Lake Of The Ozarks, Missouri

Hunters visiting the Lake of the Ozarks discover the woods and fields surrounding the Lake are filled with a wide variety of game. Throughout the year, hunters can pursue deer, turkey, squirrel, rabbit, dove, duck, geese and quail in the diverse terrain and on the waters at the Lake.

The two most popular species for hunters visiting the Lake are deer and turkey. The area has a growing population of both species which thrive in the nearby wooded areas and farmlands. During the spring turkey season, hunters call for a solitary bearded bird in the woods, while in the fall they have the best luck plucking a hen or jake from a flock of birds in the woods or fields.

A booming deer population includes plenty of trophy-size bucks. Locations containing open timber and scrub oak are prime spots to bag deer during both the bow and firearms seasons. If the lake area's woods produce a good corn crop, look for the deer in the thicker timber.

The woods are also loaded with gray and fox squirrels for hunters who enjoy tracking smaller game. The Lake area has plenty of hickory nut trees, which is a favorite dining place of the squirrel.

The farmlands and open fields circling the Lake contain good populations of rabbits and quail. Favorite areas for cottontails include milo fields near the edges of woods, briar patches, and draws along gravel roads or railroad tracks. Quail can be found in brush piles or brushy fence rows near open fields.

The first migratory birds to visit the Lake in the fall are doves. The best spots to find these birds are freshly cut grain fields or farm ponds with hedge trees nearby. When the weather turns cold and nasty, ducks and geese visit the lake in large numbers. Frequent flyers to the Lake area include mallards, wood ducks, gadwalls, greenwing teals, ringnecks, goldeneyes, Canada geese and snow geese.

Most hunting in the Lake of the Ozarks region is done on private land with permission of the landowner. There are also some hunting preserves and landowners who offer land-lease packages for hunting.

Public Hunting Areas

Camden County:
Fiery Forks State Forest
Toronto Springs Wildlife Area

Miller County:
The Saline Valley Wildlife Area

Morgan County:
Carpenter Memorial Wildlife Area
Big Buffalo Creek Wildlife Area
Proctor Towersite

Cities Near Lake Of The Ozarks

Lake Of The Ozarks Fishingmore

Lake of the Ozarks Fishing
Lake of the Ozarks FishingAlthough Lake of the Ozarks offers some of the Midwest's finest recreational and sight-seeing opportunities above the water, it's what's underneath that counts. And it counts big.

Largemouth Bass, Crappie, White Bass, Stripers and Catfish are the main source of excitement to Lake anglers and when one species isn't cooperating, relax... another one will.

The fishing season has no beginning or ending dates at Lake of the Ozarks. Year-round quality fishing rewards you any time you want to visit. Knowledgeable anglers work cool spring waters using deep diving crankbaits and jig-n-frog lures. As the lake warms up top water lures produce the explosive strikes that make grown men shake with excitement. After the bass spawn, usually in late April or early May, the plastic worm begins to replace the crankbaits and surface lures on the business end of the fishing rod. Summer anglers find their bass around deep points, drop offs and boat docks. And just when you think the action's going to end, the cool weather of October and November brings the bass back in the shallows for some more fast fishing action.

If Black Bass doesn't excite you, our White Bass fishing will. During the early spring spawning runs experienced anglers often fill their 15- fish limit in about as many casts. The summer months find the Whites schooled up on shallow flats. Though the one to two pound Whites are great table fare (and by the way, put up a rowdy battle) nothing strips line from your reel like the Stripers and Hybrid Stripers which were first stocked in Lake of the Ozarks in 1980. Six years later a state record 20.5 lb. hybrid was pulled from our waters.

Through effective management, regulation and stocking efforts of the Missouri Department of Conservation, Lake of the Ozarks has provided numbers of other state record catches over the past ten years including a 34 lb. drum, a 36 lb. buffalo, a 42 lb. muskie, a 91 lb. blue catfish (caught in 1988) and a 134 lb. paddlefish.

Crappie fishing is another main event at the Lake. The length limit is 9 inches. The spring spawn usually occurs in mid to late April. Local anglers know the Crappie won't spawn until the Dogwoods bloom.

