Lake of the Ozarks Hiking: Top Trails to Explore With Your Family

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A vacation at Lake of the Ozarks is not complete without a hike or two with your family. If you’re new to the area, you may be wondering where you can find the best Lake of the Ozarks hiking trails.

Spending a few hours in nature is a great way to relax and decompress during a break from your typical busy schedule. While the lake offers serene views and a tranquil environment, hiking through the nearby state parks can help you bond with your family and relax simultaneously.

I’ve put together a list of some of the best hiking trails nearby the condo in the beautiful Lake of the Ozarks State Park and gorgeous Ha Ha Tonka State Park so you can skip the research phase and head right into nature.

Lake of the Ozarks State Park

Less than five miles away (about an 11-minute drive) is the beautiful Lake of the Ozarks State Park. With 13 trails to choose from, varying in length from slightly under one mile (Coakley Hollow Trail) up to 13 miles, there are options for people of all ages and hiking abilities.

This park features a long list of activities, from watersports like fishing and swimming at the Grand Glaize Beach Area to Ozark caverns waiting to be explored. Spend an entire day hiking through lush, wooded areas, exploring meadows, and enjoying the tranquil sounds of the streams as you pass them.

The closest hike from the condo is the Rocky Top Trail, with the additional trails listed below on the opposite side of the lake. As these trails are quite a distance apart, visiting multiple trails including Rocky Top Trail requires additional time traveling to both sides of the lake.

Rocky Top Trail

The Rocky Top Trail is a personal favorite partially because of its proximity to the condo (about a 9-minute drive). It’s a two-mile loop trail that takes you to one of the park’s biggest glades, a large rocky clearing with wildflowers. After reaching the clearing, you’ll hike on a woodland trail full of white oak trees and asters until you reach dolomite caves offering incredible park views.

If two miles is too long, you and your family can circle back at the first loop at the ½ mile mark. Otherwise, you’ll follow two loops that will take you over small streams and nearby drop-offs. You can also extend your hike by 1.5 miles by continuing across a small ravine. This extra section will lead you to one of my favorite views of the Lake of the Ozarks.

Fawn’s Ridge Trail

Fawn’s Ridge Trail is a short yet pleasant hike that takes you through the woodlands. It’s slightly further from your accommodations than Rocky Top Trail, about a 10-minute drive to reach the trailhead.

The full length of the trail is 1.3 miles. This option is a moderately difficult trail that will take about one hour. You’ll be starting at a picnic area nearby Highway 134, where you’ll find the trailhead. This picnic area is a perfect resting spot after the hike. Don’t forget to bring some sandwiches and drinks to enjoy on a picnic table.

You can also extend the hike by following the White Oak Trail, accessible by using the White 1 connector trail.

Lakeview Bend Trail

The Lakeview Bend Trail is another looping trail that offers diverse landscapes and views of the lake. It’s about a 20-minute drive, though it’s well-worth this drive time. This lake trail takes you through wooded slopes and nearby dolomite bluffs, steep open areas featuring large limestone rocks dotted with pretty columbine flowers. This trail is known for offering wildlife views, so keep an eye out for white-tailed deer and squirrels.

This trail will take about an hour as you travel 1.5 miles through nature.

Ha Ha Tonka State Park

Like Land of the Ozarks State Park, there are quite a few things to do and see in Ha Ha Tonka State Park. Found in Camdenton, this park is only about 23-minutes (17 miles) away from where you’ll be staying. The trails in this park are relatively close together, so you can drive a few minutes from trail to trail and hike as much as you’d like.

This park is historically and naturally interesting, offering views of bluffs, a spring, and castle ruins. Some other unique features of the park include a natural bridge that you can reach via hiking trails, caves, and sinkholes. Ha Ha Tonka State Park has 14 trails to explore, with my top picks listed below.

Castle Trail

Castle Trail is a 23-minute drive from your vacation rental. This trail is one of the most popular options and one of the shortest and paved. It’s a one-way trail that extends 0.4 miles and is stroller and wheelchair friendly for all family members to enjoy. Even though this trail is shorter, quite a few attractions are packed into this hike.

Breathtaking views of the Lake of the Ozarks and a direct passage to the castle ruins are only two of the sites on this trail. Multiple scenic overlooks, views of the carriage house, and a kiosk offering information on the history of the park’s culture are also available. 

Island Trail

This trail is slightly further than Castle Trail, but only by a minute. It’s another short 0.4-mile hike, though you’ll be hiking on a rugged terrain so expect it to feel more strenuous. You’ll also see quite a few points of interest along the trail, including Balanced Rock (round dolomite boulder), an abandoned water pipe that once supplied water to a mill site, a dam, a small channel, and more.

Island Trail starts near Spring Trail, brings you to Island Cave, and then loops back to the beginning of the trail. As a note, you’ll need a permit to enter Island Cave. If you’re interested in spending time in the cave, you can reach out to the Park Office.

Spring Trail

Spring Trail is also about a 24-minute drive from the condo. It’s a 1.4-mile trail that includes a boardwalk, paved, and natural trail sections. The first 0.4 miles of the trail are wheelchair and stroller friendly.

You’ll see many wildflowers as you trek on this trail through the Ha Ha Tonka Karst Natural Area. This trail is more strenuous than other options, with sections that require you to squeeze through rocks or hike up 300+ wooden stairs.

Once you reach the top of the steps, you can follow the Dell Rim Trail left to see the castle or continue on Spring Trail to the right to view the old post office. This trail is great for intermediate hikers who want a challenging route.

Colosseum Trail

The Colosseum Trail is about 26 minutes via car from your vacation stay. You’ll be walking underneath a natural wonder at one point of the trail – the natural bridge. This bridge formed when the cave once surrounding it collapsed, leaving behind an impressive 100-foot-high archway.

This trail also takes you through a sinkhole that features a pretty section of wildflowers. Continue through the sinkhole for epic views of the castle ruins, spring, and old post office. This trail is only about 0.6 miles long, but the climb out of the sinkhole is quite steep, so it may not be a good option for everyone.

Fancy Lake Vacation Rentals offers two luxe condo options to stay at during your time in Lake of the Ozarks. You’ll find beautiful lake views from both condos and plenty of activities nearby. Join us for a comfortable stay in the Lake of the Ozarks area.