Few authors in history have captured a place the way that Mark Twain captured the Mississippi River and surrounding valley. Through detailed personal accounts and enduring fictionalizations, Twain’s works immortalized the Mississippi Valley and its people at a formative time in American history. Consequently, several lakes, forests, valleys, and mountains have been named after Mark Twain, including Mark Twain State Park in northwestern Missouri.
The park is an outdoorsman’s paradise, displaying rich plant and animal life amidst the Mark Twain Lake and natural bluffs. Over six miles of hiking trails circumvent the lake, which itself offers boating activities and water sports to adventure-seekers. Most people who visit the park are interested in the trails, swimming, and fishing, although there is plenty else to do, including wine tasting and cabin camping.
If you want to visit with your family, there are picnic areas and plenty of facilities for you to take advantage of, making this an easy and accessible place to spend the day or evening. Missouri Department of Natural Resources manages Mark Twain State Park, and rangers on location offer guided nature tours and outdoor activities for those interested.
Dogs are welcome anywhere in the park provided that you keep them on a ten-foot leash at all times. If you want to go all out, all Missouri state parks offer at least one dog-friendly cabin where you, your dog, and your family can enjoy rustic living for a short time. Whenever you are visiting a park with your dog, be responsible and pack dog waste out.
Enjoy the hikes with your dog and simply plan to make sure that you and your dog have the best experience possible while you are visiting. Mark Twain State Park has the additional draw of being the birthplace of Samuel Clemens, the real name of the man that lives on forever as Mark Twain. You and your dog are welcome to visit, explore the raw Missouri landscape, and take in the same water and air that inspired one of America’s greatest literary voices.