#5 of 689 state parks in Missouri

Best trails in Ha Ha Tonka State Park, Missouri

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Looking for a great trail in Ha Ha Tonka State Park, Missouri? AllTrails has 14 great hiking trails, trail running trails, dogs leash trails and more, with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers, and nature lovers like you. Ready for some activity? There are 9 moderate trails in Ha Ha Tonka State Park ranging from 0.6 to 6.7 miles and from 672 to 1,092 feet above sea level. Start checking them out and you'll be out on the trail in no time!
Description

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. Accessibility: There are two designated, handicapped-accessible parking spaces at the visitor center. The outdoor exhibit there is covered, and its restrooms are wheelchair accessible. In the visitor center office is a phone with volume control. There are designated, wheelchair accessible parking spaces at the Natural Bridge, River Cave, Old Post Office, Oak Woodland, and the Spring Day Use Areas. There are wheelchair accessible vault toilets at the Old Post Office and Spring Day Use Areas. Wheelchair accessible picnic tables can be found at the Natural Bridge, River Cave, and Old Post Office Day Use Areas. There is a wheelchair accessible playground and horseshoe pit at the Old Post Office Day Area. For more accessible trails and facilities information, please visit: https://mostateparks.com/sites/mostateparks/files/adahht_0.pdf

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Map of trails in Ha Ha Tonka State Park, Missouri
Park information
Acreage:
3,709 acres
Park hours
Monday
7:00 am - 5:55 pm
Tuesday
7:00 am - 5:55 pm
Wednesday
7:00 am - 5:55 pm
Thursday
7:00 am - 5:55 pm
Friday
7:00 am - 5:55 pm
Saturday
7:00 am - 5:55 pm
Sunday
7:00 am - 5:55 pm
Contact
573-346-2986
Helpful links
Top trails (14)
#1 - Turkey Pen Hollow Trail
Ha Ha Tonka State Park
moderateYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(340)
Length: 6.7 mi • Est. 3 h 21 m
This trail passes through high quality dolomite glades and woodland plant communities. The area in and around this trail is managed with periodic prescribed fire. The trail goes by a large sinkhole, an access to the parks special-use camp, a primitive backpack camping area for large groups, and through Turkey Pen Hollow. After you pass the connector trail leading to the special-use camp, you travel across a large south-facing glade. Lower on this slope is an intermittently wet seep area. The large outcrop of rock is the remnant of the Red Arrow fault line that runs through this part of Camden County. This rock area is where layers of bedrock have shifted in a vertical manner and in other places one layer of rock has pushed other rock layers above it. After you reach the ridge top beyond and hike for a short distance, you can decide to shorten your hike to 4.75 miles by taking white connector 1. Along white connector 1, you will find an intermittent pond. This pond often holds water in the spring and is home to frogs, salamanders and toads as evidenced by the cacophony of their calls both during the day and in the evening.Show more
#2 - Castle Trail
Ha Ha Tonka State Park
easyYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(240)
Length: 0.8 mi • Est. 19 m
The Castle trail is an ADA accessible trail leading to castle ruins and a lake overlook. The stunning views make Castle Trail one of the park's most popular trails. Construction on the mansion was originally started in 1905 by a businessman from Kansas City but it burned down in the 1940s, leaving only ruins. Castle Trail can be accessed from either of the two castle parking lots. The upper lot has limited parking. More parking is offered at the lower lot, which is the first lot you come to. From the lower parking lot, a shaded walk through an open oak woodland area takes hikers to where the trail joins the upper portion. Here, there are two side views of the carriage house ruins. There is a water fountain at this junction and an interpretive kiosk with information on the parks cultural history. The upper portion of trail features three scenic overlooks. Accessibility: There are two designated, handicapped-accessible parking spaces in the upper parking lot, and three in the lower parking lot. The trail surface is paved asphalt and is typically at least five feet wide. The estimated average grade is 5% but there are two steep sections with a grade between 10% and 20% (at about 0.2 and 0.3 miles) where wheelchair, mobility equipment, or stroller users may need assistance. There are numerous benches along the trail for resting. There is a wheelchair accessible vault toilet in the lower parking lot, as well as a water fountain.Show more
#3 - Ha Ha Tonka Island Trail
Ha Ha Tonka State Park
moderateYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(180)
Length: 0.8 mi • Est. 28 m
The Island trailhead is the old mill site, accessible from the Spring Trail. This is a rugged loop with scenic rock formations, small cave, spring views. Island Trail starts at the old mill site along Spring Trail. This rugged loop trail takes hikers past Balanced Rock; a large cylinder-shaped dolomite boulder sitting on one end. Walking this trail, hikers will catch two glimpses of old abandoned water pipe. This is all that remains of the pipe that carried water from the mill site to the water tower above. The trail then takes hikers to the confluence of Ha Ha Tonka Spring and Lake of the Ozarks. Following the loop from here, hikers can walk along the spring channel to a small breached dam, where the spring water runs over large boulders. The trail continues to Island Cave, a small, gated, permit entry cave that is located on the north side of the island above the spring channel. For information on entry into Island Cave, visitors should contact the park office. The loop then leads hikers around the rocky east and south sides of the island where they return to Spring Trail. Users can also access White Connectors 3 and 4 to shorten or enhance their hiking experience.Show more