Whether you are a serious pro looking for some outstanding bass fishing or just look forward to a lazy day of relaxation and family fun, Lake of the Ozarks has the ingredients for your fishing vacation.

For a special thrill, go after a paddlefish, also referred to as a spoonbill. This rare fish is a bona fide remnant of the dinosaur age. It is caught by blind snagging. Fisherpersons troll and jerk large hooks attached to heavy lead sinkers or cast and retrieve the hooks by jerking. Rods are generally short and stiff and reels are equipped with 80 to 100 pound test line. All paddlefish caught in Lake of the Ozarks must be 24 inches or longer from the eye to the fork of the tail. Paddlefish season is March 15 to April 30.

Lake Of The Ozarks Huntingmore

Lake of the Ozarks Hunting
Lake of the Ozarks HuntingHunters visiting the Lake of the Ozarks discover the woods and fields surrounding the Lake are filled with a wide variety of game. Throughout the year, hunters can pursue deer, turkey, squirrel, rabbit, dove, duck, geese and quail in the diverse terrain and on the waters at the Lake.

The two most popular species for hunters visiting the Lake are deer and turkey. The area has a growing population of both species which thrive in the nearby wooded areas and farmlands. During the spring turkey season, hunters call for a solitary bearded bird in the woods, while in the fall they have the best luck plucking a hen or jake from a flock of birds in the woods or fields.

A booming deer population includes plenty of trophy-size bucks. Locations containing open timber and scrub oak are prime spots to bag deer during both the bow and firearms seasons. If the lake area's woods produce a good corn crop, look for the deer in the thicker timber.

The woods are also loaded with gray and fox squirrels for hunters who enjoy tracking smaller game. The Lake area has plenty of hickory nut trees, which is a favorite dining place of the squirrel.

The farmlands and open fields circling the Lake contain good populations of rabbits and quail. Favorite areas for cottontails include milo fields near the edges of woods, briar patches, and draws along gravel roads or railroad tracks. Quail can be found in brush piles or brushy fence rows near open fields.

The first migratory birds to visit the Lake in the fall are doves. The best spots to find these birds are freshly cut grain fields or farm ponds with hedge trees nearby. When the weather turns cold and nasty, ducks and geese visit the lake in large numbers. Frequent flyers to the Lake area include mallards, wood ducks, gadwalls, greenwing teals, ringnecks, goldeneyes, Canada geese and snow geese.

Most hunting in the Lake of the Ozarks region is done on private land with permission of the landowner. There are also some hunting preserves and landowners who offer land-lease packages for hunting.

Public Hunting Areas

Camden County:
Fiery Forks State Forest
Toronto Springs Wildlife Area

Miller County:
The Saline Valley Wildlife Area

Morgan County:
Carpenter Memorial Wildlife Area
Big Buffalo Creek Wildlife Area
Proctor Towersite

Lake Of The Ozarks Campingmore

Lake of the Ozarks State Park
Lake of the Ozarks State ParkEnjoy the solitude of an undeveloped cove, hidden along the shorelines of one of Missouri's largest lakes, Lake of the Ozarks. The 17,441-acre Lake of the Ozarks State Park offers this opportunity, along with a variety of recreational activities on the lake or on shore.

On shore, hikers, backpackers, equestrians and bicyclists can use one of 12 trails that wind through oak-hickory forests and sunny glades and offer bluff-top views of the lake. Or visitors can take a guided tour of Ozark Caverns, best known for a formation of stalactites and waterfalls known as "Angels' Showers."

Water enthusiasts can make use of the park's two swimming beaches or rent a boat at one of the park's marinas. Necessary supplies for a day of fishing or fun on the water can be found in the park stores.

Year-round accommodations for overnight guests include more than 230 shaded campsites, ranging from primitive to those with electric hookups. Campground amenities include modern restrooms and laundry facilities. Eight camper cabins offer a rustic lodging experience.

Lake of the Ozarks State Park's natural beauty remains untouched, yet visitors are just minutes away from shopping, restaurants and a variety of entertainment options.

