For the past decade, the St. Charles County Parks and Recreation Department in Missouri has been offering inexpensive, unique camping opportunities at Klondike Park. With 41 tent campsites and six camping cabins for guests to choose from, the park offers a fun experience. Families, friends, scout groups, hikers, bikers, nature lovers, and many different organizations choose to stay in the park—nestled in the state’s scenic wine country—to spend some relaxing time camping under stars that seem so close you can practically reach up and touch them.
Ironically, this park backdrop, with its natural scenery, was once the site of an old silica sand quarry for many years.
Campers want to feel like they are staying somewhere far away from home even if they only have to drive 20 minutes to get to the park. Guests also want to be able to easily access large bodies of water, miles of paved and natural-surface trails, and other outdoor attractions from their campsite. The Missouri River Valley, the historic Katy Trail, and spectacular views are what make the camping experience so appealing.
The tight switchbacks, rolling terrain, and scenic bluffs also make the park a preferred choice for bicyclists to visit. Three miles of natural-surface trails offer steep climbs, intense drop-offs, and lots of exposed rock. A number of the cyclists who visit are local, but it’s not uncommon to see a group of riders detour from the busy Katy Trail into the park to camp for the night … only to awake the next morning and continue pedaling to their next destination. This has become such a popular trend that the parks department decided to dedicate several “walk-in only” campsites for these guests. The decision to do so has resulted in happy campers who want to come back time and time again.
The Missouri River also attracts many water enthusiasts. Because the river’s edge touches the north end of the park, it, too, creates an enticing haven for many recreational boaters, canoeists, kayakers, and fishermen. The public boat ramp that accesses the river makes it convenient for the boaters to load and unload their gear and vessels any time of the day or night.
So remember—you can build a campground in a park, but if it doesn’t have curb appeal, guests might not come as often as you would like! Nature is a beautiful thing!
Nancy Lee Gomer is the Marketing Coordinator for the St. Charles County Parks in Missouri. Reach her at (636) 949-7535. For more information about Klondike Park’s camping facilities, visit www.stccparks.org.