#4 - Devil's Kitchen Trail
Ha Ha Tonka State Park
moderateYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(198)
Length: 1.3 mi • Est. 40 m
The Devil"s Kitchen is natural surface loop trail takes you through dry chert woodland and glades before entering the Devils Kitchen sinkhole which is a small cave shelter. This natural surface loop trail takes you through dry chert woodland and glade communities before entering the Devils Kitchen sinkhole. The sinkhole contains a geologic feature known as Devils Kitchen, which is a small cave shelter. After descending off the glade and through a woodland, you will notice that the ground around you has large areas of rock. You will come upon an opening in the rocks to the right of the trail. As you travel further down and around these rocks, you will find yourself at the entrance to the cave shelter. If you investigate back into the opening, you will be treated to a view of the sky through the chimney at the rear of this cave. The trail continues past the Devils Kitchen feature to a steep concave bluff wall known as Devils Promenade. To reach the Devils Promenade, you must step across a small gap in the bedrock surface of the trail. After Devils Promenade, the trail climbs out of the sinkhole and crosses a county road, Post Office Road. Once across the road, the trail continues through an open woodland to the Post Office Day-Use Area, where it crosses State Road D. Follow the large footprints painted on the road surface to cross the road safely. An overlook here has a nice view of the castle across the spring chasm and an interpretive panel on the historic town Hahatonka. The trail joins tSpring Trail, Colosseum Trail and Dell Rim trail at this point, so watch for the brown blazes to follow Devils Kitchen Trail back to the top of the natural bridge. From here, you will cross State Road D into the Ha Ha Tonka Oak Woodland Natural Area parking lot where you started.Show more
#5 - Oak Woodland Interpretive Trail
Ha Ha Tonka State Park
easyYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(246)
Length: 0.4 mi • Est. 12 m
The Oak Woodland Interpretive Trail is a paved, family-friendly trail with four interpretive stops. There is an interpretive panel at each stop discussing the use of prescribed fire as a management tool. The health and plant vitality of this area of the park has been managed with controlled burning since the mid-1980s. The panels identify characteristic plants of the parks Ha Ha Tonka Oak Woodland Natural Area. Accessibility: This trail is paved and typically at least four feet wide, but after the first 0.1 miles it is estimated to be very steep with grades over 12%. Thus, proceed at your own risk.Show more
#6 - Spring Trail
Ha Ha Tonka State Park
moderateYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(217)
Length: 1.4 mi • Est. 42 m
The first .40 mile of Spring Trail is paved and accessible to visitors with physical limitations. This section takes hikers along the shoreline of Lake of the Ozarks and Ha Ha Tonka Spring. This is a great trail to hike for spring wildflowers. Pawpaw trees can be seen along the first section of trail and grow alongside the wooden boardwalk just before the spring. One of the first stopping points is at the site of the old gristmill, which was burned in 1931 to make room for Lake of the Ozarks. A spillway, raceway and grinding stone remain at the mill site. A small trail shelter with tables and an interpretive display are also located near the old mill site. Spring Trail continues toward Ha Ha Tonka Spring along the shore of the old millpond. The millpond is a great place to watch for wildlife, including turtles, frogs and toads, green herons and others. At the end of the millpond is another raceway that acts as a dam to the spring water during normal water levels. During periods of high water levels, Ha Ha Tonka Spring water runs over the raceway and flushes out the millpond into the lake. Shortly after the second raceway, the trail surface changes from pavement to wooden boardwalk. At this point, a small wooden overlook over the spring offers a nice view of the spring channel and is a great place to look for muskrats, otters, ducks and other aquatic wildlife. An interpretive panel on this overlook has information about the springs recharge area, temperature and aquatic plant life. The wooden boardwalk has several short sections of steps leading back to the site where the spring water surfaces and four more interpretive panels are attached to the railing. As hikers near the spring, they are challenged to squeeze between large rocks that were once part of the ceiling over this collapsed chasm. After exiting the rocks, there is an old pump south of the trail. This pump was used in the 1940s to pump spring water to a small log cabin at the top of the hill above you. The spring emerges from the water-filled cave at the base of the small bluff ahead. The average flow of the spring is 58 million gallons of water a day. It is a half-mile from the trailhead to the mouth of the spring. Many visitors turn back at this point. The next section of the Spring Trail ascends 316 wooden steps climbing 200 vertical feet and can be very strenuous for some hikers. At the top of the steps, hikers can choose to follow Dell Rim Trail to the left to go to the castle ruins, or turn right to continue on the upper section of Spring Trail. Very shortly, hikers will have a spectacular view over the spring waters and spy the 250 foot bluff with castle ruins atop. Continuing on the trail, catch a glimpse of the century old post office building along Highway D. Shortly after this, hikers can choose to take a White Connector back to the mill site to end the hike early or continue on another loop of Spring Trail by taking the trail to the left. This stretch parallels Highway D and eventually crosses a dolomite glade and then heads back into woodlands. This trail will wind back to the trailhead at the lake parking lot.Show more
