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Ha Ha Tonka State Park, Camdenton
(4.9/5 based on 480+ reviews on the web)
Ha Ha Tonka State Park is a state-owned, public recreation area encompassing over on the Niangua arm of the Lake of the Ozarks about five miles south of Camdenton, Missouri, in the United States. The state park's most notable feature is the ruins of a stone mansion that had been modeled after European castles of the 16th century. The park also features caves, sinkholes, and bluffs overlooking the lake. It is a prominent example of karst topography, which is geological formation shaped by the dissolution of a layer or layers of soluble bedrock. A 70acre portion of the park was designated the Ha Ha Tonka Karst Natural Area in 1981.HistoryThe Ha Ha Tonka castle was started by Robert McClure Snyder, Sr. in 1905. He was a Kansas City businessman who purchased the area which was known by Native Americans in the area as "ha ha tonka" which supposedly means "laughing waters," alluding to the springs below the castle. Following his death in an auto accident in 1906, the castle was completed by his sons Robert, Jr.; LeRoy, and Kenneth in the late 1920s. The building was used as a hotel until it was destroyed by fire in 1942. The state purchased the castle and grounds in 1978 and opened it to the public as a state park. The water tower was repaired in 2004, with a new roof installed, and the castle walls have been stabilized. The ruins can be seen from an observation point across from the post office.
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  • The ruins of the old castle are great to explore and hiking the trail up and down the hillside is fun. 
  • I was absolutely fascinated by the sense of history preserved at the ruins and the breathtaking views of this park. Even on a chilly day, it was well worth the trip. I'll be back with my kids. 
  • The story and ruins of the castle, carriage house, and water tower were fascinating. The views were outstanding but would be even better in the spring/summer/fall. Disappointed the visitor center was ...  more »
  • Numerous well marked trails. Many were blacktop. Most were easy walking. Nice views. Neat old castle ruins. Didn't camp, just walked the trails.
  • What a great park, we had a great time walking several of the trails. Some of the trails are strenuous and you need to be careful, others are peaceful easy walks with great views. I would definitely come back to this park.
  • One of the best State Parks in Missouri, with great trails and interesting sites to see. It is a bit more crowded these days, but if you go for the seemingly less interesting trails, you can avoid much of that. The castle ruins are no longer accessible, but you can get up close still.
  • Great place to explore! Features turn of century castle ruins, walking trails, natural spring, caves and right next to lake or the ozarks. Lots of historical information at this place.
  • We visit the State park several times a wife and I bring our dog Gracie Lou with us,and Have a big time fun day. Most of the trails are regularly maintained and the place is clean.Sunday is the busiest time of week for Haha Tonka. It is worth the drive,that's for sure.