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The Bennett Spring area was founded by pioneers who used the cool, rushing waters of the spring-fed stream for gristmills. Now, it’s one of America’s premier trout destinations where people come to wrestle with rainbow trout and fish a stream that’s stocked every night. Bennett Spring State Park has fishing, hiking that runs from simple to strenuous, and a lodge with hearty stick-to-your ribs food. The park’s proximity to Interstate 44 makes it an easy trip from all parts of Missouri.
The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), created by the federal government in the 1930s, contributed much to the present-day character of the park. Their projects included cabins, shelter houses, roads and trails, and the beautiful arched bridge across the spring branch. The best example of CCC construction in the park is the rustic dining lodge. Noted for its fine food, the dining room features stone walls, beamed ceilings and blacksmith-made iron chandeliers with a trout motif.
The park offers ample opportunity for camping, swimming, hiking and nature appreciation. There are basic, electric and full hook-up campsites, as well as a sanitation station, modern restrooms, showers, coin-operated laundries and a camper store, fully stocked with groceries and fishing supplies. Summer visitors can cool off in the modern public swimming pool. The adjacent Niangua River has long been popular as a float stream, and canoe rentals are available.
Exhibits interpreting Missouri’s springs and the natural environment are on display at the nature center, where a naturalist offers programs throughout the year. Guided nature walks, spring wildflower hikes, fall foliage hikes and a variety of other presentations are all offered free.
More rugged hikes can be made on your own. Spring Valley Trail will challenge those wanting to see more Ozark backcountry. Natural Tunnel Trail extends along Spring Hollow to the Bennett Spring Natural Tunnel – an intact segment of a collapsed cave that is 15 feet high, 50 feet wide and 100 yards long. These and other trails wind through Bennett Spring State Park, providing scenic views of the spring and spring branch as well as access to bluff tops, hardwood forest and small Ozark streams. There is also extensive oak-hickory forest, with an understory of redbud, dogwood, serviceberry trees and an abundant variety of wildflowers that provide a contrasting array of colors throughout the seasons. Beaver, muskrats, deer, turkey, mink, great blue heron and other wildlife all call the park home.
PARK HOURS & FEES
- Lodging/Store 417-532-4307
- Dining 417-532-4547
- Nature Center 417-532-3925
26250 Hwy 64A
Lebanon, MO 65536-6797
For more information click HERE.
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