Kayaking Smithville Lake, Missouri

After waiting for what seemed like forever for the end of winer, a bit of very warm weather blew through on just the right day.  I was hosting an event for our local kayaking a group at Smithville lake in Missouri and the weather couldn't have been better for getting out on the water. 

My incredibly cheap kayak held up through all the trips last summer and being stashed on it's end in my garage all winter, which surprised me a little bit.  So I grabbed all my gear for a day trip and headed out to one of my favorite area lakes. 


Why do I love Smithville Lake? To start the lake is huge. There are miles and miles of shoreline to paddle along and quiet coves to explore.  They have conservation and wildlife areas to paddle through and beaches to stop at for a swim. I'll never get bored here. I camp quite often there and in my experience the campgrounds are always clean with grassy, soft ground that's easy to pitch a tent in, and the lake views from the majority of the sites can't be beat. Most importantly, there are several excellent spots to drop in the kayak for a day of paddling.  Oh, and the showers are always clean with lots of hot water, something I really appreciate.


Here is a bit of info on Smithville Lake: 

Smithville Lake is a 7,190-acre (29 km2) reservoir on the Little Platte branch of the Platte River in Clay County, Missouri near Smithville. It provides the water supply for Smithville, Missouri and Plattsburg, Missouri. Kansas City, Missouri has reserved a portion for its water supply.
The lake was built and is administered by the Kansas City office of the United States Army Corps of Engineers (which includes all of Missouri and Kansas, as well as small portions of Nebraska and Iowa) primarily for flood control. The lake is 10th largest of Corps lakes in the district, but third in terms of shoreline. It has 5,000 acres (20 km2) of public land and 175 miles (282 km) of shoreline.


I am looking forward to my next trip on the Little Niangua River in the Ozarks region of Missouri.  I still can't decide if I like kayaking lakes or rivers better.  The Midwest has such an abundance of both and they are all so amazing it's hard to decide. 



A little blurry but I think you can tell I was happy to hit the water!

Lebanon, MO and Bennett Springs State Park

To get away from the city and enjoy a day of relaxation, pack up and head to Bennett Spring State Park. It is just eleven miles west of Lebanon, MO on highway 64.


 Bennett Spring offically became a state park on December 27, 1924 when the first 8.5 acres were purchased from Josie Bennett Smith. Weeks later over 560 acres were purchased from William Sherman Bennett (Josie's brother). These two purchases make up the land that now holds the park's store, office, dining lodge and trout hatchery.
Jerry Brice was on of the original settlers of the Bennett Spring area. Around the spring he built a mill for local farmers to bring their grain to for grinding.
Years later the Bennett family settled around the spring. Peter Bennett built a mill there as well to replace the one built by Brice that had washed away in a storm. This mill became a central trading post for farmers. Business was so strong Peter build 2 more mills.
It is thought that in the early 1900s William Sherman Bennett (Peter Bennett's son) emptied cans of young trout into the spring and found out the fish thrived in the cool waters of the spring.
Throughout the years the state purchased more land to surround the original 570 acres to turn it into the 3216 acres the park has today.

There is a conservation fish hatchery and a state park with a lot of interesting things to see and do. They allow trout fishing up and down the spring fed stream which puts out 100,000,000 gallons of cool clear water every day into the river. At the source of the river is Missouri's third largest spring. It provides the river with nearly 100 million gallons of 57°F water every day. At the spring's base is where the trout are stocked daily from the parks own trout hatchery. The stream is stocked with over 320,000 rainbow trout yearly. It attracts over 150,000 fishermen yearly.

Fishing Season (catch and keep): March 1st through October 31st.
Catch And Release: 2nd Friday in Nov. through the 2nd Monday in February (Friday - Monday).
If hiking is your thing than they have trails that lead through the rugged terrain. A natural bridge is on one of the trails. You can rent a canoe for a trip down the Niangua River.

They also have campgrounds. The campgrounds are close to all the activity and there are full hook-ups, water, electric and sewer, the basic tent sites are also available.

There is a camp store that has most of your needs and of course your fishing tags, there is a nature center to visit. This park also has camping cabins and motel rooms if you don't want to take your camper. The campsite pads on the lower level are paved and the upper levels are gravel with toilet and water available in areas. They have about 500 campsites.

There are plenty of restrooms at various points and the roads are all paved. There are covered picnic shelters and a playground for children. There is a swimming pool.
If you don't want to cook they have an excellent dining lodge. You can get breakfast, lunch and a great dinner.


On Fathers day weekend the park has "Hillbilly Days". It is a time when all sorts of craft makers come out and display their crafts. They have a car show and a bluegrass singing event. It is a time for fun for all ages.

In the town of Lebanon, you shouldn't miss the Route 66 Museum and the old Laclede County Jail. The Route 66 Museum is located in the Peggy Palmer Summers Library, inside is also Django's coffeehouse. Located on S. Jefferson Ave and the old jail is in front of the new government center on Adams Street.


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