Smithville Lake Trail In Missouri

Here is everything you need to know about the Smithville Lake Trail:

  • Trail System: National Recreation Trail
  • State: Missouri
  • Length: 20 miles.
  • Type: Multi-use
  • Surface: gravel
  • Managed By: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
  • Permit Required?: No
  • Website: Info not available.

The Smithville Lake Trail, located in Clay County, Missouri, has a rich history that dates back several decades. The trail was initially developed in the late 1960s as part of a larger project to create a recreational area around the newly constructed Smithville Lake. The lake itself was built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to provide flood control and water supply for the Kansas City metropolitan area.

The construction of the Smithville Lake Trail began in 1968 and was completed in 1970. The trail was designed to offer visitors a scenic route around the lake, allowing them to enjoy the natural beauty of the surrounding landscape. It was initially a gravel path, but over the years, it has been improved and expanded to accommodate different recreational activities.

Throughout its history, the Smithville Lake Trail has been a popular destination for hikers, joggers, cyclists, and nature enthusiasts. The trail offers stunning views of the lake, with various access points and parking areas along its route. Over time, additional amenities such as picnic areas, restrooms, and fishing spots have been added to enhance visitors’ experience.

Today, the Smithville Lake Trail continues to be a beloved recreational spot, attracting both locals and tourists alike. Its historical significance, coupled with its natural beauty, makes it a cherished part of the community’s heritage. The trail serves as a reminder of the area’s commitment to preserving its natural resources and providing opportunities for outdoor recreation.

While On The Trail

Access Points

1. Camp Branch Marina Trailhead
2. Little Platte Park Trailhead
3. Sailboat Cove Trailhead
4. Paradise Pointe Golf Course Trailhead
5. Crow’s Creek Campground Trailhead
6. Smithville Lake Dam Trailhead
7. Smithville Lake Visitor Center Trailhead
8. Bee Creek Park Trailhead
9. Eagle’s Landing Golf Course Trailhead
10. Camp Branch Glade Trailhead

Transportation Available

1. Smithville Lake Trail Shuttle – Shuttle service specifically for the Smithville Lake Trail.
2. Local Taxi – Taxi service available for transportation needs in the area.
3. Ride-Share Services – Popular ride-sharing platforms like Uber and Lyft operate in the vicinity.
4. Bike Rentals – Local shops offering bike rentals for exploring the Smithville Lake Trail.
5. Car Rental Agencies – Various car rental companies providing vehicles for transportation.
6. Public Bus – Local public transportation system with routes near the Smithville Lake Trail.
7. Airport Shuttle – Shuttle service to and from nearby airports.
8. Limousine Service – Luxury transportation service for special occasions or events.
9. Motorcycle Rentals – Rental services for motorcycles, ideal for exploring the trail.
10. Horseback Riding Tours – Guided horseback riding tours available for a unique transportation experience.


The amenities available at the Smithville Lake Trail may include:

1. Restrooms: There may be restroom facilities available along the trail for visitors’ convenience.

2. Parking: There should be designated parking areas or lots where visitors can park their vehicles before accessing the trail.

3. Camping Sites: Depending on the trail, there might be designated camping sites or nearby campgrounds where visitors can set up tents or park RVs for overnight stays.

4. Picnic Areas: There may be designated picnic areas along the trail where visitors can enjoy outdoor meals and relax.

5. Benches and Seating: Throughout the trail, there may be benches or seating areas where visitors can rest and take in the surroundings.

6. Water Fountains: There might be water fountains or hydration stations along the trail to provide drinking water for visitors.

7. Informational Signage: Along the trail, there may be informational signage providing details about the trail, its history, and any points of interest.

8. Trash Receptacles: To maintain cleanliness, there should be trash receptacles along the trail for visitors to dispose of their waste properly.

9. Bike Racks: For cyclists, there may be bike racks available at various points along the trail to securely park their bicycles.

10. Dog-Friendly Areas: Some sections of the trail may allow dogs, and there might be designated areas or waste stations for pet owners.

Please note that the availability of these amenities may vary, and it is recommended to check with the local authorities or trail management for the most accurate and up-to-date information.

Nearby Services

1. Smithville Lake Campground – A campground located near the trail offering lodging options for outdoor enthusiasts.
2. Smithville Lake Marina – A marina providing food services and boat rentals for visitors.
3. Paradise Pointe Golf Complex – A golf complex with a restaurant and lodging facilities near the trail.
4. Smithville Lake Bait & Tackle – A bait and tackle shop offering food services and fishing supplies.
5. Smithville Lake Nature Center – A nature center providing educational resources and emergency services for trail visitors.

