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Lake of the Ozarks

The Gateway to the West, Missouri draws independent spirits with a thirst for adventure

South Missouri’s dramatic Ozark Mountains combine heart-stopping scenery with adrenaline-fueled adventure. Between the Rocky Mountains and the Appalachians, the Ozarks Plateau (or Ozarks Uplift) is the largest elevated landmass in the United States. At the center of it all is Lake of the Ozarks, a fantastic playground for boating enthusiasts, spelunkers, hikers and more.

Lake of the Ozarks State Park sprawls across 17,000 acres and encompasses 85 miles of shoreline, with public access to two beaches and boat-launching areas. If you prefer subterranean environments to water, go underground to the many caves in the area. Formed from geological processes over thousands of years, more than 5,000 caves tunnel beneath the Ozarks region and tempt seasoned explorers from all corners of the world, which explains Missouri’s moniker, “the Cave State.”


Missouri Division of Tourism

Lake of the Ozarks State Park

Established in the 1930s, Lake of the Ozarks State Park is the largest state park in Missouri and a naturalist’s dreamscape. Encompassing 80 miles of scenic lake frontage, this breathtaking park boasts a staggering diversity of natural landscapes and geological features, ranging from open, grassy meadows to rugged, oak-hickory-dense forests. Visitors can explore dry, shallow-soiled glades, underground caves, and streams and springs.

Popular activities in the Ozarks include horseback riding, mountain biking, picnicking, boating and swimming. A 12-mile tapestry of hiking trails traverses the park’s dramatic landscapes.

Two marinas in the park offer boat rentals for fishing or water skiing, as well as deck boats, kayaks and canoes. For boaters, the Aquatic Trail at Lake of the Ozarks outlines 14 distinctive features marked by buoys along the lakeshore.


Missouri Division of Tourism

Going Deep

At the park’s southern end, Ozark Caverns is one of the area’s most popular attractions. Extraordinary formations found within the caverns include Angel Showers, a flow of water that cascades from the solid rock ceiling into two stone basins.

While the majority of Ozark’s caves are “wild” caves (meaning no handrails or manicured pathways, and certainly no high heels), there are several “show” caves that make the experience safer for families. In Camdenton, Bridal Cave is deemed one of the most scenic caves in the United States. Named for the legend of a 19th-century Osage Indian betrothal ceremony performed within the cave, the subterranean area’s romantic aura has seduced more than 2,000 couples who have exchanged nuptials in the breathtaking Bridal Chapel.

The largest cave in the Ozarks, Jacob’s Cave is the only walk-through cave in Missouri that is accessible to persons with disabilities. One-mile tours of Jacob’s Cave reveal evidence of six ice ages and three earthquakes.

Eager to explore surrounding attractions? Stegall Mountain Natural Area to the southeast boasts several photo opportunities, including the stunning Rocky Falls.

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Lake of the Ozarks




Missouri Division of Tourism