Harry S. Truman Lake
Guide

Introduction

If a day by the water sounds like a slice of paradise, pack your bags and head out for Harry S. Truman Lake. It's the perfect place for an RV holiday.
Harry S. Truman Lake is often referred to as Harry S. Truman Reservoir, or simply, Truman Lake. Located in Missouri directly between the two small towns of Clinton and Warsaw, this Osage County lake is a popular spot for families to spend time indulging in their favorite water-based recreational activities. Harry S. Truman Lake is a man-made reservoir that was designed to act as a flood control measure for the region. Today, it is also used to help generate power for the surrounding areas as well as to provide a locale for recreational activities.
When plans for the building of Harry S. Truman Lake were first approved in 1954, it was suggested that its name be Kaysinger Bluff Dam and Reservoir in honor of a nearby picturesque bluff. Building began on the reservoir in 1964. In 1970, it was proposed by Congress that the lake be renamed to honor President Harry S. Truman, a native of Missouri. The dam project was completed in 1979.
During the construction of this lake, it was necessary to close the Frisco's Railroad's "Highline" when the tracks became eroded by water. Today, the Harry S. Truman Visitor's Center sits at Kaysinger Bluff and houses a 67 seat cinema which offers video footage of the area's wildlife and history. It also plays important films regarding water safety. The property is also known for its observation deck which provides awe-inspiring views of the lake, the dam, and even a portion of the Lake of the Ozarks.
Harry S. Truman State Park sits on a portion of the peninsula surrounded by the lake. The property is well-known for its abundance of wildlife. It's also an area of great historical significance, having once been inhabited by the Osage Indians as well as other settlers and tradesmen over the years. This recreational area is immensely scenic, allowing families to glimpse breathtaking sunsets, incredible fall colors, and crystalline lake waters. There is also a marina nearby where avid water sportsmen flock to enjoy fishing, boating, and swimming in the summer months.
If you're itching to get your RV out on the open road, consider a trip to Harry S. Truman Lake. It's a wonderful place for your next outdoor adventure.

RV Rentals in Harry S. Truman Lake

Transportation

Driving

Travel to Harry S. Truman Lake is quite easy, progressing over two-lane highways that are well-maintained. Each of the roads is kept free from snow to encourage visitors to the region year-round. An area with high bluffs, you will encounter some winding roads on occasion, so do take care to watch your speed. From time to time, wildlife will wander into the road, so exercise caution when driving, always remaining alert. Road construction occurs now and again, but in general, traffic moves fluidly.

Parking

Parking areas can be found in several locations at Harry S. Truman Lake as well as in the state park and at many of the nearby campgrounds.

Public Transportation

There is currently no public transportation available to Harry S. Truman Lake.

Campgrounds and parking in Harry S. Truman Lake

Campsites in Harry S. Truman Lake

Reservations camping

Bobcat Run Campground

Bobcat Run Campground is found in Harry S. Truman State Park and offers campsites for RV and tent camping between the months of March and October each year. Reservations are highly recommended; however, if all sites are not reserved, you can occasionally find a spot to reserve your RV on a first-come, first-served basis.

This camping facility offers power hookups and a separate parking area for your vehicle should you require it. Other amenities include tap water and an amphitheater.

It is important to note that dogs are not permitted in Harry S. Truman State Park, and thus, are not allowed at this campground.

Tap water is only available from April 1st through October 31st.

Buck Ridge Campground

Harry S. Truman State Park's Buck Ridge Campground is a popular camping facility for both RV and tent campers looking to explore the region. This campground is open from April through October yearly with reservations strongly recommended. First come, first served campsites are occasionally available.
The campground offers many on-site amenities, including electric hookups, tap water, showers, laundry facilities, bathrooms, and ample parking space for additional vehicles. Many of the campsites are also wheelchair accessible though it is best to call ahead to reserve one of these spots as they go quickly.
Be sure to make note that tap water and shower access is no longer available after October 31st.
Dogs are not permitted in Harry S. Truman State Park, and thus, may not camp with their families at Buck Ridge Campground.