Lake Of The Ozarks Cabinsmore

Lake of the Ozarks SP Cabins
Lake of the Ozarks SP CabinsExperience a new kind of camping adventure at the Outpost. Nestled in the heart of Lake of the Ozarks State Park, the Outpost offers eight rustic log cabins for campers who want to experience the outdoors without pitching a tent.

Developed in 1993, each cabin features tables and chairs, a wood-burning stove and sleeping accommodations for six people. These accommodations include two double beds in the loft and one double bed downstairs.

To prepare for your experience, bring your camping gear such as sleeping bags, lanterns, cooking and eating utensils, and water containers. The rustic cabins do not have electricity or running water, so plan accordingly.

Outside, each cabin has tables and benches, and a fire grill for barbecuing or campfires. A modern central restroom and showerhouse, along with a central parking area, are located within walking distance of the cabins. Drinking water and a pay phone are available there also.

These rustic cabins, surrounded by an oak-hickory forest, offer visitors a chance to watch wildlife from their front porch. The Lake of the Ozarks, where you can enjoy fishing and swimming, is within walking distance along a hiking trail. Boat rentals are available from the park concessionaire.

The Outpost provides a rustic place to stay while exploring Missouri's largest state park, as well as many of the surrounding attractions. Park facilities include campgrounds, several picnic areas, boat rentals, swimming beaches, horseback trails and rentals, hiking and bicycling trails, nature programs and tours through Ozark Caverns.

Cabins in the Outpost may be rented year-round, with a 20-percent reduction rate offered from Nov. 1 through March 31. Full payment is required at the time of reservation.

Lake Of The Ozarks Cavingmore

Ozark Lake Area Caves
Ozark Lake Area CavesMissouri is truly the cave state, with over 5,380 registered and mapped wild caves. 300 of the wild caves are in the counties of Camden, Miller, and Morgan which surround the Lake of the Ozarks.

Show Caves are wild caves that have been "tamed" through tremendous work and expense. Paved walkways, bridges and hand rails have been constructed and lights have been installed for the convenience of viewing nature's underground beauty with little effort and very safely. They are for the whole family, from small children to grandparents. No special clothing or equipment is necessary.

Want-to-be spelunkers can experience geology, hydrology and anthropology in these underground classrooms. There are awe-inspiring formations, composed over millions of years, including massive columns, huge stalagmites, millions of "soda straws," balanced ecosystems, animal life, plant life and history. One of the best things about visiting a cave is that no matter what the weather or season, the temperature is approximately 50-60 degrees year-round, varying slightly with each cave.

The Lake area is blessed with four show caves (out of Missouri's 22) and is the only tourist destination in the United States with four show caves within 30 miles of each other. So, no matter where you're staying at the Lake, you're not far from one of our beautiful underground caverns. A 93 mile triangular drive around the Lake of the Ozarks will take you from cave to cave and reveal--along the way--the fantastic scenery for which the Lake area is known.

Tours are conducted by courteous, informative guides who can point out fascinating features about cave life. For example, Lake caves support four different types of salamanders that live their entire lives without ever seeing the light of day. Guides also provide historical information flavored by colorful local stories.

Bridal Cave

Bridal Cave, just north of Camdenton, off Hwy. 5 on Lake Road 5-88, can also be reached by water on the 10 1/2 mile marker on the Big Niangua Arm of the Lake. Bridal Cave is the oldest cave in the Lake area. It was formed by the Ozark upheaval when the Ozark Mountains were formed 42-46 million years ago and is adorned with massive columns, stalactites, stalagmites and draperies from the start to beyond the end of the tour at the sparkling crystal clear Spirit Lake. Bridal Cave, in keeping with the tradition of the Indian legend has hosted over 1325 weddings in the stalactite adorned Bridal Chapel.

Jacob's Cave

Jacob's Cave, located off of TT, north of Gravois Mills, is the largest cave in the Lake area and is the only walk through cave in Missouri that is completely accessible to persons with disabilities. Baby strollers and wheel chairs are available for those who need them. Jacob's Cave is famous for its depth illusion, reflective pools, ceiling sponge-work, prehistoric bones (Mastadon, bear, and Peccary), and the world's largest Geode. On the mile-long tour, you will see every type of cave formation imaginable, from millions of soda straws, massive stalactites and columns, to delicate helectites. Evidence of six ice ages and 3 earthquakes can be seen.

