Less than an hour from Kansas City, Wallace State Park packs fun and adventure into a small 500-acre oasis in northwestern Missouri. You can swim, boat, or fish in the six-acre Lake Allaman, hike on one of the five different trails, or you can just kick back and enjoy the sounds of the wildlife from your RV or campervan in one of the 85 campsites you can choose from. Whether you are a seasoned camper, or this is your first time, Wallace State Park has some of the important amenities such as flush toilets, hot showers, and some campsites even have electricity.
The state of Missouri acquired Wallace State Park in 1932, naming it after the family who had owned the land for more than 100 years. Settlers arrived in the area in the 1800s and stayed because of the opportunities the forests and streams provided. The diverse land here provided a plethora of hunting, trapping, and fishing for those who decided to put down roots in what is now known as Cameron, Missouri. Today, the natural area and other amenities in the park are enjoyed by more than 223,000 visitors every year.
Just four hours from St. Louis or less than an hour from Kansas City, you can find Wallace State Park seven miles from Cameron, Missouri in Clinton County. Due to the many hills and forests of northwest Missouri, the roads leading into the park after leaving the highway are narrow, winding, and can even be somewhat dangerous for big rigs so take it easy. Grab the camera or your phone so you can get some pictures of the wild animals you will see along the road and sometimes meandering across the street. Go slow and watch for whitetail deer that frequently wander onto the road.
The park actually warns its visitors that Campgrounds 1 and 3 are too narrow and steep for big rigs and mentions that there are too many low hanging branches for campers or RV use at these campgrounds. The other two campgrounds have better access and more room, but you will still have to be careful and go slow if you are in a large rig or pulling a big camper or trailer. These campsites boast pads of up to 99 feet long and some are pull-through sites so check the reservation website for more information before choosing one.
Campground 4 is open from mid-April until November and has 20 sites with electricity. The pads range from 40 to 99 feet long so there is space for even the biggest RVs. Each site has a picnic table, lantern pole, and fire ring. Access to potable water can be found at campsites 73 and 77 and there is one site that is ADA-accessible. You can find a vault toilet across from campsite 75 and there is a playground near campsite 70. Pets are welcome as long as they are restrained at all times.
Campground 2 is open all year long and has 22 electric campsites with pads ranging from 20 to 92 feet long. There is one site that is ADA-accessible and there are water spigots at campsites 42, 51, and 57. You can find the showers, a fully-functional restroom, and RV dump site in the loop across from campsites 61/62. However, water is shut off from November until mid-April to keep it from freezing. You can use the frost-free water access at the RV dump site during the off-season. There is a playground for the kids located across from campsite 61 and another by the woodlot next to the shower house. Each campsite has a picnic table, lantern post, and fire pit and pets are welcome as long as you keep them on a leash at all times.
Campground 1 is open year-round and has 31 campsites with pads that are up to 20 feet long. They do not recommend any rigs over 20 feet long because of the low branches, sharp turns, and narrow roads. These are all basic sites, but you can find water near campsites 5, 14, and 26. From November until mid-April, these water spigots are shut off to avoid freezing, so you have to get it from the frost-free spigot near the dump station. There is a playground for the kids by campsite 34 and the amphitheater is in the woods by the walk-in campsites. There are also three campsites that are ADA-accessible and a vault toilet in the center of the campsite. Each of the sites has a lantern post, fire ring, and picnic table and pets are welcome as long as you keep them on a leash at all times.
All reservable sites are available for first-come, first-served campers on a day-to-day basis when they have not been reserved. However, you should check with the campground host or park ranger before setting up camp. If you cannot find a park employee, just follow the instructions on the vacancy card on the post by the site you choose.
Campground 3 is open from mid-April until November and is not recommended for people with RVs or campers. This tent-only site has five basic and rugged campsites with water access in the middle of the campground. Each site has a table, fire pit, and lantern pole and pets are welcome as long as they are restrained at all times.
Make sure you pack your hiking boots in the camping trailer so you can get out and enjoy some of the trails. The Rocky Ford Trail is a bit over a half of a mile and leads down through the oak trees to Deer Creek. It joins Deer Run Trail, which takes you another three miles to the spillway. The Skunk Hollow Trail is about a mile and you can meander along the creek where you may see some gorgeous waterfalls after a heavy rain. This trail crosses several small bridges and meanders around Campground 4. No matter which trail you choose, you are sure to see some wild critters so take a camera or your phone along for photos.
There are lots of places in the park with BBQ pits and picnic tables so you and your group can BBQ or eat a picnic lunch anytime of the year. If you packed your rig full of family and friends, you may need a larger place like one of the picnic shelters. The open shelter accommodates up to 75 and overlooks the lake. It has a BBQ grill, electricity, and water access. The enclosed shelter has room for 100 and includes heat, A/C, a refrigerator, range, water, and a toilet. This site is ADA-accessible but the smaller one is not.
At Wallace State Park, you can find interpretive learning opportunities all year long. During the spring and summer the park holds programs at the amphitheater including live animal shows, films, games, and crafts. You can also enjoy a guided hike like the First Day Hike or a class such as Kid’s Fishing Day. The Fall Fun Event and Easter Egg Hunt are both held during the off season at different areas in the park. So, you don’t have to just sit by the camper during your stay; get out and learn something.
Don’t forget to put your raft in the RV or boat on the trailer before heading out to the park. Whether you have a small fishing boat with a trolling motor, a kayak, or a canoe, all small boats are welcome on Lake Allaman. Although there are no boat ramps, you can carry your boat down to the water bank and put in anywhere. Grab some suntan lotion and spend your day getting some sun, throw out a line to try and catch some fish, or just putter around on the lake and relax.
Before you head to the park, make sure you pack your fishing poles, tackle, and a net in the RV because the six-acre Lake Allaman is a fun place to fish. Whether you are fishing with a worm and bobber for crappie, bluegill, and sunfish; using cut bait on bottom for catfish, or trying out different lures for bass, you are liable to catch something good for dinner. Fish from the bank or take a boat out on the water for more secluded spots.
The six-acre Lake Allaman is a great place to spend a hot summer day whether you are working on your tan or playing in the water. Make sure you pack your swimsuit in the camper and grab some floaties, beach toys, and a raft so you can drift around on the lake with the kids. There is no lifeguard and you will be swimming at your own risk so be safe. If you would rather just wade and splash, Deer Creek flows through most of the western section of the park.