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Missouri State Parks

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USA Parks
Central Region
Knob Noster State Park
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873 SE 10
Knob Noster, Missouri   65336

Phone: 660-563-2463
Toll Free: 800-334-6946
Reservations: 877-422-6766
Email: park email button icon
Just south of Highway 50, about midway between Sedalia and Warrensburg, lies an often overlooked gem of the Missouri state park system. Knob Noster State Park is an ideal spot for relaxing and forgetting the cares of the world - even if just for a few hours. The park is an interesting mixture of prairie, savanna and forest, with 3,567 acres lying along both sides of a meandering creek. Several small lakes in the park cater to the fisherman, and non-motorized boats may be used. Picnic sites dot the lakeshore and three open picnic shelters make an ideal place for group get-togethers in a tranquil setting.

The outdoor adventurer can enjoy several trails running through the park, including an equestrian and an all-terrain bicycle trail. Budding naturalists will enjoy hiking out to one of the savanna restoration areas and seeking out the many bird species found in the park. Pin Oak Slough Natural Area along Clearfork Creek has been recognized for its unique natural beauty.

For visitors wanting to enjoy more than just a few hours here, there is a wooded campground with modern amenities. Two group camps offer outdoor facilities and fun for larger, organized groups.
Knob Noster State Park offers basic and electric campsites and equestrian, group and special-use camping areas. Services available include reservable campsites, dump station, showers, water and laundry.

For reservations, there is a required two-night minimum stay for weekends and major holidays from May 15 through Sept. 15.


Most state parks have basic campsites, which include a parking pad, table, grill and lantern post; and electric campsites, which have basic facilities plus electricity. Some sites offer basic facilities plus electric, water and sewer hookups. Many camping areas have modern restrooms, hot showers, trailer dump stations, coin-operated laundries and firewood.

In 2006, reservations are accepted in 34 state parks. A portion of campsites in the reservation parks are available for the first-come, first-served user. Also, first-come, first-served users may occupy an available reservable campsite on a day-by-day basis if the site is not reserved. Before occupying a reservable site, check with facility staff or follow the directions on the "Vacant" card.

In 2006, the following park facilities offer only first-come, first-served campsites:

Battle of Athens State Historic SiteLong Branch State ParkPrairie State ParkTaum Sauk Mountain State ParkVan Meter State Park


Nearly all state park campgrounds are open year-round. Electric hookups are available year-round, while water and showers are usually available from April 1 through Oct. 31 in most state parks. Roaring River, Bennett Spring and Montauk state parks are operational Feb. 25. Camping is limited to any 15 days within a 30-consecutive-day period at any one park. Other special management regulations may apply; these regulations are posted in the appropriate state parks and historic sites. To secure a campsite, campers should be prepared to place on the campsite substantial personal property (i.e. dining fly, trailer, tent, licensed vehicle, etc.)

A "no vacancy" sign implies that all first-come, first-served sites are rented for the night, and that all reservable sites are paid in full and reserved for the night. Reservation customers are permitted to arrive any time within the first 24 hours of their stay. This results in some reserved sites remaining empty for the first night when the customer chooses to arrive the next morning. The park or historic site is obligated to hold the reserved site for 24 hours.

Firewood is available for sale at designated times at most state parks, or you may bring your own. Gathering firewood is strictly prohibited. Campers are asked not to bring firewood in from Michigan, Indiana or Ohio, where infestations of the Emerald Ash Borer are prevalent.

Pets as Park Visitors

Pets must be on a secured leash that is no longer than 10 feet, reasonably quiet at all times, under control of the owner and never left unsupervised. Pets are not allowed in any park structures (including restrooms and showerhouses). Also, pets are restricted from swimming areas (including beaches) and waters reserved for fishing.

Senior and Disabled Citizens

Citizens who are 65 years of age or older or persons with disabilities are entitled to a reduced camping fee. An official document such as a driver's license certifying proof of age or disability must be presented when registering.

Camper Awards

Individuals or families camping in five state parks or historic sites during one year and not violating any park rules and regulations are awarded a certificate and patch. Camper verification cards are available at all state parks and historic sites and must be verified by staff at each place the individual or family camps.

There are two small lakes (Buteo and Clearfork) and a creek (Clearfork) that offer visitors the opportunity to fish. Catfish, bass, bluegill and crappie are some of the fish anglers may catch while fishing at Knob Noster State Park. Fishing is available sunrise to sunset daily, except during special management activities when the park may be closed.

Adult anglers must have a valid fishing license as described in the Wildlife Code of Missouri. (Depending on age, some anglers may not need a license to fish.)

Bank fishing is the most common way to fish here. There are no boat launches, however, small boats such as canoes can be carried from the parking lot to the water and hand launched. Electric trolling motors may be used.

Knob Noster State Park is located near Warrensburg

There are seven trails within Knob Noster State Park, ranging in distance from one-half mile to 7.1 miles. All trails are open for hiking. McAdoo Trail is the only trail open to equestrians and mountain bicyclists. Trails take visitors to different habitats in the park and offer a variety of animal and plant viewing opportunities. Trails are marked with different color arrows.