Ozark Caverns

Ozark Caverns is a state owned cave. Great care is taken not to disturb anything of nature. The cave stream exits the mouth of the cave and forms a fin in front of the cave (fresh water swamp); too shallow for fish, but just right for a vast array of exotic plant and animal life native to this area. Ozark Caverns is famous for its Angels Shower, a must for any cave enthusiast. Tours are conducted through the cave with electric lanterns.

Touring the Show Caves at the Lake of the Ozarks offers a day of fascinating experience and unforgettable fun for the whole family.

Lake Of The Ozarks Trailsmore

Lake of the Ozarks Trails
Lake of the Ozarks TrailsFor a different perspective of Ozark nature, the Lake offers outstanding hiking, biking and walking trails, several of which are located at two state parks. The 17,000-acre Lake of the Ozarks State Park is the largest in the Missouri Park system, and Ha Ha Tonka State Park, one of the state's most diverse parks, features the ruins of a turn-of-the-century castle.

Ha Ha Tonka State Park

Fifteen miles of trail traverse the Ha Ha Tonka State Park, leading visitors to spectacular scenery, natural wonders and the famous castle ruins. Trails vary from accessible, paved walkways to rugged, rocky trails providing a diverse experience for hikers.

Castle
Trail - mile (one way)


Overlooks near the castle provide views of Ha Ha Tonka Spring and the
Lake of the Ozarks. Mild terrain.

Quarry
Trail - 2 miles


Starts by the castle and leads to open views of the lake and two old quarries.
Moderate terrain.

Dell
Rim Trail - mile (one way)


This wooden boardwalk begins near the water tower and descends a series
of steps to an overlook above the Whispering Dell Sinkhole. The step portion
of this trail is strenuous. The steps continue to the spring below.

Colosseum
Trail - mile


Starts at the natural bridge parking lot. The trail winds under the natural
bridge and through a large sinkhole (the Colosseum). Moderate terrain.

Spring
Trail - 1 miles



Starts at the spring/lake parking lot. One-way distance to the spring
is one-half mile, mostly paved. Wooden stairs lead above the spring bluff
to the old post office. The step portion of this trail is strenuous.

Island
Trail - mile


Making a loop around the island and past the balanced rock, this trail
starts at the millrace (on the Spring Trail). Rugged terrain.

Boulder
Ridge Trail - 1 miles


Begins at the Spring Trail trail head. The trail passes through an area
of large lichen-covered boulders along a ridge. Moderate terrain.

Park at the lot east
of Hwy. D, between the park's castle and spring entrances for the following
trails.

Oak
Savanna Interpretive Trail - 450 feet


This is an accessible trail with four interpretive stops.

Acorn Trail
- mile


Prescribed burning helps maintain this open woodland. A brochure and eight
interpretive stops tell more about this savanna landscape. Moderate terrain.

Devil's
Kitchen Trail - 1 mile


Visit unique geologic features, including Devil's Promenade. Rugged terrain.

Turkey Pen
Hollow Trail - 7 miles


Backpack camping is allowed on this trail that winds throughout the Ha
Ha Tonka Savanna Natural Area. Rugged terrain.



Lake of the Ozarks State Park

Woodland Trail -- 6 miles
Beginning and ending behind the trail center, Woodland Trail meanders quietly through the Patterson Hollow Wild Area. This area provides a diversity of habitats ranging from old fields to dense oak-hickory forests, dry streambeds to spring-fed seeps, and nearly barren ridge-tops to lush ravines. The trail is signed in a counterclockwise direction with blue arrows and has two connector trails that allow for shorter hikes of two miles or four miles. This trail is intended for hiking and backpacking use only. All backpackers should register at the park office or trail head before using the trail. A primitive camping area is located along the trail for backpackers.

