Explore Parks Across Missouri

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Whether you prefer the warm, sunny days of spring and summer or the cool, crisp temperatures of fall and winter, Missouri’s parks and natural areas are open for adventure year-round. From one of the country’s largest city parks to dozens of state parks, conservation areas, national forests and wildlife refuges, there’s plenty of room to explore in the Show-Me State.


A. Weston Bend State Park

Hiking trails and a paved hiking and cycling trail traverse Weston Bend State Park, a short drive from the town of Weston. The park features a handicapped accessible scenic overlook that offers the most expansive view of the Missouri River in the state. Because the park is located along a forested river corridor, it’s an excellent birding spot, especially during spring and fall migrations.

B. Loess Bluffs National Wildlife Refuge

Covering more than 7,000 acres, the Loess Bluffs National Wildlife Refuge is a resting, feeding and breeding ground for migratory birds and other wildlife. The refuge, located near Mound City, is home to 301 bird species (including nesting bald eagles), 33 mammal species, and 35 reptile and amphibian species. During spring and fall migrations, the wetlands attract as many as 400,000 snow geese and 100,000 ducks. During the fall and winter, more than 400 bald eagles have been spotted.

C. Crowder State Park

Located four miles west of Trenton, Crowder State Park is located in the rolling green hills of northern Missouri. The park features camping, hiking, mountain biking and equestrian trails, an organized group camp, picnic sites and shelters, and a lake for fishing.


A. Forest Park – St. Louis

With 1,371 acres to explore, Forest Park in St. Louis is one of the largest urban parks in the United States – approximately 500 acres larger than Central Park in New York City. Forest Park is home to the Saint Louis Art Museum; the Science Center; the world-famous Saint Louis Zoo; the Jewel Box greenhouse; the Missouri History Museum; The Muny open-air theatre; biking, jogging and skating paths; an ice-skating rink; a golf course; lakes; and other activities.

B. Thousand Hills State Park

Enjoy a variety of outdoor activities, including hiking and mountain biking, at Thousand Hills State Park, located near Kirksville. The area is home to large populations of deer that you might see while out exploring. During the warmer months, take advantage of Forest Lake. It has a swimming beach and a marina that offers boat, kayak and canoe rentals.

C. Mark Twain State Park

Scenic views from limestone bluffs and woodlands await at Mark Twain State Park, near Florida, Missouri. Located on Mark Twain Lake, the park features campsites, camper cabins, an organized group camp, fishing, a boat ramp, hiking trails, a beach, and picnic areas and shelters. Mark Twain Birthplace State Historic Site is located in the park.


A. St. Joe State Park

Off-road vehicle (ORV) riders can zoom across 2,000 acres of trails at St. Joe State Park, near Park Hills. In addition to one of the largest ORV areas in the Midwest, the park offers camping; equestrian camping; lakes for fishing and swimming; picnicking; hiking, equestrian and bicycle trails, and a radio-controlled airplane field.

B. Mingo National Wildlife Refuge and Wilderness

The 21,592-acre refuge lies in a basin formed in an ancient channel of the Mississippi River. Hunting, fishing, hiking, wildlife observation, and wildlife photography are encouraged in the Wilderness Area; it is the largest remaining tract of bottomland hardwood forest in Missouri.

C. Ozark National Scenic Riverways

The Ozark National Scenic Riverways is America's first federally designated national park for the preservation of a wild river system. The park encompasses more than 80,000 acres around two spring-fed rivers: the Current River and its major tributary, the Jacks Fork River. Outdoor activities include camping, swimming, fishing, canoeing and hiking.


A. Stockton State Park

Stockton State Park overlooks Stockton Lake. A steady breeze across the Springfield plateau makes this park a favorite among sailing enthusiasts. It offers camping, camper and duplex cabins, picnic sites and shelters, dining, a marina, a beach, hiking and mountain biking trails, and fishing.

B. George Washington Carver National Monument

Authorized by Congress in 1943, George Washington Carver National Monument preserves the birthplace and legacy of the famed African American scientist, educator and humanitarian. Park facilities include a visitor center and museum, gift shop, walking trail and picnic area. On the property, you can visit the 1881 Moses Carver house and the Carver Cemetery (George Washington Carver is buried at Tuskegee University in Alabama). Daily tours and special events are offered year round.


A. Lake of the Ozarks State Park

Missouri's largest state park, Lake of the Ozarks State Park has 89 miles of shoreline, two swimming beaches, boat-launching areas, marinas, campgrounds, camper cabins and two yurts. You’ll also find hiking, mountain biking and equestrian trails; tours of Ozark Caverns; trail rides; and organized group camps at the park, located near Osage Beach.

B. Trail of Tears Memorial, Laughlin Park and Roubidoux River

Storyboards along a one-mile paved path at the Trail of Tears Memorial & Interpretive Walking Trail near Waynesville recount the journey of the Cherokee Nation during 1838-1839. Laughlin Park offers trout fishing in the Roubidoux River (Missouri fishing license required); an underwater cave open for scuba diving (permission from the sheriff's department required); and a picnic area.

C. Rock Bridge Memorial State Park

Find fascinating geologic formations at Rock Bridge State Memorial Park, five miles south of Columbia. A boardwalk and several trails travel past numerous sinkholes and springs to a natural rock bridge at the 2,272-acre day-use park. The park has trails for hiking, horseback riding and mountain biking. You can also explore Conner’s Cave. Picnic sites are available throughout the park.