Discovery Trail (green arrows)

Visitors having just a few hours in the park may want to take the Discovery Trail. This three-fourths mile loop is rich in spring and summer wildflowers and offers a view of No Name Creek, where minnows, frogs, birds and deer are common sights. The Discovery Trail begins in the campground, winds around to the visitor center, then travels along the creek for a short distance before reaching the campground again.

North Loop Trail (yellow arrows)

This two-mile trail begins in the campground by the first showerhouse, and offers visitors a glimpse into the past. The forested trail opens up into a prairie management area before leading visitors through a rich, moist bottomland timberstand vivid with spring and summer wildflowers. On this trail, it is easy to imagine how the landscape appeared to settlers as they traveled through these once widespread plant communities. Possible wildlife sightings along this trail include the eastern bluebird, pileated woodpecker, turkey and deer. A connector trail marked with white arrows will shorten the length of the trail by approximately one-half mile.

Buteo Trail (white arrows)

Buteo Trail circles Buteo Lake and allows easy access to anglers wishing to try their luck at catching the "big one." Beaver, muskrat, frogs, snakes, several species of fish and even freshwater jellyfish inhabit Buteo Lake. The trail is slightly longer than a mile and has a very small section that travels on a park road due to beaver activity around the lake.

Hawk Nest Trail (red arrows)

Open woodlands dominated by oak and hickories enrich the experience of this one and three-fourths mile trail. Hawk Nest Trail shares sections of trail with both the Buteo and Clearfork Savanna trails. Due to the variety of habitats along the trail, many different kinds of plants and animals may be seen or heard. Wildflowers are abundant during spring and summer months.

Clearfork Savanna Trail (blue arrows)

This one-half mile loop allows access to a small interior section of a large open woodland management area known as Clearfork Savanna, providing a distinct contrast from the density of the Opossum Hollow Trail. Clearfork Savanna has been managed for more than 10 years, whereas the Opossum Hollow area has had limited management application.

Opossum Hollow Trail (green arrows)

This one and one-half mile trail is tucked away at the far end of Redbud Lane. Visitors located in the main campground will need to drive to access the trail head. Many areas of the park once contained open woodland, and the Opossum Hollow area is currently being managed and restored to provide an example of this habitat.

McAdoo Trail (yellow arrows)

This 7.1-mile trail is the park's only trail open to equestrians and mountain bicyclists, as well as hikers. The trail travels through both bottomland and upland forests with several creek crossings. Travelers on this trail will pass through Christopher Woods, a section of forest that contains the oldest stand of continuous timber within the park. Clearfork Creek may be crossed by using an old iron bridge. After heavy rains, this trail has many areas that hold water, so users will want to plan accordingly. This is a very rugged trail for mountain bicyclists and hikers, due to the standing water and hoof prints that can be present.
Nature Programs
From mid-May to mid-September, park naturalists offer a variety of interpretive programs, including nature walks, afternoon and evening programs, Junior Naturalist Program hours, nature crafts and games, live animal demonstrations and storytelling. Different programs are offered on a weekly basis. Call the park naturalist at (660) 536-2463 to find out which programs are scheduled for the current week or to schedule a group program.

Weekly program schedules are posted on bulletin boards in the campground and at the visitor center. Programs last a maximum of one hour and are free and open to all park visitors (both day users and campers). Reservations are not required unless noted. Parents should accompany children to programs.

Park naturalists also offer programs for civic groups and schools throughout the year with advance reservations. These programs are designed to assist educators with scientific and natural history lessons, groups earning nature-related badges or simply to satisfy the urge to learn more about the natural history of Missouri. At least two weeks advance notice is preferred for group programs. These programs can be presented on-site or off-site. Off-site programs are offered to groups within the surrounding communities only. Call the park naturalist at (660) 536-2463 if you would like to discuss scheduling a program.

Visitor Comments, Memories and Reviews
October 23 Love the new equestrian trail
park review stars; one to five
August 13 Always enjoy this park
park review stars; one to five
June 8 one of my best places by jayjay
park review stars; one to five
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Nearby Hotels

From the Kansas City Area : Knob Noster State Park is about 50 miles from the junction of U.S. Hwy. 50 and Hwy. 291 at Lee's Summit; the trip will take about one hour depending on traffic. Travel east on U.S. Hwy. 50 to the Hwy. 23/Knob Noster exit. Turn right/south onto Hwy. 23 and continue for about one mile before turning right at the main park entrance.

From Columbia : Knob Noster State Park is about 90 miles from Columbia; the trip will take about one and one-half hours. Travel west on I-70 to Exit 78/U.S. Hwy. 65. Take U.S. Hwy. 65 south to U.S. Hwy. 50 in Sedalia; turn right/west onto U.S. Hwy. 50. Continue about 20 miles to the Hwy. 23/Knob Noster exit. Turn left/south onto Hwy. 23 and continue for about one mile before turning right at the main park entrance.

From Springfield : Knob Noster State Park is about 140 miles from Springfield; the trip will take about two and one-half hours. Travel north on U.S. Hwy. 65 to Sedalia. Turn left/west onto U.S. Hwy. 50 and continue about 20 miles to the Hwy. 23/Knob Noster exit. Turn left/south onto Hwy. 23 and continue for about one mile before turning right at the main park entrance.

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Missouri State Parks