Trail of Four Winds -- 6 miles
This trail is open to hikers, equestrians and all terrain bicycle users. The entrance for equestrians is on the north side of the riding stables. The entrance for the hikers and bicyclists is along Highway 134 two miles from the park entrance. The blue loop, 3.2 miles long and signed in a counterclockwise direction, takes trail users near the lake for part of its length. The yellow loop, 4.1 miles long and also signed in a counterclockwise direction, leads to an unusual rock formation covered with lichens and mosses. A boardwalk for foot traffic only gives access to the rocky outcrop that provides a scenic vista of the valley below. A red connector trails provides an alternate route that shortens the yellow loop by .6 mile. Those wanting to visit only the overlook can do so by following the yellow arrows to the site and returning by the same route following the blue arrows. It is 1.3 miles one way from the trail head to the overlook. Directional arrows mark all intersections.

Squaw's Revenge Trail -- 2 miles
Squaw's Revenge trail originates directly across the highway from the riding stable entrance. It is signed with green arrows in a clockwise direction. At one point, from atop a high bluff, the trail user is presented with a dramatic view of the Grand Glaize arm of the Lake of the Ozarks. Both equestrian and hiking use is permitted on this trail. The trail is used for regularly scheduled horseback rides from April through October. If you meet a group of riders, please move off the trail, stand quietly and let them pass.

Lazy Hollow Trail -- .5 mile
This hiking trail is located directly across the highway from the trail center. It traverses a typical Ozark hollow, and can provide a pleasant experience for those interested in a shorter and easier hike. It is signed with green arrows.

Fawn's Ridge Trail -- 2.5 miles
This trail has two entry/exit points, one approximately 900 feet from the campground registration booth down Lake View Bend Trail and the other across the highway from the picnic area near the riding stables. The trail has two sections: the southern, marked with yellow arrows, and the northern, mark with blue arrows. Both are signed in a counterclockwise direction. This trail is open to hikers only.

Lake View Bend Trail -- 1 miles
Lake View Bend Trail begins at the campground registration booth and ends in Campground 4. The trail meanders along the base of steep cliffs near the lake. This hiking trail is point-to-point so users must return by the same route or hike through the campground. This trail is the best in the park for viewing spring wildflowers in April, May and June.

Rocky Top Trail -- 3 miles
This trail is located at Grand Glaize Beach and begins across the road from the picnic shelter. It features a natural glade, a scenic overlook of the lake from atop a towering bluff, and distinct contrasts in plant communities on dry south-facing slopes and moist north-facing slopes. The trail is a figure eight, each loop being 1.5 miles long. Only hiking is allowed on this trail.

Shady Ridge Trail -- .5 mile
Beginning at a picnic area near the boat launch at Grand Glaize Beach, this trail winds along the lakeshore. It then climbs to a small glade before it turns west and connects to an old road that leads back to its starting point. The trail is intended for hiking only.

Coakley Hollow Trail -- 1 mile
This self-guiding interpretive trail begins and ends at Ozark Caverns. A boardwalk provides access to Coakley Hollow Fen, a designated Missouri Natural Area. Also featured along the trail is a natural glade and a dam and mill site. Trail booklets are available at the Ozark Caverns visitor center. The trail, identified with yellow arrows, is open only to hikers.

Grand Glaize Trail -- 2.5 miles
This hiking trail begins and ends just north of the service area between Ozark Caverns and McCubbin Point. The trail crosses a diversity of habitats and is signed in a counterclockwise direction with yellow arrows.

Aquatic Trail
Lake of the Ozarks Aquatic Trail, located on the Grand Glaize arm of the lake, explains some of the lake's prominent natural features. The trail, which is approximately nine miles long, is located between Public Beach No. 1 and the Grand Glaize Beach. Each stop is marked with orange and white buoys, which are lettered consecutively. It will take about two hours to complete the trail and self-guiding booklets can be obtained at the park's visitor center.