Devil's Backbone Campground

Devil's Backbone, a campground also found within Harry S. Truman State Park, is open year-round for RV and tent campers to enjoy. There are many sites to choose from; most of which offer full electric hookups. Reservations are highly recommended, but on occasion, a site will become available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Tap water and showers are available at this camping facility; however, water access is only permitted from April 1st through October 31st. Dogs are not allowed at this campground or within the state park.
Among the amenities found at Devil's Backbone Campground are a waste disposal station, laundry facilities, bathrooms, and parking lot for extra vehicles.
There are also several wheelchair-accessible campsites available by reservation.

Thibaut Point Campground

Open from April 15th through October 15th yearly for RV and tent campers to enjoy, Thibaut Point Campground is a popular outdoor recreational area. Reservations are highly recommended for this camping facility's 43 campsites. 25 of the sites offer electric hookups, 14 are equipped to provide both power and water, and the remaining five feature no amenities.

Among the on-site amenities include bathrooms, showers, laundry facilities, picnic tables, and grills.

Some of the most popular recreational activities include swimming, hiking, boating, and picnicking.

Dogs are not permitted at this campground.

Seasonal activities in Harry S. Truman Lake

In-Season

Cooper Creek ATV/Dirt Bike Area

For families who enjoy getting out on their ATVs or dirt bikes, it's worth a trip to nearby Cooper Creek ATV/Dirt Bike Area. This recreational facility is located on the Harry S. Truman Lake property and is the only spot in the community that welcomes dirt bike and ATV use. The region boasts of more than 400 acres of hilly terrain and excellent trails for families to enjoy. Best of all, entrance to this biking hotspot is available to the public at no charge.
The areas that are reserved for ATV and biking are well fenced with adequate signage to indicate the property limitations. When in the parking areas, a speed limit of no greater than five miles per hour is expected. Alcohol is strictly prohibited on the grounds.

Swimming

Harry S. Truman Lake is a destination hotspot for families who love to swim. There are certain portions of the lake which are designated as no swim zones; however, they are very well-marked with the water access barricaded away from the public.
The reservoir offers a long coastline for families to meander and find their perfect slice of the beach to enjoy. Most swimming at this lake is not supervised, so be sure only to take a dip when the waters are not rough.
Harry S. Truman Lake is also an excellent spot for beachcombing, sunbathing, and catching up on your reading.

Picnicking

With tranquil clear waters, incredible cliffs, and vast and lush wooded terrain, Harry S. Truman Lake provides the ideal backdrop for a picnic lunch. Dress comfortably and set out on foot in search of the ideal picnic table or even just pull up a piece of grass where you can lay out a blanket and spread out your feast for your family and friends to enjoy.
Along the way, you will discover many beautiful sights worthy of capturing in photos to commemorate your day of picnicking by the lake. Bring your camera to ensure you don't miss out on some of the best moments.

Off-Season

Fishing

Harry S. Truman Lake attracts a lot of fishermen looking to enjoy a great weekend out on the water. The nearby marina is the perfect place for launching watercraft out on the lake, but with miles and miles of vast shoreline to explore, you can fish right from the banks or paddle out into the depths in your canoe to try your hand at reeling in the "big one."

Among the fish found in Harry S. Truman Lake are crappie and bass, but there are many other varieties to be found.

If you fancy a seafood feast after your day out on the lake, check with the area where you are fishing to see if they have an on-site fish cleaning station. Otherwise, you may need to take your bounty home to fillet there

Check with local officials to see if a fishing license is required to fish in Missouri waters.

Hiking

Harry S. Truman Lake has miles and miles of rich coastal property that provides the perfect opportunity for hiking. There are many well-marked trails you can choose from, or if you prefer a lakefront view, you can wander along the coast at your leisure. Along your route, you may even find some sea glass or shells to take home as a souvenir of your day by the sea.

Since Harry S. Truman Lake has such a diverse landscape, you will need good hiking shoes to protect your feet and that can stand up to rigorous hiking conditions. Bring along lots of drinking water too to remain well-hydrated and primed for activity.

Photography

Harry S. Truman Lake is renowned throughout the state for its picturesque beauty. From its awe-inspiring cliff views to its crystal clear lake waters and more, you will not want for inspiration at this great recreational area.
Also, many different species of wildlife make this region their home, allowing you to capture some unusual birds and animals in beautiful snapshots.
If the mood strikes, you can even snap a few candids of the fam or do a posed photo for your mantelpiece.