dogs on leash
From dark caves to backcountry hiking trails to castle ruins perched on a cliff, Ha Ha Tonka State Park is the ideal place for the adventurous. Ha Ha Tonka is a geological wonderland: sinkholes, caves, a huge natural bridge, soaring bluffs, and Missouri's 12th largest spring. More than 15 miles of trail traverse the park, leading visitors to spectacular scenery, natural wonders and the famous castle ruins. Accessible, paved walkways and rugged, rocky trails provide every hiking experience, from a casual boardwalk stroll to an overnight backpack trip. Looming over all is the ruin of the turn-of-the-century stone castle built by a wealthy businessman. The empty shell of this great mansion overlooks Ha Ha Tonka Spring and Lake of the Ozarks from atop a 250-foot bluff. The Ha Ha Tonka Woodland preserves an excellent example of presettlement landscape. Scattered oaks, prairie grasses and wildflowers, open rocky glades and valley woodlands form a woodland mosaic. A seven-mile backpack trail winds through much of this area so visitors can easily explore the woodland. Rugged terrain, beautiful bluffs, dark caves and a castle on a cliff -- bring your camera because Ha Ha Tonka State Park has it all.
It's more like a short walk to look at the castle ruins (which are pretty cool); however, there are many hiking trails throughout and even a couple that lead away from the castle once you reach the top. Definitely beautiful views and worth the walk which is easy enough for the little ones or older folks too.
The path actually splits into 2 different directions, the right will lead you to the quarry and the left will lead you down to the cove. We walked down to the cove. The trail is pretty rough, rocky, slippery in spots, and steep. It's only about a mile, but I've walked 3 mile trails quicker! It is a very pretty trail with lots of different rock formations, wooded, and then of course the cove at the end, but this is definitely not for a beginner. The walk down is hard enough, but having to hike back up a steep incline for that long of a distance and with that rough terrain it makes it very difficult and exhausting! Be sure to wear appropriate hiking shoes for this trail.
Easy to find, well marked, and easy to follow. Took my eight and twelve year olds. The twelve year old and myself carried our backpacks loaded down with the weight that we plan on hiking the Colorado Trail with this summer. Took just over three hours with stopping for a picnic.