thousand hills state park

Thousand Hills State Park: Explore Missouri

Welcome to Thousand Hills State Park, a stunning destination nestled near Kirksville, Missouri. This state park is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, offering an array of activities and amenities for everyone to enjoy. From nature trails that showcase the beauty of Missouri to camping under starry skies, fishing in crystal-clear lakes, and boating adventures on serene waters, Thousand Hills State Park has it all. Whether you’re seeking thrilling outdoor activities or simply looking for a peaceful retreat surrounded by scenic views, this family-friendly park is the perfect place to immerse yourself in the natural wonders of Missouri.

Key Takeaways:

  • Thousand Hills State Park is a breathtaking destination in Missouri, offering a wide range of outdoor activities.
  • Explore the park’s nature trails, perfect for hiking and immersing yourself in the state’s natural beauty.
  • Experience the joy of camping amidst picturesque landscapes and enjoying the tranquility of the great outdoors.
  • Indulge in fishing and boating adventures on Forest Lake, surrounded by scenic views and peaceful serenity.
  • Thousand Hills State Park is a family-friendly destination, providing a safe and enjoyable environment for all.

Essential Information about Thousand Hills State Park

Thousand Hills State Park, located just 2 miles west of Kirksville, Missouri, offers essential amenities for a great outdoor experience. The park features two campgrounds with both basic and electric campsites, as well as family campsites for those seeking a bit more space. Visitors can enjoy fishing and boating on Forest Lake, rent boats, kayaks, and canoes, and explore the hiking and mountain biking trails. The park also provides pet-friendly accommodations, picnic areas for gathering and outdoor dining, and cozy cabins for those looking for a comfortable stay.

For camping enthusiasts, Thousand Hills State Park offers a range of options to suit different needs. Whether you prefer a basic campsite or one with electrical hook-ups, the park has you covered. Additionally, families can choose from family campsites that provide extra space for larger groups. With the convenience of amenities and the beauty of nature, camping at Thousand Hills State Park is a truly memorable experience.

If fishing and boating are your preferred activities, Forest Lake at Thousand Hills State Park is the perfect spot. The lake is suitable for both novice and experienced anglers, with a variety of fish species to catch. Boats, kayaks, and canoes are available for rent, allowing visitors to explore the lake’s serene waters. Whether you’re casting a line or paddling along the shoreline, the tranquil atmosphere of Forest Lake will leave you feeling rejuvenated.

Facilities Activities
Pet-Friendly Accommodations Hiking
Picnic Areas Mountain Biking
Cozy Cabins

Thousand Hills State Park also caters to those who prefer a more relaxed outdoor experience. The park offers pet-friendly accommodations, making it possible for you to bring your furry friends along on your adventure. Additionally, there are numerous picnic areas throughout the park, providing the perfect setting for outdoor dining and gatherings with family and friends. For a comfortable and cozy stay, the park offers well-appointed cabins where you can unwind after a day filled with outdoor activities.

Park Highlights at Thousand Hills State Park

Thousand Hills State Park

Thousand Hills State Park in Missouri is truly a treasure trove of natural wonders. In addition to its stunning landscapes and family-friendly amenities, the park boasts several unique features that make it a standout destination for outdoor enthusiasts. Let’s explore some of the park highlights that you won’t want to miss.

Petroglyphs: Ancient Rock Carvings

One of the most fascinating aspects of Thousand Hills State Park is its collection of petroglyphs. These ancient rock carvings, estimated to be over 1,500 years old, are a testament to the rich history of the area. The petroglyphs at the park are listed on the National Register of Historic Places and offer visitors a glimpse into the lives and culture of the American Indians who once inhabited the region.

Forest Lake: A Scenic Haven

Forest Lake is another highlight of Thousand Hills State Park. With its 17 miles of shoreline, the lake provides a picturesque setting for outdoor activities and relaxation. Whether you want to take a leisurely stroll along the beach, go for a refreshing swim, or simply enjoy the tranquil views, Forest Lake offers a serene escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Hiking and Biking Trails: Nature’s Playground

If you’re a fan of hiking or biking, Thousand Hills State Park has you covered. The park boasts a network of well-maintained trails that wind through its beautiful landscapes. As you explore these trails, you’ll be treated to stunning views of the surrounding nature, including lush forests, meandering streams, and diverse wildlife. Whether you prefer a leisurely walk or an adrenaline-pumping bike ride, the park’s trails provide endless opportunities for outdoor adventure.

