Thousand Hills State Park, Kirksville

#36 of 61 in Nature in Missouri
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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Thousand Hills State Park Reviews
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57 reviews
  • July 23, 2017
    We took our camper and camped in campground 2 at site 57. Got in late so checked in with host at campground 1 next morning. They were both VERY friendly, welcoming, and wished us a nice stay. Our camp...  more »
  • July 10, 2017
    Had a good time. The beach area was clean and not that busy at the time we were there. We did kayaking and also rented a boat.  more »
  • July 10, 2017
    I love going out to Thousand Hills state park. I have eaten at the lodge and the food is fantastic. The view of the lake as you dine is breathtaking. I also enjoy just driving around the lake at dusk ...  more »
  • June 14, 2017
    Beautiful State Park facility! This park has a wonderful lake (90hp limit) for boating, canoeing, or kayaking. It has a swimming area (no lifeguard) with a sandy rocky beach. It has pavilions, camp sites, cabins to rent, and a nice restaurant overlooking the water. The only downside is that sometimes in the late hottest part of the summer, the water has cleanliness issues.....
  • June 14, 2017
    Nice marina, lots of fun options and good selection of stuff in the store. The swimming beach looked fun, although we didn't have time to enjoy it. The petroglyphs are worth a look, especially if you have any history buffs in your group!
  • June 30, 2017
    Great campground. Has playground for kids. Clean showers and restrooms. Nice lake to fish and swim. Plenty of places to BBQ.
  • May 26, 2017
    The SP was fine. however our experience with the marina has resulted in my party (of 8) of people never returning. They were rude and not helpful, condisending and insulting. I will never return or recommend it this lake to anyone. NO JOKE!!! I was so upset over our experience (may 22-26, 2010) that I even wrote a letter of complaint to the city hall. Don't go here if you want any experience on the water.
  • June 20, 2017
    Prices for camping are good. Swimming is awesome. Hiking is beautiful. All around beautiful place

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