Rain pounding down on dolomite rocks has created some pretty amazing geological features at Lake of the Ozarks State Park. Streams, rivers, and springs have also done their share of carving–so much so, in fact, that the natural beauty of walking trails in this park is unique.
Hikes and walking trails in the park are popular year-round, and today in Saskatchewan, with the weather forecast predicting another winter Arctic front will arrive shortly, I thought it was a perfect time to revisit them and soak up some summer greenery and sunshine with a photo tour.
Hikes and Walking Trails in Lake of the Ozarks State Park
Lake of the Ozarks State Park actually has 12 different hiking trails. They range from over 12 miles to less than half a mile, so there’s a distance to suit everyone. Along with hiking and walking, the trails are also used for:
- Wheelchairs (Fawn’s Ridge Trail, 1 mile)
- Backpacking with designated backpacking camp area (Woodland Trail, 3.25 miles)
- Boating (Aquatic Trail, 9.75 miles)
- Cycling (Honey Run Trail, 1 mile)
- Horseback riding (Hidden Springs Trail, 1.25 miles; Trail of Four Winds, 1 mile; White Oak Trail, 1 mile)
On my visit, I hiked the Coakly Hollow walking trails using the interpretive guide to the eight marked points on the map. The trail starts right at the Visitor Center, so is easy to find.
The swinging bridge is a suspension bridge over a stream that originates at Mill Spring–its temperature stays at about 55 degrees year round. Oak and hickory trees surround the area.
The Coakley Hollow Fen is a unique type of wetland created when calcareous groundwater seeps out to the soil surface. While Saskatchewan has lots of wetlands and wildlife that inhabit this type of natural community, I found the fen’s 50 different native plant species very different from home.
Coakley Hollow Trail is located in the northwestern region of the Salem Plateau, a Missouri region characterized by ancient streams, springs and rivers.
The boardwalk protects the natural communities while still allowing visitors to experience the geologic variety along the trail. Near this part of the trail you’ll also find the remnants of a dam built by the original Irish settler, Coakley, who used it to power a gristmill in the 1870s.
Various wildflowers abound on the walking trails in the park in vivid contrast to the beautiful green foliage.
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Lake of the Ozarks State Park Video
Coakley Hollow Trail is just one of the many outdoor activities you’ll experience in Lake of the Ozarks State Park. This video gives you a quick overview of the whole park.
As well as hikes and walking trails, you can also experience the fascinating Ozark Caverns underground cave. The caverns, like Coakley Hollow Trail, are situated right at the Visitor Center, so they’re both easy to find. You can read about my cave experience at Lake of the Ozarks — Ozark Caverns Cave Tour and Bats.
I’d like to thank the Missouri Division of Tourism (http://www.visitmo.com/), Lake of the Ozarks Tri-County Lodging Association (http://www.funlake.com/) and Lake of the Ozarks CVB (http://www.funlake.com/) for hosting my trip.