MO– 134, Kaiser, Missouri
Created in the 1930s after the damming of the Osage River, the Lake of the Ozarks is the largest state park in Missouri. The park’s more than 17,000 acres embrace the Grand Glaize arm of the lake and the surrounding Osage River Hills. The landscape includes open woodlands, glades, caves, and bluffs eroded by the Grand Glaize Creek.
The park also offers 12 trails of varying lengths for horseback riders (a stable on Rte. 134 near the campground offers guided trail rides), hikers, mountain bikers, and backpackers.
The Trail of Four Winds features a scenic overlook of the valley, while the Woodland Trail tours the Patterson Hollow Wild Area, an untouched wilderness of old meadows and oak and sassafras woodland.
The park also contains the Ozark Caverns cave system, which features unusual stalactite formations, and Angels’ Showers, waterfalls descending from apparently solid rock. A guided one-hour tour covers 11/2 miles, where you may see sleeping bats, bear claw marks, and the same speleological wonders the first explorers did.
Open year-round, cave closed mid– Oct– mid-Apr. Admission charged for cave tours.