Wakonda State Park

32836 State Park Road
LaGrange, Missouri


Wakonda State Park is composed of land that once was the site of gravel mines that has been turned into a recreation area that features six lakes, hiking and bicycling trails, and a rare sand prairie. The topography of the parked was formed during the ice age when glaciers pushed boulders, gravel, and sand from the northern part of the continent into northern Missouri. When the ice melted, glacial outwash carved floodplains and deposited enormous amounts of gravelly rock. South of La Grange, these gravel deposits were very deep and became one of the largest sources of road-surfacing material in the state. Beginning in 1924, private companies were contracted by the highway commission to remove these deposits. By the late 1980s, over 26 million tons of sand and gravel had been removed with most of the gravel being used on Missouri's secondary highways. The overlying sand and clay had to be removed so the underlying gravel could be mined and the sand was piled in small mounds, creating a landscape of rolling sand ridges that have developed into a rare sand prairie. The sand was also used for the 20,000-square-foot swimming beach along Wakonda Lake. After the gravel deposits had been exhausted, the state highway commission deeded 273 acres to the Missouri State Park Board in 1960. The new park was named Wakonda - a word taken from the Osage and Missouri Indian tongues meaning something consecrated, referring to the spiritual. In 1992, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources acquired an additional 777 acres from Central Stone Co.

The natural and man-made features of the park have blended together to create a variety of recreation options. The gravel excavation left the park with six lakes. Agate, Jasper, Quartz and Wakonda lakes are favorites among fishermen with opportunities to catch largemouth bass, crappie, bluegill and catfish. Boat launches are available on Agate and Wakonda lakes with a maximum of a 10 horsepower engine allowed. Quartz, Granite and Boulder lakes only allow boats with electric motors, and no boats are allowed on Jasper Lake. Canoes and jonboats can be rented at the park office. The lakes attract thousands of waterfowl during the migratory seasons including Canada geese, snow geese, mallards, lesser scaups, northern shovelers, great blue herons, snowy egrets and many other species of ducks and gulls. Agate Lake is closed to boating between October 15 and Decemeber 31 and again between February 15 through March 31 for the annual waterfowl migrations. Wakonda State Park has become one of the best places to observe waterfowl in northeast Missouri. The sand mounds created by the excavation process formed a sand prairies habitat after seeds from nearby natural sand prairies blew onto the mounds. The channelization of the Mississippi and Missouri rivers destroyed most of the natural sand prairie leaving Wakonda State Park's sand prairie a rare remaining example of this type of landscape in Missouri. Sand-loving plants such as sandgrass, sand dropseed and prairie sunflower flourish, along with rare plants including sand primrose, dotted beebalm and winged pigweed. Hiking and bicycling trails provide access to view the sand prairie, lakes and waterfowl.

Sand from the quarries also helped to create the state park system's largest natural sand swimming beach along Wakonda Lake. The 20,000-square-foot beach offers plenty of room to lounge in the sun or get in a game of sand volleyball. A snack bar is located near the beach. For overnight guests, 86 campsites, a mix of basic, electric and sewer/electric/water, are available near Lake Boulder. Unique to Wakonda State Park, recreational trailers are available to rent. They feature air conditioning, showers, refrigerators and microwave ovens and are perfect for families. Picnic areas and a playground also make the park a great place for family gatherings.


Bird Watching
Wakonda State Park is listed on the Great Missouri Birding Trail. 87 bird species have been recorded for the park. Look for grassland species such as Lark and Field Sparrows and the Dickcissel. Also, Bald Eagles, Northern Harriers, American White Pelicans, and Bitterns may be seen along with various waterfowl and wading birds. The Missouri Audubon Society maintains a checklist for birds that can be seen at this site.


Wakonda State Park has 8 trails providing more than 15 miles of multi-use trails for hiking and biking. These are ideal for bird watching or view the park’s rare sand prairie flora and several run along the shores of the park’s lakes.


Wakonda State Park offers basic and electric campsites and is open year-round. On-season (April 15 - October 31) services include modern restrooms, a dump station, showers, water and laundry.  During the on-season, fees of first-come, first-served campers are to be paid at the park office. Electric and Basic campsites available. Visit Wakonda State Park’s camping page for more information.


Visiting Wakonda State Park
Park grounds are open from 7 am - 10 pm year-round. The park gate opens and closes at these times. Day-use areas close at sunset.
From April 15 - October 31, the park office is open daily from 7:30 am - 10 pm.
From November 1 - April 14, staff are usually available in the park Monday through Friday. The office telephone is monitored for messages during daytime hours.
There is no fee to visit Wakonda State Park


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Wakonda State Park - Official site maintained by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.