THOUSAND HILLS STATE PARK
As the population of Kirksville expanded in the 1950s, the city sought to increase its supply of fresh water. Thousand Hills State Park was created following the construction of the 573-acre Forest Lake to serve as the city's reservoir. Today, the 3,215-acre park offers visitors a unique opportunity to explore the best of northern Missouri.
The park's central feature is the lake, created by the damming of Big Creek. While the reservoir supplies water to the community, the park's natural features recall a time when woodlands and savannas covered northern Missouri. Visitors can experience some of these natural wonders by hiking the park's trails.
The cool waters of Forest Lake offer a wide variety of recreational opportunities, including swimming, fishing, boating and skiing. Hiking, mountain bicycling and nature study are popular on-land activities. An interpretive shelter displays the park's petroglyphs - rock carvings left behind by the area's inhabitants more than 1,500 years ago. Visitors wanting to extend their stay can sleep in one of the cabins near the dining lodge or camp in a modern campground to experience more of what Thousand Hills State Park has to offer.
Water recreation is a highlight of Thousand Hills State Park's outdoor activities. The lake and its 17 miles of shoreline make it popular for fishing, water skiing, paddle boating, canoeing and motorboating.
At the marina, you can rent all types of boats including paddle boats, kayaks, canoes, fishing boats and pontoons. The marina also rents dock slips on a daily, weekly, monthly or annual basis as well as has a variety of ski and boating accessories for rent.
At the park store, located in the marina, you will find grocery items, all your picnic necessities, bait, firewood, ice, gas and permits for fishing and boating.
For your convenience, MasterCard, Visa and Discover are honored. Please contact the concessionaire for rates and additional information at (660) 665-3712.
Thousand Hills State Park features seven duplex cabins overlooking Forest Lake. The cabins are open March through November. All cabins are air-conditioned/heated. Linens and towels are provided. Each unit has a bath with shower, patio, picnic table, barbecue grill and color TV. Kitchen amenities include service for eight people, apartment size stove, refrigerator and microwave.
Check-in time is after 3 p.m. and check-out time is by 11 a.m. There is a $5 charge for each additional person over four per room with a maximum of six persons allowed per room. Rollaway beds and cribs are available at a nominal fee per day. No tents or camping on cabin grounds is allowed.
A photo ID and major credit card are required at the time of registration. Late arrivals are advised to call before 6 p.m. so proper arrangements may be made. The office closes at 9 p.m. daily. To inquire about availability or make a reservation, please contact the concessionaire at (660) 665-7119 or (660) 665-2811. Reservations are not accepted by e-mail.
Cabin rates for 2006 are shown below.
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The beach at Thousand Hills State Park is open May 31 to Sept. 1 from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, and from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. on weekends. Lifeguards are on duty full time. Dressing rooms and showers are also provided. A snack bar is open at the beach during these times offering soda, chips, water and candy.
The beach will be closed on days the concessionaire and the park superintendent feel the weather is inclement. Please check the boathouse for possible closing information or call the park office at (660) 665-6995.
Located in close proximity to the park's dining lodge is a paved boat ramp approximately three stalls wide. A city permit is required on all private boats. Outboard motors over 90 horsepower are not allowed to operate on Forest Lake.
Thousand Hills State Park boasts excellent fishing opportunities at the 573-acre Forest Lake, which is stocked with crappie, largemouth bass, walleye and channel catfish among others.
All largemouth bass more than 12 inches but less than 15 inches, and all walleye less than 18 inches in total length must be returned to the water unharmed immediately after being caught.
Fish may be taken only with pole or rod with an attached line, limb lines or bank lines with the exception of carp, which may be taken by gig, longbow or crossbow during statewide seasons (no trot lines or jug lines allowed).
Not more than three poles or rods may be used by one person.
Bullfrogs and green frogs may be taken during the statewide season, but only by hand, hand net, gig, longbow or hook and lines.
Seining or trapping live bait is prohibited.
Outboard motors over 90 horsepower are not allowed to operate on Forest Lake.