail. We followed the trail back to the car.
The next morning we came back to hike the Boulder Ridge Trail. The trail starts near the west picnic area and is 1.5 miles long. The trail meanders through the woods and right when you think that the trail is just your normal routine trail, you see the boulders. Moss covers the boulders creating a green blanket on the rocks. The trail is fun and challenging since in parts the trail can be rocky.
Overall, this is one of my favorite Missouri state parks. It just feels like there is something neat to see around every corner. I feel like the trails could have been marked a bit better, but overall it was an awesome hiking experience!
Be sure the check out Missouri State Parks website, it is really a great website with lots of information. You can also get a trail map here too. If you are looking for something else to do, here are tons of other activities in this area as it is a touristy spot.
Have you been to Ha Ha Tonka or have any questions? Please leave a comment!