Park Plans

at Mark Twain State Park

Conceptual Development Plan
November 2004

Established: 1924
Location: Monroe County
Size: 2,775 acres


Created in 1924 as Missouri's third state park, the park was created through the efforts of the local Mark Twain Memorial Park Association in honor of Samuel Langhorne Clemens, better known as Mark Twain.

The park was created near Twain's birthplace in Florida, Missouri. The park has evolved since that time with many facilities being constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1940's and the creation of Mark Twain lake in 1983. The 18,000 acre lake expanded the recreation opportunities available to park visitors.


  • provide facilities that are harmonious with and respectful to the natural and cultural resources of the site
  • provide the public with safe and controlled access to the park
  • provide adequate orientation and interpretation facilities to enhance the public’s understanding, appreciation, and enjoyment of the park resources
  • provide for those recreation opportunities that are compatible with the resources and mission of the park including hiking, camping, picnicking, swimming, boating, fishing, biking and horseback riding
  • provide adequate administration, operation and maintenance support facilities to protect, secure and maintain the natural and cultural features of the park


Develop Contact Station at the intersection of Highways U and 107
This facility will provide a highly visible and readily accessible public contact point while giving staff badly needed office and storage space.

Expand Campground

The existing campground will be expanded to the end of the peninsula including the addition of campsites, cabins and walk-in campsites. Boat-in camping will be developed on the island south of the existing campground.

Develop Cabins

Cabins will be constructed north of Highway U. There are no cabins available in the park and there has long been a great demand for them. The user survey showed that 90% of those surveyed were in favor of developing cabins in the park.

Develop Equestrian Trailhead and Campground in the north end of the park

This development will allow the equestrian rider to access 75 miles of trail on Corps of Engineers property. More than 84% of those surveyed were supportive of this type of development in the park.

Develop Day-Use Areas near beach

Picnic areas will be developed near the beach to serve beach users.

Complete Group Camp development

The Si Colborn Group camp will be completed following the master plan for the camp.

Trail Development

Mark Twain State Park currently has six miles of hiking trails in the park, all located on the southern end of the park. Hiking trails will be developed around Tom Sawyer Lake, located in the middle of the park off of Hwy. 107 and an additional 3-5 miles of hiking trails off of Hwy. U west of Hwy. 107. An additional 6-10 miles of mountain biking/hiking trails are proposed in this section also.

Land acquisition

Several areas are identified by the plan as purchase units or to be acquired by lease. These are areas identified by staff as needed for scenic purposes or to address concerns about other encroachments. 

Approved by:

Douglas K. Eiken, Director, Division of State Parks, 11/23/04
Jane Lale, Director, Planning and Development Program, 11/19/04
Frank St. Clair, Field Operations Supervisor, Northern Parks District, 11/16/04
Charles D. Hesse, Park Superintendent, Mark Twain State Park, 11/10/04