See three Missouri state parks receiving top online reviews

The “five-bubble” rating on TripAdvisor can be difficult to attain. But three Missouri state parks with at least 100 reviews on TripAdvisor have an average rating of five bubbles, the top possible score on the travel review site.

As August arrives and Missourians look for last-minute summer getaways, here’s a snapshot of three state parks that come highly recommended by online reviewers:

Ha Ha Tonka State Park

Located in Camdenton, Ha Ha Tonka spans 3,741 acres and offers amenities including:

  • 13 different hiking trails
  • A fishing dock
  • Two picnic shelters
  • Special use camping area for youth groups

The park features hiking trails for visitors of all skill levels. These trails are filled with various geological features, like a 100-foot-tall natural bridge …


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… and a cave shelter called Devil’s Kitchen.

The park also has the ruins of a 1905 European stone castle, perched on a rocky bluff overlooking the Lake of the Ozarks.

Elephant Rocks State Park

Occupying about 134 acres in Belleview, about 90 miles southeast of downtown St. Louis, Elephant Rocks features:

  • Two easy hikes
  • Scattered picnic sites
  • A designated area for rappelling, rock climbing and bouldering

The name of this state park refers to its topography. The park has multiple 20- to 30-foot-tall tall granite rocks that stand in a line like a train of circus elephants.

Big Boulders 🐘

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This massive amount of granite was mined in the late 19th century and early 20th century, and one of the hikes leads to the ruins of an old engine house that was used to service the mining operation.

The 1890 engine house that serviced quarries down the trail at Elephant Rock State Park is always a treat to visit because of its yummy textures. I love to observe how the pink granite is put together like a puzzle. As you walk along, the windows play optic games with your eyes as peering through one reveals the succession of others out into the bright green forest, ever changing as your position changes. It is almost as if the trees are there to support the structure so it can continue to stand the test of time. #railroad #elephantrock #elephantrocksstatepark #missouri #visitmo #southeastmissouri #Missourionly #just_unitedstates #missourilife #missouriliving #missourihistory #exploremissouri #historictown #missouri_pic #missouriadventure #showmestate #midwestliving

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Katy Trail State Park

Built along the corridor that the former Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad once followed, the trail runs about 240 miles between Machens in eastern Missouri and Clinton in the west-central part of the state. It includes:

  • Public and privately owned campsites are adjacent to the trail
  • 26 trail heads
  • Four fully restored railroad depots

The trail is frequented by bikers and hikers, and horses are permitted on certain sections. When navigating the trail, you can expect views of the Missouri River as well as trees and bluffs.

Depending on your preference, the trail can offer a day trip or a multi-day voyage across Missouri.

If you want more information about any of these Missouri State Parks, check out Missouri’s Department of Natural Resources’ state park website.

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