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“Beautiful spring, "castle" not worth it”

Ha Ha Tonka State Park
Ranked #1 of 13 things to do in Camdenton
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Owner description: Imposing architecture and breathtaking scenery combine to make Ha Ha Tonka State Park one of Missouri’s most treasured spots. Located on the Lake of the Ozarks, the park features the stone ruins of a turn-of-the-20th-century castle built by a prominent Kansas City businessman high atop a bluff. More than 15 miles of trails traverse the park, leading visitors to sinkholes, natural bridges, caves and down to the lake.
Useful Information: Activities for older children, Activities for young children
Reviewed September 18, 2013

Initially was drawn here to see the ruins of the "castle", only to find out it was just someone's mansion from like the 1940s that burnt down in the 1970s. Not saying it's not interesting to dream that could have been my home, but just not worth it to me (I was hoping for like 1800s, true history in my opinion). the "castle" is handicap accessible.
What was well worth it, and very well deserving of 5 stars are the trails and the natural beauty of the park.
There's a large natural bridge that you can easily walk under (the trail goes right through it). It was very tall and beautiful hidden within the woods. The bridge is right off the main road (Hwy D, I think it was), only maybe like 20 feet in.
There's a spring. I had never seen a spring before and guess I just figured it wouldn't be anything than just some water, like a creek, no big deal. But was I ever wrong! It was absolutely beautiful! The bright blue of the water, Super clear, even my crappy camera phone could take pictures of it - seeing straight through it. You walk on one side to see it, and the other side is a very tall bluff (the one the "castle" is on) that just makes it even more beautiful.
There's an "island" (they call it an island, but I don't really think it is one). The trails on it on more challenging. If you go on the island trails you can get to the mouth of spring. Despite being busy the day we were there, no one else seemed to take the trail to go to it - but I thought it was well worth it. Once again, beautiful views of the spring and of where the spring feeds into the Lake of Ozarks. People were stepping into the spring here (it's fenced, you're not suppose to go in any further up near the source), and letting it's current sweep them into the Lake. We hiked the trails on the island along side the spring, or so we thought, it turned out to be a path (oops) to the island cave.
The cave on the island, not worth it. it's like a 2 foot opening, at best, with a large grate over the top of it. It's harder to get to, and isn't much to see. There's garbage & graffiti (sadly), and a grate with a sign next to that basically says, do not enter.
The path to where the spring comes out of the hill is a very easy (and handicap accessible) path. Beautiful once again. There's a 300 step or so staircase (a ridiculously large amount of stairs) to go up the hill. Beautiful views if you can make it up that high - it is a workout. And there's alot of fun facts about the park & how it was formed and it's natural formations.

Highly recommend the park for the spring and it's natural beauty.
I don't get the "castle", I think it's a bust.
The park was somewhat busy - the "castle" and the easily accessible trail to the spring were busy, but the actual trails through the park and oddly, the natural bridge (go see it!) were not.
Bring water! There's a bubbler (water fountain) by the "castle" but that's it.

Thank Nicole G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed September 11, 2013

The day we went it was very hot, but no matter the weather, this is one park everyone should see! While the castle was mostly in full sun, there were shaded walking paths that allowed even more stunning views.
There is a sign that states that parking is limited and this is absolutely true! If you don't get in the first parking lot, the alternative is down a steep hill about an eighth of a mile.

After the castle we drove down to the spring entrance and walked the one mile trail to reach the spring. It was just beautiful. We saw wild Missouri orchids and wild ginger growing along the path. We never caught sight of him, but we heard the Prairie Warbler who sang and sang.
It was upsetting to note that some people used the path as their own private trash can. We saw everything from dirty diapers to plastic soda bottles.

We weren't really dressed for a long walk in the hot humid day, but the path was relatively easy and wide. It was paved, but tree roots have broken through in some places making this a walk that would prove hard for someone in a wheelchair or someone who has trouble walking.

We're still talking about how beautiful the park was!

1  Thank SharingDetails
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 11, 2013

absolutely a beautiful place to go. wonderful place for pictures. lots of views. walk ways. the castle ruins are my favorite. there is an old water tower and ruins of the carriage house. drive down past the blue springs and walk the shaded pathways and you can see the castle ruins from the other side sitting high on the cliff. the natural bridge is also there. lots to look at. several hiking trails.

Thank ksrudd1962
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 7, 2013 via mobile

This is a great park to visit; many hiking options; beautiful views; an interesting ruins of a mansion built high on a bluff in the park. Some trail markings weren't as clear as we would have liked, but we figured it out...

Thank Carhydancer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 28, 2013

We had a great time hiking all the trails with our kids! Beautiful scenery and interesting history! My kids (5 and 7) loved leading the way on the trails. It was a fun adventure together!

Thank Kelly605
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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