Ha Ha Tonka State Park

1491 Missouri D Camdenton, MO 65020

Alluding to the natural springs on the property, “ha ha tonka” was said to mean “big laugh” or “smiling waters.”

 “Camden County Place Names, 1928–1945”. The State Historical Society of Missouri. Retrieved April 24, 2018.

All I can say about this place is WOW! Tucked away on the Niangua arm of the Lake of the Ozarks, sits a BEAUTIFUL piece of history. This state park is free to the public and is approximately 3,700 acres – located about five miles south of Camdenton, Missouri. The park includes abandoned castle ruins (shown below) overlooking the Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri’s 12th largest spring, numerous trails and boardwalks, and picnic sites. It is also dog friendly, and we saw a ton of dogs along the way!


Castle Ruins

When we first planned this day trip, the castle ruins were the main reason why we wanted to visit. We were both so amazed at how much history was here (dates back to 1905!) and needed to see it for ourselves. When we first arrived in Ha Ha Tonka State Park, we went by the visitor’s center first to grab a map and then drove about .5 miles down the road to the first parking lot. From there, the ruins are about a .5 mile walk. The first ruins you walk upon are the Carriage House Ruins and then to your right, up a slight hill sits the Castle Ruins. It’s so amazing seeing it for the first time, and honestly pictures do not do anything in this park justice. Everything is truly breathtaking! At the bottom of this section, I have the castle history linked so you can read more about it!


Water Tower Ruins

After leaving the castle ruins, we made our way towards the Water Tower Ruins. This place was breathtaking as well, with impressive views of the Lake of the Ozarks. This boardwalk eventually leads you into the Spring Trail, so it was nice to be able to stop and see this along the way!


This state park has SO many trails to choose from! There’s no way to do them all in a day unless you’re superman or something. We hiked most of them, but were struggling when we left (it was well worth it though!) The main trail that I wanted to do was the Spring Trail, it’s about 1.4 miles from the Castle Ruins. This trail is the most strenuous trail, as it has a LOT of stairs to get to the spring. Obviously going down them wasn’t an issue, but going back up after you’ve hiked other trails, was definitely a challenge. Each trail eventually leads to new trails so we got turned around a few times but managed to see mostly everything. There are 2 springs: the first spring we walked to was at the bottom of the stairs and was a smaller spring that ran into a stream; the second spring backed up to the Lake of the Ozarks and was much bigger. This spring was my absolute favorite and was so breathtaking! Below this section, I linked the numerous trails. Be sure to check out my pics below!


My Personal Review/Thank You!

I’m a lover of all things history and nature so this park definitely gets a 10/10! The state of Missouri has done a great job in keeping it clean and efficient for visitors, and super easy to navigate (unless you’re like us and are use to GPS’ instead of an actual map). Thank you SO much for taking time to read about this adventure and I hope you continue to follow along with me! Follow me on Instagram (linked below) to keep up with our next adventure and get more of a personal experience!

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