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Van Meter State Park

Park Information

Van Meter State Park features remnants of the Missouria Indian village that sat at the Great Bend of the Missouri River, marked on a map by Jacques Marquette and Louis Jolliet in 1673. A hand-dug earthwork -- Old Fort -- and several burial mounds lie within the park’s boundaries. The state’s Indian history is interpreted in displays and exhibits at the park’s Missouri’s American Indian Cultural Center. For outdoor enthusiasts, the park features hiking trails and an 18-acre fishing lake. The boardwalk that leads visitors through the Oumessourit Natural Area takes them over a freshwater marsh and fens, and through bottomland and upland forests. The park’s lofty trees shade picnic sites, picnic shelters and a campground.

Park Hours

Park Grounds

8 a.m. to sunset, daily
November through March
The road to Lake Wooldridge is closed.

Park Office hours

8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Saturday
1 p.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday

Missouri's American Indian Cultural Center hours

  • Summer Hours (On-Season)
    May through September
    10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Wednesday through Saturday
    1 p.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday (closed Monday and Tuesday)
  • Winter Hours (Off-Season)
    October through March
    10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday
    1 p.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday
    Closed Monday through Friday
    April
    10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Thursday through Saturday
    1 p.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday
    Closed Monday through Wednesday
Sometime between 1936 and 1938, the Missouri State Society Daughters of the American Revolution published “The Old Tavern; Book of Recipes,” which contained more than 700 recipes from DAR members and the J. Huston Tavern at Arrow Rock State Historic Site. The recipes offered a unique glimpse into our food culture during the early years of the 20th century. On page 36 is a recipe for buttermilk biscuits: “Add to ½ sifter of flour, 1 scant tsp. soda, ¼ tsp salt, 2 level tsp. baking powder. Sift into mixing bowl. Cut in with fork 2 heaping tbsp. lard, 1pt. buttermilk. Turn onto floured board, knead to soft dough, Roll 3/8 inch thick. Bake in greased pan in hot oven. 30 biscuits.” You can try the recipe itself or enjoy the fine food served today at the J. Huston Tavern, the oldest continually operating restaurant west of the Mississippi. For more information, visit http://www.mostateparks.com/park/arrow-rock-state-historic-site.