Scenic USA - Missouri

Ha Ha Tonka State Park

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Ha Ha Tonka State Park - Missouri

Photos by Ben Prepelka

     Land of the laughing waters to the Osage Indians, Lake of the Ozarks today's Ha Ha Tonka State Park is one of Missouri's most popular. Filled with natural wonders, water related activities, the Ha Ha Tonka Castle ruins and nearly 20 miles of well blazed trails, visitors will find plenty of marvelous sites to explore here in west-central Missouri.
     First proposed in 1909 as a state Park by Governor Herbert S. Hadley, Ha Ha Tonka Castle Arch with water tower in the distance it would take another 70 years before the public could enjoy this park's natural wonders. Working in real estate, oil, cattle and banking, the Kansas City businessman Robert McClure Snyder saw the potential of the Ha Ha Tonka Spring area. Envisioning a European style castle overlooking the gorge area of Ha Ha Tonka Spring (and eventually a section of the Lake of the Ozarks - inset), Snyder purchased 5,000 acres of this woodland paradise. Shortly after construction began in 1905, Snyder was killed in one of the first automobile accidents in Kansas. His sons carried on Snyder's dream, completing the Ha Ha Tonka Natural Bridge three story castle, stone stables, greenhouses and an 80 foot water tower. Unfortunately, the hotel and stables burned in 1942, with only the stone walls surviving today.
     A premier showcase for Missouriís karst geology, the park's natural wonders include a 70 foot natural bridge (inset), Missouri's 12th largest spring (a bubbling Ha Ha Tonka Spring), a huge sinkhole called the Coliseum, the Whispering Dell sink basin, 19 caves that include Robber's Cave and Counterfeiterís Cave, and a diverse network of woodland and glade habitats.

   Area Map
   Park Map


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