Picnic Areas: Outdoor Dining with a View

When it’s time to relax and refuel, Thousand Hills State Park offers numerous picnic areas where you can enjoy a meal amidst the beauty of nature. Whether you prefer a shaded spot under the canopy of trees or a sunny spot overlooking the lake, there are plenty of options to choose from. So pack a delicious picnic and savor the flavors while taking in the breathtaking scenery.

As you can see, Thousand Hills State Park is a true gem that offers something for everyone. From ancient petroglyphs to scenic lakes, from exhilarating trails to peaceful picnic areas, the park invites you to immerse yourself in the wonders of nature. So why wait? Plan your visit today and discover all that Thousand Hills State Park has to offer.

Exploring the Area and Nearby Parks

While Thousand Hills State Park offers a myriad of attractions, there are also plenty of opportunities for exploration in the surrounding area. Whether you’re seeking a picnic site, shelter, playground facilities, or even educational programs on nature, Kirksville and nearby parks have got you covered.

Picnic Sites and Shelters

Thousand Hills State Park boasts over 60 picnic sites, providing ample space for families and friends to gather and enjoy a delightful outdoor meal. These well-maintained sites are equipped with picnic tables and grills, creating a perfect setting for a relaxing lunch or dinner amidst nature’s beauty. Additionally, for special gatherings or events, the park offers open and enclosed shelters that can be reserved in advance. These shelters provide a convenient and comfortable space for larger groups.

Playground Facilities for Family-Friendly Fun

If you’re visiting the park with children, you’ll be pleased to know that Thousand Hills State Park offers playground facilities that are sure to keep the little ones entertained. With a variety of play structures and equipment, kids can let their imaginations run wild as they climb, slide, and swing to their heart’s content. The playground facilities are designed with safety in mind, ensuring a worry-free and enjoyable experience for families.

Natural Programs and Nearby Parks

In addition to the recreational activities within Thousand Hills State Park, visitors can also take advantage of the natural programs offered by park naturalists. These programs provide fascinating insights into the area’s unique flora, fauna, and geological features, enriching your understanding and appreciation of the natural world.

If you’re craving more outdoor adventures, nearby parks such as Big Creek Conservation Area await your exploration. These natural havens offer a variety of trails, inviting hikers and mountain bikers to immerse themselves in the beauty of the surrounding landscape. With an abundance of wildlife and diverse ecosystems, these nearby parks provide unforgettable experiences for nature enthusiasts.

So, whether you’re looking to enjoy a picnic surrounded by picturesque scenery, entertain your little ones at the playground facilities, or delve deeper into the natural wonders of the area, Kirksville and the nearby parks offer a wealth of options. Plan your visit to Thousand Hills State Park and its surroundings, and immerse yourself in the beauty and adventure that await.


Thousand Hills State Park in Missouri offers an unparalleled outdoor adventure in the midst of natural beauty. As I have explored its stunning landscapes and diverse activities, I have come to appreciate the unique opportunities it presents for visitors seeking a true connection with nature.

From camping by the serene Forest Lake to embarking on thrilling fishing expeditions, Thousand Hills State Park provides an array of experiences for outdoor enthusiasts of all ages. The park’s well-maintained trails offer breathtaking views, inviting hikers and bikers to immerse themselves in the splendor of Missouri’s natural wonders.

As I reflect on my time spent in this picturesque state park, I am reminded of the enchanting atmosphere and the feeling of being truly immersed in the great outdoors. Thousand Hills State Park captures the essence of Missouri’s natural beauty, making it a must-visit destination for anyone seeking an unforgettable outdoor adventure.


What activities can I enjoy at Thousand Hills State Park?

At Thousand Hills State Park, you can explore nature trails, go camping, fishing, and boating. There are also opportunities for hiking and mountain biking, as well as picnic areas for outdoor dining.

Are there camping facilities available at Thousand Hills State Park?

Yes, Thousand Hills State Park offers two campgrounds with basic and electric campsites. There are also family campsites for those who need more space. Additionally, cozy cabins are available for a comfortable stay.

Can I rent boats or other water equipment at Thousand Hills State Park?

Yes, visitors can rent boats, kayaks, and canoes at Thousand Hills State Park to enjoy fishing and boating adventures on Forest Lake.

Are there any unique features or landmarks in the park?

Yes, Thousand Hills State Park is home to ancient American Indian rock carvings known as petroglyphs. These carvings are over 1,500 years old and listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

What amenities are available at Thousand Hills State Park?

Thousand Hills State Park offers a beach and marina on Forest Lake, as well as picnic areas for gathering and outdoor dining. The park is also pet-friendly and provides playground facilities for children’s enjoyment.

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