Thousand Hills State Park
Guide

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Introduction

You can probably guess where Thousand Hills State Park got its name. Located in northern Missouri, you will find yourself surrounded by breathtaking views of beautiful hills. It’s a wonderful place to get away for awhile in your camper or trailer, especially with the lake that is located here, as well as the historical significance of the area. When you visit in your rig, you just might be able to find and see the images that Native Americans once carved into the rocks here. While the Native Americans enjoyed this area due to its natural resources, many today come to relax and play at the lake that was filled here in 1956.

When you bring your RV to Thousand Hills State Park, you can enjoy swimming, boating, fishing, and more. You can also explore other parts of the park by going hiking on the trails or taking the family out for a lovely and scenic picnic. There are lots of fun options when you stay here, and the best part is that the park is open all year long.

RV Rentals in Thousand Hills State Park

Transportation in Thousand Hills State Park

Driving

Located in Adair County and consisting of over 3,000 acres, there is a lot to see and explore when you come visit Thousand Hills State Park in your campervan or RV. It’s easy to get to the park entrance if you’re coming from the north, and once you enter, you should have no problem finding your way towards the campgrounds, marina, and more. There are only about five miles of roads located inside the park, so you won’t need to go very far to get anywhere. The roads are also paved and lined, making them easy to follow and easy on your rig's wheels. You won’t have to worry about bothersome gravel or dirt roads, narrow and winding roads, or anything else of the sort. Other great ways of getting around the park include walking and biking. These are excellent ways to save on gas, be friendly to the environment, and eliminate the trouble of trying to find parking spots for your big rig.

Parking

Public Transport

Campgrounds and parking in Thousand Hills State Park

Campsites in Thousand Hills State Park

Reservations camping

Campground 1

There are 54 total campsites located at Thousand Hills State Park, and 49 of them can be found here at Campground 1, the larger of the two campgrounds. Of these, 29 offer 30 and 50-amp hookups, and eight of them are pull-through sites. Other amenities include showers, toilets, water, and a dump station nearby. At each campsite, you will find a picnic table and grill for you to use. If you are interested in a little bit of fun, there is a playground and an amphitheater in the area as well. The campground is open and available for RV campers all year long, but reservations can only be made during the peak season from April to October. If you plan on bringing your RV during the off-season, remember that certain amenities such as showers, water, and restrooms become unavailable during this time. If you need to use the restroom, there are vault toilets.

Campground 2

This campground is much smaller, consisting of only eight campsites. All of them offer electric hookups, but only one of them is a pull-through site. Campground 2 is only open for campers during the camping season from April to October. Due to the limited number of sites and only being open a limited number of months, reservations are recommended if you wish to stay here. Amenities include restrooms, showers, water, and a dump station. You will also find the park office and visitor center nearby.

First-come first-served

Alternate camping

Seasonal activities in Thousand Hills State Park

In-Season

Boating and Fishing

Many people come to Thousand Hills State Park to enjoy Forest Lake. Even if you came with your camper and left the boat at home, you can still get out on the lake by renting a canoe, kayak, or even pontoon or fishing boat at the marina. You will be able to get your boat into the water by using the paved boat ramp located near the dining lodge. Many people like to go out on the boat to fish, where they have the chance to catch bass, crappie, catfish, and walleye.

Swimming

Another great warm weather activity is going for a dip into the lake. From late May to early September, you can take advantage of the swim beach located here in the park at the edge of the lake. There, you will have access to a place where you can shower and change clothes when needed. Keep in mind though that there are no lifeguards on duty, so be sure to keep an eye on the kids and stay safe.

Eating at the Dining Lodge

If you ever get tired of eating the same thing out of your camper’s kitchen cabinets and you don’t feel like leaving the park, you can always go for a hot meal at Thousand Hills’ Dining Lodge. The Dining Lodge is a pretty popular place for people to grab a bite to eat though, so you will definitely want to make reservations if you want to go there for dinner with the family.

Off-Season

Attending Interpretive Programs

Sometimes when there’s much to learn and do, it’s hard to even know where to begin. Luckily, the park hosts interpretive programs to help you and the kids learn all about nature, wildlife, and more. Programs include guided nature walks, holding group discussions, and even playing fun games. You can also visit the Interpretive Shelter, where you will find interesting historical artifacts, including rock carvings left behind by Native Americans thousands of years ago.

Hiking

There are 14.5 miles of trails here at Thousand Hills State Park. Many of those miles can be found on Thousand Hills Trail, which encompasses over 10 miles. If you’re looking for a challenge and a long adventure, it is definitely a trail that will fulfill those wishes. If you would like something lighter and easier, Red Bud Trail is just a little over a mile long, and Forest Lake Trail is just over half a mile long.

Picnicking

If you’d like to stop to sit down and enjoy a bite to eat, there are over 60 picnic tables located throughout Thousand Hills State Park. Many of these areas are also wheelchair accessible and have restrooms and water nearby. If you need more space for a special event or get-together, you can reserve one of the five available picnic shelters. Four of them are outside, and one is enclosed. If no reservations are made, then the shelters become available on a first-come, first-served basis. So don't forget to pack your picnic basket or blanket in your campervan.

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