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Thousand Hills State Park, Kirksville
(4.3/5 based on 50+ reviews on the web)
Thousand Hills State Park is a 3215acre Missouri state park located in Adair County, two miles (3 km) west of Kirksville. The park features 703acre Forrest Lake and Native American petroglyphs.HistoryIn 1950, the nearby city of Kirksville was in need of a larger and more reliable water supply than the Chariton River could provide. Following voter passage of a special bond issue, land was acquired to construct a dam across Big Creek, a tributary of the Chariton. Upon completion in summer 1952, the new body of water was named Forrest Lake in honor of Missouri Governor Forrest Smith. The family of local physician George Laughlin donated surrounding the lake for the establishment of a recreation area. The city of Kirksville matched the donation by purchasing an additional. The lands were presented to the state of Missouri free of charge in return for the promise of establishing a state park. Upon its official dedication in July 1953, it was named Thousand Hills State Park, in honor of Doctor Laughlin's Thousand Hills Farm that had formerly occupied the land.PetroglyphsA series of Native American rock carvings, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, can be found in an enclosed observation and interpretation center. The carvings are estimated to date back at least 1,500 years.Activities and amenitiesThe park's lake is used for fishing, swimming, and both motorized and non-motorized boating. A marina offers boat and equipment rentals. Two campgrounds provide a total of 57 campsites. Overnight accommodations are also offered at seven duplex cabins. Trails are available for hiking and bicycling and include the Forest Lake Trail, which is being developed in cooperation with the community volunteer organization FLATS (Forest Lake Area Trail System).
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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • Lots of different outdoor shelters with picnic tables and grills. The lake you drive around and can stop at two different playground areas. Early morning or evening you usually see deer and geese. Can...  more »
  • Hiking, swimming, a marina, restaurant. Perfect getaway for college kids less than 10 miles from campus. 
  • Easy access to Forest Lake within Thousand Hills State Park. Lots of wildlife, especially deer. Great hiking trails and good fishing. Boat rental is available, as are pavilions for picnics and BBQs. T...  more »
Google
  • Great lake and park with a pretty sad campground. The lake is awesome; it's huge, beautiful, relatively clean, has a little swimming beach, good little quiet spots to sit/fish, and you can rent canoes/kayaks. The visit to this park is worth it for the lake alone. However, the campground was disappointing; lots of weird tent campsites with nowhere to set up a tent, loud drunken partying and a bit noisy at night, kind of crummy hosts, and some pretty unfriendly locals. If you are going to tent camp, make sure you see your campsite site before reserving it - or get there early to pick one out.
  • Quiet, pleasant, accommodating. We went for nice dinner celebrating a year at my job. The food and service were good. My steak was cooked the way I like it and very tender. My stepdaughter wanted to try something new so she got the salmon and loved it. We had a pleasant experience and it was a nice time. It brought back a bunch of nostalgia for me growing up around there, but hadn't been back to the restaurant in several years.
  • A great place to hang out outdoors! Tons of walking trails, a great restaurant, and kayak/canoe rental.
  • Beautiful park and lake. I suggest kayaking and swimming in the lake in the summer months. Also, there is good hiking and mountain biking along the trail system. Leave campus and explore.
  • A beautiful campground with great hiking trails.