Ha Ha Tonka - Beyond the Castle (Other Features You Should Know About)

Have you been to Ha Ha Tonka? At Lake Ozark Vacation Destination we know it is a favorite attraction at the Lake of the Ozarks for people across the state.  If you have not been there, you definitely should make it a point to visit the Lake of the Ozarks and go and explore!  If you have been to Ha Ha Tonka, have you ventured beyond the castle or the Spring? Granted, they are so cool by themselves you could enjoy them for years and never need anything more.  But Ha Ha Tonka has so many features within a small geographical area that even locals rarely know all there is to see there.  In today’s blog, we thought we would share 5 special places in the park we think you would love to experience!

photo credit: Fun Lake MO

1) The Island

The Island is between the Spring Trail and the castle bluff.  The trail circles around the whole island and will give you a close up view the water from after it comes out of the spring to where it hits the lake.  This is the waterway you see when you look down from the castle and see the rapids.  The trail winds from high on the hill to right at the water’s edge and even passes near the entrance of a cave.  The Balancing Rock is another feature you on the island that is worth checking out as well.  

2) The Stairs

If you have ever been to the end of the Spring Trail where the actual spring is?  Many of us have seen the stairs going up into the woods beyond our view.  But have you ever ventured up them?  It is recommended that you be in good physical condition to do so.  But you can start at the top and go down.  Of course you still have to get back up to where you parked, but you can come back up another way that is more gradual.  In fact, the top of those stairs start on a trail that connects to the Natural Bridge, and the Castle.  Or, if you go the other direction, it will go by the Post Office area and down to the boat docks area. These stairs that seem to go on forever, actually kind of tie everything together. 

photo credit: Fun Lake MO

3) The Natural Bridge

To get to the Natural Bridge by car, you will turn left before you head up the hill to the castle.  But as mentioned, you can hike there from the Spring Trail or docks, or down from the castle.  You can even start a hike from near the Post Office and get to the Natural Bridge through a great little valley or sinkhole.

photo credit: Fun Lake MO

4) The Devil’s Kitchen

If you stand in the parking lot of the Natural Bridge trailhead and look across the highway, you will see another tiny parking lot.  You can take the trail that leads to the Devil’s Kitchen from that parking lot.  Eventually, the trail will come back out behind the Post Office.  There are several other trails to choose from there besides the one that goes to the Devil’s Kitchen, too.  

5) The Quarry Trail

You will find this trail just off the backside of the castle.  It goes past where the rock for the castle was quarried and brought to the build site on rail carts by mules.  You will pass through some beautiful glades which will be covered with wildflowers in the spring.  Then you will come down to the lakeside where you will be able to see the public fishing docks and pavilion on the other side of the cove.  This is also a nice way to get up to the castle if you are coming by boat or kayak as there are slips available for temporary parking.

So, when you visit Ha Ha Tonka, don’t just see the castle and think that is all there is to it.  Venture out on some of the trails and see what else there is to find.  You will be amazed and intrigued, and you may just have to come back and explore something new every time you visit the Lake of the Ozarks.  When you are ready to come and play, we have the best vacation rentals at the Lake of the Ozarks and we are all about helping connect visitors with great places to stay while they make memories here in the Ozarks.  Call today to find out more and follow us on social media using the links below to stay informed with the latest news and tips!

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