Missouri State Park recommendations (want answer fast)

My teacher friend and I are thinking of camping next week (it is spring break).
Last year we went to Petit Jean Sate Park in Arkansas which is a very nice park. Unfortunately (other than the day we drove down) it was cold and rainy (The last evening it was 37F). We did indoor activities (drove to Little Rock and tour museums and such). We did get some hikes in before it got too bad.

Although the temperatures look a LOT warmer (70s), there is still rain in the forecast (40% on Wednesday). So we are exploring maybe a shorter trip. We would be driving from Rochester, MN.

Are there any parks people can recommend. We are looking mostly for good hikes.
We will be tent camping. Don’t need an electric site. As long as there is running water nearby we are good. (flush toilets and showers a plus)


Go to http://mostateparks.com/ and click on the tent icon to see whats available.

Crowder State Park has both hiking and camping and it’s not too far from I-35 plus is in northern Missouri so it would make for a shorter drive. I’ve never been there myself.

Thousands Hills might be another one.

I’ll be doing the 250 miles of the Katy Trail State Park for the 4th year in a row in June. If you wanted some cycling, I’d recommend almost any part of that park.

Van Meter State Park, one of my favorites. Fairly small campground as MO parks go, but very little used. Has some old Indian mounds (see description in link) which can be hiked to. Also has the old Van Meter family cemetery, very interesting glimpse of a different era (i.e., check birth/death dates, single-name marker [slave? servant?] in the corner, etc.).

Then go into the town of Marshall and check out the Jim The Wonder Dog Memorial Park. Fascinating true story of an exceptional animal.

ETA: It’s a lovely park w/ grass, trees, critters and such, which is the norm for almost all MO state parks. But some of this is stuff you won’t find anywhere else

For something quite different, a longer drive will take you to Prairie State Park (still not as far as Arkansas, though). Lovely green camp & picnic area, grass and trees surrounded by a creek. The rest of the park is tallgrass prairie, with a resident bison herd of ~100 head (which you could see if you can find them) and a resident elk herd. If you’re into hiking on the prairie instead of through the woods, this is the place.

Thanks for the ideas. Crowder showers and such don’t open until the 15th. (and it looks relatively cold starting Tuesday)

The bad WX Wednesday is the main issue at the moment. Looks a little better in the east. My friend isn’t feeling the best so Monday is our earliest leave date


Unfortunately, we decided that the rain chances were too high to risk an 8+ hour drive. That is 5 more vacation days I can spend later.