Lake Of The Ozarks Birdwatchingmore

Lake of the Ozarks Birdwatching
Lake of the Ozarks Birdwatching"The Missouri Ozarks is one of the most productive breeding areas for migratory birds in the hemisphere. Neotropical migrants such as the Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Northern Oriole, Woodthrush, and over 100 other species of songbirds, nest in the Midwest during summer and then migrate to Central and South America for the winter."
- The Missouri Conservationist, July 1995

The Lake of the Ozarks is one of the best birding spots in Missouri. Although man-made, the Lake functions as a natural water environment that is a feeding and resting grounds for numerous species of wildlife, including a spectacular variety of birds.


Familiar Species

Species that are a familiar sight on the Lake (and in the area), include the Great Blue Heron, hawks and ducks of many varieties, Wild Turkey, Pectoral Sandpipers, Cliff Swallows, Terns, American Goldfinches, Ruby-throated Hummingbirds, Robins, Bobwhites, Whippoorwills, Cardinals, Blue Jays, Wood Thrushes, Eastern Meadowlarks, Phoebes, Belted Kingfishers, Pileated Woodpeckers and the "leftovers" king of the sky, the Turkey Vulture.

Other species (including the Summer Tanager, similar to a cardinal except with no crest on its head, and the Indigo Bunting, blue with black on its wings and found in timbered areas), too numerous to mention can be sighted at Lake of the Ozarks. Excellent areas for viewing are just about anywhere that's outside - sometimes even driving down the road or off the deck of your condo or resort, or around your campsite - but always on the Lake or the rivers, and in the woods.


Blue Heron

The Great Blue Heron, often on the Lake, makes its nest in quieter spots along secluded rivers or creeks, away from human activity. If disturbed very often, they will desert these sanctuaries. They live in colonies or "rookeries." One such rookery can be found 3/4 mile south of Bagnell on the east side of the Osage River, where there has been as many as 80 nests. The Heron family is related to the Oriental Bird of Paradise, considered to be good luck in that part of the world.


Bald Eagles

Bald Eagles arrive in October and are here until mid or late March. A few have been known to nest on the Lake but the close proximity of homes and man prevent any accumulation. Although a fair amount have been seen on the Little and Big Niangua arms, some of the best concentrations can be found near Old Bagnell, and just below Bagnell Dam, on the Osage River. (eagles, terns and gulls chase shad and dive for fish especially when the dam turbines are operating.) There is a Conservation Access about 300 yards downstream of the Dam area for viewing. Although rare, Golden Eagles have also been observed in the area. Both bald eagles and ringbilled gulls migrate from the Great Lakes region to winter here.

Other birds that have been sighted as they migrate are Canada Geese, the White Pelican and Trumpeter Swans. Double Crested Cormorants (large birds with a long black neck), or "Water Turkey" have also been observed sometimes in groups of 30 - in the shallow areas around Swinging Bridges off Hwy 42, near Brumley.

Eastern Phoebes and Northern Rough-winged Swallows make their mud nests on the bluffs that contour the Lake. These can be found across from McCubbins Point on the Glaize Arm, and around the bluffs at the 15 and the 25 Mile Marker on the Osage Arm.

Public Access Areas

Easily accessible to the public are the Lake of the Ozarks State Park and Ha Ha Tonka State Park. They say the last raven ever seen in Missouri was at Ha Ha Tonka. Saline Valley Conservation Area, a 3,500 acre Public Access is a natural habitat (no trails), where Wild Turkey and Quail are plentiful along Saline Creek. The entrance is located approximately three miles south of the junction of Hwy 54 and M, near Eldon.

Plant life, blooming trees (around the first two weeks of April) and countless wildflowers are an extra bonus from early spring through fall, including many species of ferns

Lake Of The Ozarks Equestrianmore

Broken Gait Trail Rides
Broken Gait Trail RidesBroken Gait Trail Rides provide seasoned trail horses that you can lease or rent for a scenic horseback trail riding adventure through Central Missouri. We offer you the unique opportunity to experience Missouri's natural beauty in a most natural way — by horseback!

Lake Of The Ozarks Map

Lake Of The Ozarks Information

Location: Highway 54 in Central Missouri

Contact: 800-FUN-LAKE

Lake Area Events

Osage Beach (9)

Linn Creek (6)

Recreation