Rural Missouri - June 2021 - 19

A PADDLE
FULL OF FUN

Stockton State Park's aquatic trail will challenge paddlers, but the reward is great: scenic views of Stockton Lake along 6.65 miles of park shoreline.

STOCKTON STATE PARK

LAKE OF THE OZARKS STATE PARK

Whether behind the helm, handlebars or hiking staff, the
views of Stockton Lake can be enjoyed just about any way
you'd prefer at Stockton State Park. Known throughout
the region as a premier sailing destination, the lake is also
accessible for paddlers via the 6.65-mile aquatic trail. The
trail comes with an added benefit: Whether you rent a boat
at the marina or bring your own, the take-outs and put-ins
are less than 1 mile apart.
" The whole idea behind the trail was to add another
element to the park, " says Southwest Management Unit
Superintendent Kenny Neal. " We have these great mountain biking and hiking trails that are very popular, so the
aquatic trail adds one more recreational opportunity. "
Completion time for the trail is estimated at 3 hours and
20 minutes, but paddlers on the trail or off of it should
pay particular attention to weather conditions at Stockton.
The same southwesterly wind that makes the lake great
for sailing means severe weather can be dangerous for
small crafts. Kenny advises keeping in mind the three W's:
" Wind, water and waves. " And if you want to make a weekend or vacation out of your visit, plan ahead for camping
and lodging reservations.
" We had record crowds last year and we're assuming
we're going to be as busy this year, " Kenny says. " But
that's why we're in this business. We like it when people
are out here using the parks. "

The Lake of the Ozarks is known nationwide as a recreation destination, but a different boating experience can be
found in Lake of the Ozarks State Park. At nearly 18,000
acres, it's the state's largest park and showcases unique
pieces of the lake's cultural and natural history.
The park's aquatic trail connects 14 different features
by GPS coordinates. Visitors begin at Nature's Window, a
slice arch in the bluffs, and end at Lumberman's Logging
Chute, where railroad ties were once floated down Grand
Glaize Creek to Old Bagnell. At 9.9 miles, the trail is more
easily accomplished with a motor. Still, paddlers will find
it makes for a relaxing trip in the Grand Glaize Arm of the
lake, where less development and boat traffic lend to a
more scenic experience.
For more of the lake's wild side, venture off the water
on a guided tour of Ozark Caverns or along more than 51
miles of hiking and biking trails. Patterson Hollow Wild
Area and Coakley Hollow Fen Natural Area preserve some
of the area's diverse habitats and species. If road touring
is more your speed, test drive a guide to some of the park
structures built by the Civilian Conservation Corps.
" It's such a resource of public land for people to come
and visit, " Assistant Superintendent Brian Fredrick says
of the park. " The spectrum is amazing. We have so many
natural resources and visitors' services, there truly is
something for everyone. "
JUNE 2021 | RURALMISSOURI.COOP

19


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Rural Missouri - June 2021

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