Set amid the rolling green hills of northern Missouri, Crowder State Park offers RV campers nearly 2,000 acres of pristine land for hiking, biking, and horseback riding. There are 17 miles of multi use trails that take you over the hills and down the park’s deep ravines. Many of the trails can also be used for horseback riding. You’ll find a wide range of wildlife in the park as well, from wild turkeys and deer to raccoons and foxes. .
The park also has an 18 acre lake that is perfect for boating and fishing. The waters are packed with channel catfish, crappie, bluegill, and largemouth bass. You can also rent a kayak, canoe, or paddle board to explore the lake. Over a hundred bird species visit the park throughout the year, and many of them visit the shore of the lake, making for great bird watching and photography. The RV campground located in the park has over 40 sites, most of which have electrical hookups. The campground connects to two of the park’s main trails, and is a quick walk from the lake.
The park is located in northern Missouri, not far from Kansas City and multiple other cities in the region. The park is well paved and easy to navigate by RV.
If you are coming from Kansas City, take I-35 from the city to MO-6 and you will get to the park in around an hour and a half. From St. Louis, take I-70 west to reach the park in around four and a half hours. If you are driving from Des Moines, take I-35 south and you’ll be at the park in a little over two hours.
The main road that leads through the park, MO-28, is wide, and shouldn’t pose any problems for your RV. Some of the back roads in the park may be harder to access if you have a large rig. However, you won’t need to travel on any of these roads to reach the campsites. The roads may have ice during the winter months, although you likely won’t need snow chains.
There are 41 campsites located within the campground. 36 of the sites have electrical hookups, with the remaining sites having no hookups. All of the sites have a picnic table and a fire pit, and are dog-friendly. There are showers located near the campsites, as well as modern restrooms. Drinking water is available from three locations in the campground.
The Tall Oaks hiking and biking trails leads directly into the campground. You’ll also be a quick walk from the park office, Redbud hiking trail, and the amphitheater.
The sites can be reserved from April through October. You can call the office before you arrive to inquire about availability. Reservations can be made up to six months in advance. The park fills up quickly in the summer, so try to book as soon as possible if you are planning a visit during peak season.
The campground offers campsites on a first-come, first-served basis from November through March.
The shady shores of Crowder Lake are home to dozens of different bird species, making the park a great spot for birdwatching. You’ll be able to spot barred owl, red-tailed hawk, blue jay, and a wide range of other species.
The park provides a bird checklist on their website, and you can also consult the park office for more information. Also check the websites of local Missouri audubon societies, many of which provide useful materials such as field guides and bird checklists.
Crowder Lake has 17 miles of hiking trails that loop around the lake and lead you through the surrounding forest. The park is a mix of thick forest, rolling hills, and deep ravines, creating varied terrain that makes every hike interesting.
The Tall Oaks hiking and biking trail leads into the park’s campground. This trail is a 3.4-mile loop that takes you along the shore of Crowder Lake, and it is accessible to hikers of all experience levels. You’ll also be near the Redbud hiking trail
Many of the park’s trails are also open to biking. Take a relaxing summer bike ride along the shaded shore of the lake and through the oak, maple, and pine forests.
The Tall Oaks trail is a 3.4-mile loop that takes you around Crowder Lake. It also features a number of hills that will challenge bikers. The park does not rent any gear, so make sure you bring a bike along with your campervan. Many of the trails are shared with hikers, so take extra caution when coming around corners or going down hills.
Crowder Lake is also an excellent destination for summertime boating. The 18-acre lake allows kayaks, canals, paddleboards, and boats with electric motors. There is also a boat launch not far from the campground. The park does not allow swimming, so you’ll have to stay in your boat.
You can also rent boats, including kayaks, canoes, and stand up paddle boards, from the park office. Rentals can be done per hour or for the whole day. You can also bring your own boat along with your rig.
Crowder State Park has a number of different interpretive programs that highlight the local wildlife found in the park, as well as the park’s historical heritage. The schedule for these programs may vary widely depending on the season, so check the park website or visit the park office. The park tends to offer more programs beginning in spring and running through early fall. Programs may include archery, animal displays, or guided hikes.
One of the park’s most popular activities, fishing is excellent just about any time of the year. The waters of Crowder Lake teem with crappie, bluegill, channel catfish, and largemouth bass.
You can fish from the shore, or take a boat out with the easy to access boat launch. The park does not rent any fishing gear, although there are a number of nearby bait shops. Fishing is at its best beginning in spring and running through early fall. However, anglers still get bites pretty much any time of the year.