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Camdenton, Missouri: Ruins of Ha Ha Tonka Team Field Report

Ha Ha Tonka State Park

1491 State Hwy D, Camdenton, MO
At Ha Ha Tonka State Park. I-44 exit 150 (Richland). Drive north on Hwy 7 for 32 miles, then north on Hwy 5 for three more miles. Turn west onto US Hwy 54 for 2.5 miles. Just before the bridge turn left onto an unnamed road. Drive a half-mile. Turn right and drive 1.5 miles. You'll see a castle-like rock sign on the right. Turn right and drive a half-mile to the castle.
Daily summer 7 am-sunset; winter 8 am-sunset. (Call to verify) Local health policies may affect hours and access.
RA Rates:
Worth a Detour
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Ruins of Ha Ha Tonka.

Ruins of Ha Ha Tonka

Built by a Kansas City millionaire who died before it was completed. The castle was gutted by fire in 1942; now it's a shutterbug-worthy ruin. Report...

Visitor Tips and News About Ruins of Ha Ha Tonka

Reports and tips from visitors and Roadside America mobile tipsters. Some tips may not be verified. Submit your own tip.

Ruins of Ha Ha Tonka.

Ruins of Ha Ha Tonka

You don't expect something like this in the middle of Missouri. The trip up to the castle from the parking lot was not a long hike, but there are trails around it if you want to explore.

[Janelle, 03/16/2021]


Ruins of Ha Ha Tonka

The castle was nice, and the entire state park is beautiful! I recommend the Spring Trail for great views of the castle, cliffs, water, and forest -- with less crowds. Great place to stretch your (and your dogs') legs.

[Casey Shivers, 12/29/2020]
Ruins of Ha Ha Tonka

About the name: I have never visited Ha Ha Tonka, nor have I ever been to Missouri, but I may know the origins of the name. The word "Tonka" is a Dakota word meaning "great." I know this because I live on a large lake in the suburban Twin Cities named Lake Minnetonka, and go to a high school by that name (Fun fact: Tonka trucks are originally from here and named after the lake). All the local histories I have read consider it as coming from the Dakota name "Mni tonk a" meaning "great water."

As for the Ha Ha part, I believe that is just the English language imitation of laughter, used to give the name a pseudo-Indian sound. Minnehaha Falls in Minneapolis is sometimes translated as "Laughing Water" because of this (It really means "waterfall," apparently). So the name "Ha Ha Tonka" works out to be "Great (or Big) Laughing," which is very nonsensical! I don't really know if the origins of the name matter or not, I just thought it might be interesting.

[Bailey, 03/24/2014]

Ruins of a castle.

Ruins of a Castle

Beautiful and fun to try to think of stories about the place from the architecture and markings in the ruins. Be sure to check out the water tower.

[Divinydistant, 07/15/2012]

Nearby Offbeat Places

Bridal CaveBridal Cave, Camdenton, MO - 3 mi.
Chief Bagnell and Country Bumpkin: Muffler MenChief Bagnell and Country Bumpkin: Muffler Men, Lake Ozark, MO - 17 mi.
Cup Tree and Shoe FenceCup Tree and Shoe Fence, Gravois Mills, MO - 19 mi.
In the region:
Crystal Cave, Springfield, MO - 52 mi.

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