Ha Ha Tonka State Park

Coordinates: 37°58′08″N 92°46′09″W / 37.96889°N 92.76917°W / 37.96889; -92.76917
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Ha Ha Tonka State Park
The "castle" ruins at Ha Ha Tonka
Map showing the location of Ha Ha Tonka State Park
Map showing the location of Ha Ha Tonka State Park
Location in Missouri
Map showing the location of Ha Ha Tonka State Park
Map showing the location of Ha Ha Tonka State Park
Ha Ha Tonka State Park (the United States)
LocationCamden County, Missouri, United States[1]
Coordinates37°58′08″N 92°46′09″W / 37.96889°N 92.76917°W / 37.96889; -92.76917[2]
Area3,751.74 acres (15.1828 km2)[3]
Elevation705 ft (215 m)[2]
Established1978[4]
Visitors543,406 (in 2017)[3]
OperatorMissouri Department of Natural Resources
WebsiteHa Ha Tonka State Park

Ha Ha Tonka State Park is a public recreation area encompassing over 3,700 acres (1,500 ha) on the Niangua arm of the Lake of the Ozarks, about five miles south of Camdenton, Missouri, in the United States. The state park's most notable feature is the ruins of Ha Ha Tonka, an early 20th-century stone mansion that was modeled after European castles of the 16th century.

The park also features caves, sinkholes, and bluffs overlooking the lake. It is a prominent example of karst topography, which is geological formation shaped by the dissolution of a layer or layers of soluble bedrock.[5] A 70-acre (28 ha) portion of the park was designated as the Ha Ha Tonka Karst Natural Area in 1981.[6]

History[edit]

Looking up at the Ha Ha Tonka ruins

Construction of the Ha Ha Tonka castle was started in 1905 by Robert McClure Snyder Sr., a Kansas City businessman who purchased the large property after first visiting there in 1903. Alluding to the natural springs on the property, "ha ha tonka" was said to mean "big laugh" or "smiling waters."[7]

Following Snyder's death in a car accident in 1906, the castle was completed by his sons Robert Jr., LeRoy, and Kenneth Snyder in the early 1920s before the Stock Market Crash. The building was used as a summer and weekend home by the Snyder family, who lived in Kansas City. In the late 1930s, it was used as a hotel; however, it was destroyed by fire in 1942.[8]

The state purchased the castle and grounds in 1978, adapting them for use as a state park and opening them to the public. The water tower was repaired in 2004, with a new roof installed. Although the castle walls were stabilized in the 1980s, a new survey in 2016 determined that portions of the ruins including its arches were seeing mortar and stone failure with the potential beginning of collapse. Some areas have been closed off from the public.[9] The ruins can be seen from an observation point across from the park office.

Activities and amenities[edit]

The park has 15 miles of hiking trails leading to caves, sinkholes, natural bridges, and the castle. The park also features boating, fishing, and swimming.[5]

Trails[edit]

As of 2020, there are 14 trails at the park.[10]

Trail Name Description Length Notes
 Acorn Trail  Moderate hiking trail 0.9 miles
 Big Niangua River Trail  Rough trail made for paddling 13.4 miles
 Boulder Ridge Trail  Moderate hiking trail 1.5 miles
 Castle Trail  Easy trail 0.4 miles
 Cedar Trail  Moderate hiking trail 0.2 miles
 Colosseum Trail  Rugged hiking trail 0.6 miles
 Dell Rim Trail  Moderate hiking trail 0.3 miles
 Devil's Kitchen Trail  Rugged hiking trail 1.3 miles
 Island Trail  Rugged hiking trail 0.4 miles
 Oak Woodland Interpretive Trail  Easy hiking trail 0.1 miles
 Quarry Trail  Moderate hiking trail 1.7 miles
 Spring Trail  Moderate hiking trail 1.4 miles
 Turkey Pen Hollow Trail  Rugged hiking trail 6.5 miles

Gallery[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Ha Ha Tonka State Park Visitors Center". Missouri Department of Natural Resources. Retrieved October 7, 2015.
  2. ^ a b "Ha Ha Tonka State Park". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey, United States Department of the Interior.
  3. ^ a b "Ha Ha Tonka State Park: Data Sheet" (PDF). Missouri Department of Natural Resources. November 2017. Retrieved April 24, 2018.
  4. ^ "State Park Land Acquisition Summary". Missouri State Parks. Retrieved August 18, 2015.
  5. ^ a b "Ha Ha Tonka State Park". Missouri Department of Natural Resources. Retrieved September 29, 2014.
  6. ^ "Ha Ha Tonka Karst Natural Area". Missouri Department of Conservation. Retrieved April 24, 2018.
  7. ^ "Camden County Place Names, 1928–1945". The State Historical Society of Missouri. Retrieved April 24, 2018.
  8. ^ "Ha Ha Tonka State Park: Park History". Missouri Department of Natural Resources. Retrieved April 24, 2018.
  9. ^ Wilson, Amy (July 2, 2016). "Landmark ruin in need of repairs". Lake News Online. Retrieved April 24, 2018.
  10. ^ "Missouri State Parks Trail Inventory". Retrieved July 14, 2021.

External links[edit]