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Explore more this year at one of the many state parks near Kansas City.
Explore more this year at one of the many state parks near Kansas City.

State Parks Near KC 🏞️

Having been limited to grocery store visits, local parks and at-home date nights for nearly a year, we're feeling some serious wanderlust these days. 🧳 ❤️

So if you're looking for a new park to explore, you're certainly not alone. Dozens of readers of the Adventure email told us they've been spending a lot of time hiking 🥾 and exploring state parks 🏞️ throughout the pandemic.

Here are some of the best state parks for hiking adventures located within a three-hour drive of Kansas City. 🚗 These parks make a perfect day trip or an ideal locale for your next camping trip. So pick your park, get out and explore! 🗺️ 🧭

Note: Through the winter and spring months, be sure to check the status of the park for closures before setting out on your adventure.

A photo of a rock path over water, taken in Knob Noster State Park
1. Knob Noster State Park
Spanning nearly 4,000 acres, Knob Noster State Park offers ten trails of varying difficulty. In this often-overlooked state park, more seasoned hikers can hop on Opossum Hollow Trail — at 5.4 miles, it will take the average hiker around 4 hours to complete. 🥾

Knob Noster is also near Katy Trail — the 239-mile biking and hiking trail that crosses Missouri from St. Charles to Clinton. 🚴

📍 Directions to Knob Noster State Park
🚗 Driving time from KCMO: 1 hour 10 minutes
2. Crowder State Park
Featuring more than 17 miles of trails for hiking, biking and backpacking, Crowder State Park provides nearly 2,000 acres to explore in northern Missouri. Hikers can spend nearly three hours on the 2.9-mile Tall Oaks Trail, or hop on Redbud Trail for a shorter trek. 🎒 🥾 

Winter weather ❄️ has limited some trails to hiking only, so again, be sure to check the conditions and park status before you head out.

📍 Directions to Crowder State Park
🚗 Driving time from KCMO: 1 hour 30 minutes
3. Wallace State Park
In less than an hour's drive, you can discover new paths, new scenes and quiet serenity at Wallace State Park. 🏞️

One of the park's five trails, Skunk Hollow Trail, takes hikers through wooded hillsides, by streams, and across several footbridges for an hour-long hike. For a longer hike best suited for more advanced hikers, the rugged 2.9-mile Deer Run Trail will put your skills to the test. 💪

📍 Directions to Wallace State Park
🚗 Driving time from KCMO: 45 minutes

4. Ha Ha Tonka State Park
If a longer hiking adventure is your goal, look no further than Missouri’s Ha Ha Tonka State Park, with its series of scenic trails and intriguing geologic features.

Experienced hikers can take Turkey Pen Hollow Trail, a 6.7-mile loop that's rated #15 on AllTrail’s list of best hiking trails ⭐ in Missouri. 

If you’re looking for a more laidback hike, the park offers a series of smaller trails, too. Hop on Castle Trail for a quick ADA-accessible, 0.8-mile hike for great views of the river and castle ruins. 🏰

📍 Directions to Ha Ha Tonka State Park
🚗 Driving time from KCMO: 2 hours 40 minutes

Bonus: Take A Hike!
If you're looking for the best trails to explore a little closer to home, including the nearest state park — Weston Bend — check out our hiking adventure from last spring. Getting outside for some fresh air and exercise can help you stay happy and healthy throughout the rest of the pandemic. We'll see you on the trails! 🥾

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This was your 81st Creative Adventure email from KCUR 89.3. Catch up on our past issues here.

Photo Credits:
1. Lindsey Corn | Missouri State Parks
2. Crowder State Park | Missouri State Parks
3. Wallace State Park | Missouri State Parks

4. Heath Cajandig | Flickr
5. voyagerMU | Wikipedia

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