Ok friends, this is where it all begins, Back on August 6 1929 Union Electric Co. of St. Louis broke ground right here on the Osage River. The Dam opened for traffic in May 1931. That's only 21 months! You can't build an overpass in that time now days. Anyway, it is the last and largest major dam built in the United States entirely with private capital. At a cost of $30 Million, the dam is 2543' long, has 12 floodgates with 520' spillways. This impoundment backs up water for nearly 91 miles, covering over 57,000 acres of land and has more miles of shoreline (1375) than the state of California!
To find the Overlook, cross the dam to the Northeast end, up the hill and take your first right. Then to reach the dam itself, continue on that road down to the back side to watch the spillway.
On your visit to the lake area you must stop at our favorite state park. "Ha Ha Tonka" Which is a phrase by the Osage Indians meaning "Laughing Spirit" It's in reference to the gushing springs in the area.
This is a perfect day trip exploring over 3700 acres along the cliff side castle. Enjoy breathtaking views of the lake and the states 12th. largest spring, gushing 56 million gallons of water daily. Take the boardwalk from the castle down 250 feet or so with some 300 stairs to the lake side spring.
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Miller Couny Museum is located in the town of Tuscumbia. The front is an authentic log cabin with a large museum behind assembled in theme rooms,(very cool) it will take hours to really see it all. It serves as a monument for the folk life of the central Missouri society, it's Indian heritage, early home accessories, machines, crafts, schools, churches, agriculture and war memoriblia.
Open mid May thru Mid September 10am to 4pm. Take Hwy 54 East towards Jefferson City, at the Eldon exit make a right on Hwy 52 follow to just inside the city limits of Tuscumbia, museum is on the left. 573-369-3500
Missouri's largest state park with over 17,626 acres lies Southeast of Osage Beach along the Glaize arm of the lake. Come enjoy over 80 miles of shoreline, boat launching areas, and two public beaches. ( Public access to the lake is limited because the Lake of the Ozarks is privately owned. If you own Lake front property, you own to "The Lake".)
There is Public Beach #1; located at the end of Hwy 134, which is a few miles down Hwy 42 from Osage Beach Parkway in Osage Beach.
Public Beach #2; lies 1.5 miles south of the Grand Glaize Bridge on Osage Beach Parkway. Both beaches offer Free sand beach swimming and picnic area. Both beaches offer boat launching with a minimal fee. No Boat-No Problem both offer a nice selection of boat rentals. Fisherman, feel free to fish along the shoreline and along the beach docks. There are also several great waterfront restaurants & bars with beach access.
The only recognized Shrine in Missouri, is dedicated to Mary, Mother of the Church. This 14' stainless steel sculpture stands in a natural amphitheater surrounded by beautiful fountains. No matter what time of the year, the Shrine is always beautiful and inviting with fountains, flowers, carillon bells and peaceful surroundings.
Lacated on Hwy 5 in Laurie. 573-374-6279
Willmore Lodge is a huge, historic log building housing the Visitor Center for the Lake Area Chamber of Commerce. With great panoramic views and a small museum on the Dam history there are plenty of photo opps here.
Open M-F 9 to 4:30; S-S 9 to 3pm.
Located on the Northeast end of the Dam, Bagnell Dam Blvd to Willmore Lane.
Hike to Natural Bridge, spanning 60' long, 70' wide and up to 100' high, The Colosseum a steep sink hole 500' long and 300' wide,
Whispering Dell sink basin, 160' deep and see Counterfeiter's Cave and Robber's Cave both used by 1930's bandits.
There are 12 hiking trails of various length, (16 miles total) several picnic areas and shelters. Best of all the park is FREE.
The park is located 5 miles southwest of Camdenton on State Road D. Park Office: 573-346-2986
From the back side you have an excellent view of the spillways, and if your a fisherman, this is a great place to throw a line. Nature lovers enjoy viewing the wildlife from this vantage point. When water is running through the spillways it is highly possible to see a Bald Eagle diving for fish.
Join us June 9th , July 14th , August 11th, and September 8th. for this great family friendly event at the Dam. Great Music, Activities and all makes and models of cars, trucks, and motorcycles.
For a great day trip, travel out Hwy 42 approx. 10 miles, then right on to 42-10 and unwind out in the boondocks.
This area named for the old fashioned wood plank suspension bridge crossing the Auglaize Creek. The creek feeds into the end of the Grand Glaize arm of the Lake. It's a great place to have the kids wade into the water, swim, float and fish for smallmouth bass and bluegill or to kick back and have a picnic.
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This 45 acre area allows visitors to get a bird's eye view from an 80' fire tower. There is a paved disabled accessible trail plus a 3/4 mile hiking trail and 2 archery shooting ranges with 20' - 40' designations.
Open 8am to 5pm. Located; At the square in Camdenton take Business Hwy 5 North to Old Route 5. Turn left and take an immediate left onto Thunder Mountain Road. Continue West .6 mile to office.
Camden County Museum is centrally located between Osage Beach and Camdenton in Linn Creek. Located in the old school house, each classroom is devoted to a theme, ranging from archives to an actual weaving room, where woven rugs may be purchased.
Open April thru October 10am to 4pm Located on V Road just off Hwy 54 in Linn Creek. 573-346-7179
For a great day trip away from it all, travel out to the end of the Big Niangua River where Tunnel Dam forms 3 mile long Lake Niangua.
This area has the rustic Ozark charm with rolling hills and hardwood forests. Take in the scenic beauty with a picnic on a gravel bar, skip rocks across the water, throw out a fishing line or put in your Kayak or Canoe. A great place to get away!
Located approx. 20 miles West of Camdenton. Take Hwy 54 West past Camdenton to the junction of J & U. Turn left on U & immediate right, 2.5 miles to Edith, then right on Whistle Road.