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Ha Ha Tonka State Park, Camdenton

(500+ reviews on the web)
State Park Nature / Park
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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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • I would like to thank Betty St the front desk for making our stay great .she was very helpful in making my reservations and informing us on everything that was available.  more »
  • Unfortunately, we were not able to stay long with the nasty weather rolling in. However, we made it to the castle ruins and were quite captivated. The walk is a bit steep, but we were able to make it ...  more »
  • We went to see the fire-ravaged ruins, which we found interesting and well worth the trip and the hike. We liked the park so much we went back to hike different trails the next day so we could see mor...  more »
Google
  • Some of the trails were challenging but most were not too difficult. We wished there were more maps (we got lost and so did some other folks!) But overall it's manageable and clean. It was more uphill in some places, so wear good shoes. The views were beautiful though! We wished it had been bigger or more cohesive. It wasn't as smooth of a hike as we thought, but it was definitely enjoyable and overall a good experience.
  • This is a wild, beautiful park that was once the playground of a very rich man. It's best to visit when temps are mild as there's a bit of walking involved. It's a large park with a burnt castle, cliffs, caves, a natural bridge, numerous hiking trails, and a large spring that runs into Lake of the Ozarks. It's beautiful. Visit if you can.
  • The views and the history behind it all is amazing. I've gone here since I was a child and now bring my children. The trails are nice. Sucks that they blocked off the castle even more now though.
  • Nice, clean park, suitable for hanging out with the family. The spring is interesting and you can also enjoy fishing in some areas. There are also multiple BBQ designated areas, some with a very good view of the area.
  • So much stuff to see. This place was amazing! Lots of walking and hiking. Great place to pack a lunch and go get away for a while.