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Tour of Missouri: Long Branch State Park

Labor Day Weekend we achieved one of our 2014 goals. We visited our fifth state park in a year and earned our Camper's Award from the State of Missouri.

Long Branch State Park is located in Macon, Missouri right at the intersection of 36 and 63 Highways. For those of you from the Kansas City area it reminds me a lot of Smithville Lake. The lake is completely the focus of this state park.

We explored the lake by driving around. It was apparent really quickly that this lake is huge. Not only did we find Long Branch Lake but we also found Macon Lake. Both entertained us.

Long Branch has a camping area with electric hook-ups but they also have primitive camping available as well as hike-in camping. Our campsite was located in a tree grove which provided great coverage from the sun.  The shade coverage provided us with amazing sleep both nights because the sun was kept at bay. We also enjoyed two rain showers during our holiday weekend.

We like to hike during our state park visits. Long Branch Park only has four hiking trails. Two of them are long; really long - in excess of 3 miles long.  Most of them were also in full sun with little shade as they were in areas we have come to know as "Prairie Restoration Areas".  Meaning, no shade. We selected a path with some shade that was under 2 miles and hiked it; The Lakeview Trail. The Short Chic thanked us. The Dog thanked us too.  The Dog is over hiking! We found many Missouri Wildflowers on our trip. They flourish in Prairie Restoration Areas.

Long Branch has a public access beach that we visited and enjoyed the cool water on one of the last warm days Missouri was forecasted to have. The swimming area is nice with gradual slopes that allow everyone to play in the water. The Short Chic and her Daddy made a sand castle before calling it a day.

The location of the state park was convenient for us as it allowed others to visit us. My mother, oldest brother, his girlfriend and some high school friends all visited us at the campsite. We selected this state park due to its proximity to the annual Labor Day Balloon Festival at a nearby town. If you were looking for things to do outside the state park, you could visit the childhood home of Walt Disney (Marceline, Missouri) and tour the local museum.

This is our 7th camping trip this year. Our sixth state park (including Katy Trail State Park).  This was the first camping trip that we encountered the walking stick. He showed up at our camp site the morning of our second day and hung around all weekend. At one point, The Walking Stick decided to leave the post he had been guarding and decided to introduce himself to The Short Chic. I am sure the entire campground heard her scream. That makes two creatures she has no need for (the crawdad and the walking stick).

Happy Camping!


  1. There are three trails one is 0.6 miles long. The second is 1.5 miles long, and the third is 7.5 miles long.

  2. Thank you, Anonymous. There are actually 4 trails. The Bee Trace trail has a north loop (4 miles long) and a south loop (3.5 miles long). The Little Chariton is a loop that is 1.5 miles long. My GPS actually logged the Lakeview Trail as .8 miles not .6 and that is one way; making the entire trail 1.6 miles long.


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