Smithville Lake Trail Difficulty Notes

The Smithville Lake Trail offers a moderate difficulty level, making it suitable for hikers of various skill levels. The trail consists of well-maintained paths with some elevation changes, providing a good workout without being overly strenuous. The terrain varies from wooded areas to open fields, offering a diverse and scenic experience. While there are some challenging sections, such as steep inclines or rocky areas, they are manageable with proper footwear and caution. Overall, the Smithville Lake Trail provides an enjoyable and moderately challenging hiking experience for outdoor enthusiasts.

Features And Attractions

1. Smithville Lake: The trail itself offers stunning views of Smithville Lake, a 7,200-acre reservoir known for its clear waters and beautiful surroundings. You can enjoy panoramic views of the lake as you hike or bike along the trail.

2. Little Platte Park: Located along the trail, Little Platte Park is a scenic area with picnic spots, fishing docks, and a boat ramp. It offers a peaceful setting with views of the lake and surrounding nature.

3. Camp Branch Marina: This marina is situated on the eastern side of Smithville Lake and offers a picturesque view of the water. You can see boats sailing by and enjoy the serene atmosphere.

4. Paradise Pointe Golf Complex: As you pass by Paradise Pointe Golf Complex, you can admire the well-maintained golf courses and the beautiful landscape surrounding them. It’s a great spot to take a break and enjoy the scenery.

5. Heritage Park: This historical site is located near the trail and offers a glimpse into the area’s past. It features a restored one-room schoolhouse, a log cabin, and other historical structures. You can explore the park and learn about the region’s history.

6. Wildlife Viewing Areas: The Smithville Lake Trail is known for its abundant wildlife. Along the way, you may spot various bird species, deer, foxes, and other animals. There are designated wildlife viewing areas where you can stop and observe the natural beauty.

7. Woodland Shores: This area along the trail offers a peaceful and secluded atmosphere. You can enjoy the shade of the trees and the tranquility of the surroundings. It’s a great spot to relax and take in the natural beauty.

8. Smithville Dam: Near the trail, you can find the Smithville Dam, which helps regulate the water levels of the lake. It’s an impressive structure and offers a unique perspective on the lake and its surroundings.

9. Sunset Point: As the name suggests, Sunset Point is a popular spot to watch the sunset over Smithville Lake. It offers breathtaking views and is a great place to capture beautiful photographs.

10. Natural Landscapes: Throughout the trail, you’ll encounter various natural landscapes, including forests, meadows, and wetlands. These diverse environments provide a rich and ever-changing backdrop for your journey.

These are just a few examples of the scenic views, historical sites, and natural landmarks you can experience along the Smithville Lake Trail.

Usage Guidelines

– Dogs must be kept on a leash at all times.
– Clean up after your pets and dispose of waste properly.
– Bicycles are allowed on designated trails only.
– Motorized vehicles are prohibited on the trail.
– Hunting is not allowed on the trail.
– No camping or overnight stays on the trail.
– Fires and open flames are strictly prohibited.
– No littering; please carry out all trash.
– Respect wildlife and do not disturb their habitats.
– Stay on designated trails and do not venture off-trail.
– Observe seasonal restrictions, if any, as posted by park authorities.
– Follow all posted signs and regulations for your safety and the preservation of the trail.

Seasonal Information

Smithville Lake Trail is a popular outdoor destination located in Smithville, Missouri. The trail offers breathtaking views of the picturesque Smithville Lake and provides a variety of recreational activities for visitors to enjoy. When planning a visit to the Smithville Lake Trail, it is important to consider the best times of the year to visit and any seasonal closures that may affect your experience.

One of the best times to visit the Smithville Lake Trail is during the spring season, particularly in April and May. During this time, the trail is adorned with vibrant wildflowers and lush greenery, creating a stunning backdrop for hikers, bikers, and nature enthusiasts. The weather is generally pleasant, with mild temperatures and lower humidity, making it ideal for outdoor activities. Spring also brings an abundance of wildlife, including migratory birds, which adds to the allure of the trail.

Another great time to visit the Smithville Lake Trail is in the fall, specifically during the months of September and October. The trail is transformed into a kaleidoscope of colors as the leaves change, offering a breathtaking display of autumn foliage. The cooler temperatures make hiking or biking more comfortable, and the trail is less crowded compared to the summer months. Fall is also a great time for fishing enthusiasts, as the lake is known for its excellent bass fishing.

It is important to note that the Smithville Lake Trail may have seasonal closures or restrictions in certain areas. During the winter months, some sections of the trail may be closed due to inclement weather or maintenance work. It is advisable to check with the local authorities or the Smithville Lake Visitor Center for any updates or closures before planning your visit. Additionally, it is always recommended to pack appropriate gear and be prepared for changing weather conditions, especially during the colder months.

