Ha Ha Tonka State Park Named Most Beautiful Place in Missouri

by

comment
Ha Ha Tonka State Park: truly gorgeous. - FLICKR/HEATH CAJANDIG

Most Missourians have taken at least one weekend trip to the Lake of the Ozarks. While fewer have ventured to Ha Ha Tonka State Park (1491 State Highway D), the nearby destination was recently named the most beautiful spot in all of Missouri by Condé Nast Traveler.

The travel site compiled the 50 most beautiful places in all 50 states, with gorgeous photos to prove its point. Ha Ha Tonka is in good company: Glacier National Park and Lake Tahoe also made the grade.



Ha Ha Tonka, which attracts more than 520,000 visitors annually, is home to 14 hiking trails, a skeleton of a 20th century mansion, a number of sinkholes, bluffs and caves, a natural bridge and a spring that pumps out more than 48 million gallons of water every day. This large spring is the park’s namesake: Ha Ha Tonka is derived from the local Osage Native American phrase meaning “laughing waters.” Several years ago, the park also won the title of fourth-best state park in America by USA Today.

Photos of the park often focus on the remains of a castle-like building atop a tall bluff. The building has its own history, intended as a country escape for wealthy businessman Robert M. Snyder, who died before the project was completed. After it was finished in 1942, the building operated for years as a hotel.



Ha Ha Tonka State Park is accessible by both water and land, with endless opportunities for hiking, swimming, picnicking, boating, fishing and more. The park is open year round between 7 a.m. and dark.

Full of natural wonders, landscapes and wildlife, Ha Ha Tonka is the ideal destination for geologists and biologists of all levels. (Plus, admission is free!)

To learn more, check out the park's website.
  • Sign up for our weekly newsletters to get the latest on the news, things to do and places to eat delivered right to your inbox.
  • Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Riverfront Times works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of St. Louis and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep St. Louis' true free press free.