Located in Camdenton, Missouri, not too far from the Lake of the Ozarks, Ha Ha Tonka State Park is a hidden gem with a blend of natural beauty and rugged terrain and landscapes, and intriguing and mystifying castle ruins.

Ha Ha Tonka State Park’s Natural Beauty

A drive through the park will captivate you with limestone bluffs and natural bridges, creating a diverse and beautiful landscape. In the lower section, you will notice the lake area, sourced from Ha Ha Tonka Spring, and contributing to the spectacular geological features.

A Natural Bridge

Why Is It Called Ha Ha Tonka?

It seems Ha Ha Tonka means Laughing Waters, a name derived from the Osage Nation, one of several nations who inhabited the area way before a castle was built and it became a park.

Intriguing Castle Ruins

One of the park’s most interesting features is the ruins of a turn-of-the-century stone mansion, modeled after European castles.

Castle Ruins at Ha Ha Tonka State Park

Construction was started by a Kansas City businessman in the early 1900’s to be used as a retreat or getaway; unfortunately, the owner, Robert Snyder Sr, was killed in an accident, and building of the castle was finished by his sons. It was later used as a hotel; at which time the castle and carriage house were destroyed by fire.  Many years later the tower was vandalized.

Water Tower

The castle and grounds were purchased by the state in 1978 and the area was opened to the public as a State Park, which is enjoyed by many today. You can read a little more about the history here.

Scenic Overlooks and Trails

Ha Ha Tonka State Park has over 3500 acres, offering trails, scenic overlooks, and a natural bridge. It is a beautiful area and perfect for those who would like to get away from the hustle and bustle and spend time in nature.

View of Lake from the Castle Area

Good to Know

There is a Visitors Center with a small gift shop. This is a great place to get information about the park and activities.  

Boating, fishing and swimming are allowed.

There are many hiking trails throughout the park.

It is a short walk to view the castle ruins, carriage house and water tower.

There are picnic areas and camping is permitted at designated campsites.

For more information on Ha Ha Tonka State Park, activities, trails and more you can visit their website here.


Ha Ha Tonka State Park is an interesting place to visit, offering mystique and history as well as wide open space for the hiker or those who enjoy the outdoors. It is an easy day trip if you live in the St Louis area.

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