State Park #15: Wallace State Park

This post is part of an ongoing series summarizing each State Park in Missouri that our family has attended. We hope to visit each of 54 State Parks before the kids graduate from high school.

Each Winter for the past few years, we’ve tried to get out to a local state park to let the kids play in icy creek beds. So long as we’ve had a good freeze, sometimes they can walk out into the marsh at Van Meter, for example, which is a a unique experience they enjoy.

This year, it had gotten so cold for so long that we couldn’t really do much outside, but we needed to get out of the house to do something, so we figured a longer road trip to a more distant state park than we’d usually visit as a one-off was a good idea. After poking around a bit, we found Wallace State Park near Cameron, MO.

To be honest, there really wasn’t much there. This park is north of Kansas City, so we suspect it gets visited quite a bit by that crowd as a day trip to swim at a lake and get some light hiking in. The camping facilities look fine, but as it was still covered in snow, it was difficult to get a good sense of how populated (or popular?) it tends to be. Some of the camp sites we passed were primitive, but interestingly, they were far enough away from the parking area and roads that it almost felt as if they were back-country sites. Those are the kinds of places we’d probably consider, though they’re further from our car and from firewood.

The primary attraction appears to be the lake. I say “appears” because, well, we couldn’t really see the lake as it was frozen over and covered with snow. We think we have a sense of how big it is, and I bet a hot, summer day there playing would be fun. It looked like there’s a beach, but it doesn’t look as large as Long Branch has, so it’s tough to say how crazy it gets around there if folks from KC come up to go swim.

We walked out to the middle of the lake, which frankly, made me a bit nervous… Still, it had been so cold prior to that day, and others had walked out seemingly recently, so we took the chance. Again, a unique experience for the kids!

The last thing we did before leaving was check out a hiking trail. There are a few trails on the property, but none of them seemed particularly long. We only went about 0.8 mi that day, but considering we were walking in snow, it sure felt like we were doing more than we actually did. The trail looked interesting, at least, but again, with all the snow, it was difficult to get a sense for how “good” the trail was.

In all, it was a fun excursion and the weather was perfect for it! I can say I’ve walked out onto a frozen lake now, too! Hopefully something I never do again…..

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