Overall, the best times to visit the Smithville Lake Trail are during the spring and fall seasons when the weather is pleasant, and the natural beauty of the area is at its peak. Whether you are looking for a peaceful hike, a scenic bike ride, or a day of fishing, the Smithville Lake Trail offers a memorable outdoor experience for nature lovers of all ages.


1. Wheelchair Accessible Parking: Designated parking spaces close to the trail entrance for easy access.
2. Paved Pathways: Smooth and level paved surfaces throughout the trail for wheelchair users.
3. Accessible Restrooms: Restroom facilities equipped with accessible features such as grab bars and wider doorways.
4. Accessible Picnic Areas: Picnic areas with accessible tables and seating options.
5. Wheelchair Accessible Fishing Docks: Docks designed to accommodate wheelchair users for fishing activities.
6. Accessible Trailhead: An accessible entrance to the trail with ramps or level pathways.
7. Accessible Signage: Clear and visible signage with braille and large fonts for individuals with visual impairments.
8. Accessible Water Fountains: Water fountains at a suitable height for wheelchair users.
9. Accessible Viewing Areas: Scenic spots along the trail with designated areas for wheelchair users to enjoy the view.
10. Accessible Trail Maps: Trail maps available in accessible formats such as braille or large print for individuals with visual impairments.

Safety Information

1. Stay on designated trails: Stick to the marked paths to avoid getting lost or damaging the surrounding environment.
2. Carry a map and compass: Ensure you have the necessary tools to navigate the trail and find your way back if needed.
3. Dress appropriately: Wear suitable clothing and footwear for the weather conditions and terrain.
4. Stay hydrated: Bring enough water to stay hydrated throughout your hike, especially during hot weather.
5. Use sunscreen: Protect your skin from harmful UV rays by applying sunscreen before starting your hike.
6. Watch out for wildlife: Be aware of your surroundings and respect the wildlife by observing from a safe distance.
7. Pack insect repellent: Prevent insect bites by using repellent to avoid discomfort or potential diseases.
8. Be cautious of poison ivy: Learn to identify and avoid contact with poison ivy, which can cause an itchy rash.
9. Carry a first aid kit: Have basic medical supplies on hand to treat minor injuries or emergencies.
10. Inform someone of your plans: Let a friend or family member know your hiking plans, including your expected return time.
11. Stay alert and aware: Pay attention to your surroundings, trail markers, and any potential hazards along the way.
12. Respect trail etiquette: Yield to other hikers, keep noise levels down, and follow any specific rules or regulations.
13. Be prepared for weather changes: Check the forecast before your hike and bring appropriate gear for unexpected weather shifts.
14. Avoid hiking alone: Whenever possible, hike with a companion for safety and assistance if needed.
15. Stay on the trail: Straying off the designated path can lead to getting lost or damaging the natural habitat.
16. Leave no trace: Pack out all trash and dispose of it properly to help preserve the beauty of the trail for others.
17. Be mindful of your physical abilities: Choose a trail that matches your fitness level and take breaks as needed.
18. Stay away from steep edges: Avoid getting too close to cliffs or steep drop-offs to prevent accidents or falls.
19. Check for trail closures or restrictions: Before heading out, verify if any sections of the trail are closed or have specific regulations in place.
20. Trust your instincts: If something feels unsafe or uncomfortable, listen to your intuition and make the necessary adjustments to ensure your well-being.

Conservation Notes

The Smithville Lake Trail is a significant natural resource that plays a crucial role in the conservation efforts of the surrounding area. As a designated conservation area, the trail is actively managed and protected to ensure the preservation of its unique ecological features. The conservation status of the Smithville Lake Trail is classified as “protected,” indicating that it is safeguarded against any potential threats or disturbances that could harm its delicate ecosystem.

One of the primary objectives of the conservation status is to maintain the biodiversity of the trail. The trail is home to a diverse range of plant and animal species, some of which may be rare or endangered. By protecting the trail, conservation efforts aim to preserve these species and their habitats, ensuring their long-term survival. This includes implementing measures to prevent the introduction of invasive species that could disrupt the natural balance of the ecosystem.

Furthermore, the conservation status of the Smithville Lake Trail also focuses on the preservation of water quality. The trail is situated near the lake, which serves as a vital water source for the surrounding area. To maintain the pristine condition of the lake, conservation efforts include monitoring and managing potential sources of pollution, such as runoff from nearby developments or recreational activities. By safeguarding the water quality, the conservation status of the trail contributes to the overall health and sustainability of the entire ecosystem.

In summary, the conservation status of the Smithville Lake Trail ensures the protection and preservation of its unique ecological features, including biodiversity and water quality. By actively managing and safeguarding the trail, conservation efforts aim to maintain the delicate balance of the ecosystem and ensure the long-term survival of its diverse plant and animal species.

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