#7 - Dell Rim Trail
Ha Ha Tonka State Park
easyYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(166)
Length: 0.7 mi • Est. 17 m
The Dell Rim Trail is a boardwalk leading to a water tower and valley overlook. It is wheelchair accessible to the Whispering Dell Sinkhole overlook. Initially, the Dell Rim Trail weaves through a rocky south-facing glade area with an abundance of wildflowers. The first highlight along the trail is a one-way series of steps that lead to the water tower. The tower was constructed in 1905 to supply water to the castle. An interpretive panel gives information about the water tower, including a description of how the water was pumped from the spring below. There is also a picture of the style pump used in those days. A wooden boardwalk then leads visitors to an overlook above the 150-foot deep Whispering Dell Sinkhole. Another interpretive panel at this overlook provides information on karst topography and sinkholes. This initial section of the trail is wheelchair accessible. The trail continues from the Whispering Dell overlook with a series of steps that connect the trail to Colosseum, Spring, and Devils Kitchen trails. As hikers circle the Whispering Dell Sinkhole, they can look back across to see the overlook and water tower across the void. The trail takes hikers partway down the 316 wooden steps to Ha Ha Tonka Spring, ending at a second overlook into Whispering Dell Sinkhole. Accessibility: The main route shown on this map is all considered wheelchair and stroller accessible by the park website as it is a boardwalk surface and typically at least four feet wide with an estimated average grade of 2% and a max grade of 5%. However, the side route to the Water Tower is very steep with grades up to 18% so it is not. Beyond where this map ends there are stairs (as described above) that connect to the Colosseum, Spring, and Devil's Kitchen Trails that are not accessible for equipment users.Show more
#8 - Colosseum Trail
Ha Ha Tonka State Park
moderateYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(177)
Length: 0.6 mi • Est. 18 m
The Colosseum trail is a natural surface trail that winds under a natural bridge and through a large sinkhole, the Colosseum spans 60 feet, is 100 feet high, and is 70 feet wide. This natural surface trail winds under the natural bridge and through a large sinkhole, the Colosseum, and is part of the Ha Ha Tonka Karst Natural Area. In spring, you will be treated to a lovely view of flowering dogwood, redbud and serviceberry from the wooden platform where this trail begins. The natural bridge is a massive stone arch left behind when the cave system around it collapsed. It spans 60 feet, is 100 feet high, and is 70 feet wide. The natural bridge was used as a route to the castle until it was closed to vehicular traffic in 1980 because it was too narrow. It is an impressive geological feature and one of the highlights of the park. After a heavy rain, water often cascades off the back side making its way to the lowest point in the sinkhole beyond. The Colosseum Sinkhole is 150 feet deep. Spring wildflowers are abundant in this sheltered enclave, especially in the section just beyond the natural bridge where the trail is immediately adjacent to one sheer bluff side. As you start your hike out of the sinkhole at the south end, you will step between large boulders evidence of the rocky ceiling that one covered this cave room. It is a long, steep climb out of the sinkhole to near the top of the ridge, but the views of the old post office, spring and castle ruins at the top are a great reason to stop to catch your breath. The figure-eight loop then takes you across the top of the natural bridge and back to the trailhead.Show more
#9 - Deers Leap Hill via Del Tim Trail and Spring Trail
Ha Ha Tonka State Park
moderateYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(55)
Length: 2.1 mi • Est. 1 h 3 m
#10 - Tonka Quarry Trail Green Loop
Ha Ha Tonka State Park
moderateYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray Star(78)
Length: 2.6 mi • Est. 1 h 16 m
Quarry Trail takes visitors through two quarry sites, where sandstone was mined to build the castle, carriage house and water tower. At the trailhead near the castle ruins, the trail passes next to the site where 10 greenhouses were constructed as part of the Robert Snyder estate. The greenhouses were removed and sold after Snyders death, but the foundations and interpretive panel are available for viewing at the site. The quarries hikers will pass can be deceptive as they are not the size or depth seen today. These were areas where the sandstone layer was close to or extended above ground level to make its removal easier. To further make the job of transporting these large stones from the larger quarry site north of the castle, they used a small gauge track and cart system pulled by mule to bring the stone to the castle site. The trail also features views of Lake of the Ozarks from a large dolomite glade on the west side of the trail at the half way point. Users can shorten or enhance their hikes by accessing White Connectors 5 and 6. To use either of the white connector trails, hikers should watch for the white blazes. Hikers can leave the trail at the carriage house site to make a shorter walk to the parking lot.Show more
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