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The campground is amazing. There are a number of hiking trails in the park. We only hiked one of them but the views in and around the lake were beautiful. The campground sells firewood at a very reasonable price. The only draw back would be the sites in the Mississippi. The train comes through both day and night. Love the train and whistle but it’s a bit close.
The campground was laid out well in the fact that you didn’t feel crowded at all, even when there were lots of campers. We were in site 45 with a 33 ft travel trailer and had plenty of room. Nice walk for our dog and grassy areas also. Showers were clean but nowhere to put toiletries except on the dressing area bench… but that was okay. It was all tiled also. Mosquitoes were the big downfall. Just be prepared. We put up a screen tent as well as having bug spray. Ate at Boyettes too and it was really good.
We camp here a lot and have tried several spots in the South campground. The ones near the lake have views but don't have water access. There is also a pavilion near the lake.
Sites 22, 24, 25, 70 backup to the forest and have lots of room to set up tents, however they are the first to flood and stay wet longer.
The map is pretty good about and shows pictures of the sites. At the time of this review the bathrooms between sites 64 & 66 were closed. The bathrooms and showers near site 23 are bigger and more accessible. The bathrooms and showers near site 4 do have a ramp but it is uneven, the space inside is much smaller and would be difficult to navigate with a wheelchair.
Site 43 has trees on both sides of the pad and, based on comments from another camper, can be difficult to back in a larger camper.
Sites in the mid and upper 40's are also good for tent camping. The cypress trees in the area send roots up and the ground can be lumpy because of them. The campground has lots of gopher holes all over. The mosquitoes are bad and you should take some strong bug spray.
The campgrounds does have drainage issues when it rains and if your forecast predicts rain, you might want to put your tent up on the pad.
They opened a small gift shop this year. The sell worms, and they now rent canoes and kayaks. There is a boat launch near the entrance, but you can't launch anything too wide.
This campground is due for a makeover and I heard that it is in the works.
If you love bird watching or photography this place is a dream; osprey, eagles, herons, egrets, and so many others are everywhere. Pelican's stop here on their migration and I recommend the pontoon tour in October during the festival if you want to see them on the water.
Close doesn't begin to describe the camp sites! Spots are crammed into every conceivable space at any imaginable angle. Some sites are "waterfront" but you can't access the water nor see the sunsets for the reeds and Cyprus trees. Decently level asphalt pads with electric and water.
We had a quiet RV site with electric. Many of the sites also have water but not ours. Shaded area. Lake is more of a swamp with cypress trees, very pretty. Showers dated but clean. They are multiple stalls.
Of note, there is not much around in the way of stores. We managed to find one small grocery store. The town of Cairo is a ghost town but Ft. Defiance is worth seeing.
My husband and I recently returned to Trail of Tears State park for a weekend of camping - I have reviewed this campground before and still believe that it is 5 stars.
My main take away for this trip was incredible appreciation for the campground host. During the pandemic, Missouri State Parks have transitioned to reservation only camping with 24 hour notice. This has reduced the number of visitors to some of the parks drastically. This park has two campground loops, one electric and one basic. There is typically a host in each loop. Due to the pandemic, only one host has volunteered for Trail of Tears. The gentleman (I forgot his name) was very attentive to all campers and although he was located at the electric loop (3 miles away) he was very present through the entire park.
The electric loop was almost fully booked. This loop is directly next to the Mississippi River, and there is a playground and a brand new showerhouse down the road from the main loop. The railroad does pass right between the campground and the river, which could be distracting/disturbing. I personally enjoy watching the trains and feeling them shake the earth! At the river there is a boat launch with a nice dike structure providing a calmer channel at the ramp. We fished along the bank here and caught a number of small catfish, one was big enough to fry up for dinner!
The basic loop is up the hill from the lake and is heavily wooded. The sites are spaced fairly nicely and most have trees separating you from the neighbors. The facilities were very well maintained. We stayed at site 43 which was close to the vault toilet but not so close that other visitors using it would disturb you, not that it mattered this weekend, there were only 4 other sites with campers while we were there and we could not see any of them from our site. It was one of the most peaceful weekends I've had in a MO state park.
The lake's swimming area was very popular, as were other parts of the day use sections of the park. There are many places for picnics and bbq overlooking the river, a boat lauch (electric motors only, we saw only kayaks during our visit), and a nice trail that hugs one side of the lake.
Being <2 hours from St Louis City, this is a good choice for anyone in the area who wants to get away. The park is about 15 minutes from the closest convenience store and Cape Girardeau for any grocery, shopping, or emergency needs.
One of the best camping views of the mississippi river! The campsite overlooks the mighty mississippi river and oh what a view it is, watching tugboats move barges up and down. Very clean well maintained, very large grassy area for lots of room for kids to run around. One downfall is the railroad track between the campsite and the river, loud trains rolling thru every few hours. Noisy, but a neat memory for children to see. Also a great sand beach water feature nearby at lake bouton. Some average length trails and a nice short trail for the littles.
We decided to make the 2 hour drive to do a one night camp here and explore the area. We checked online and saw that several spots were open, so we went without reservation. When we finally made it to the park, we were greeted with a"closed" office. Apparently the office at the campground closes everyday from 12p-1p for lunch. We decided to drive through the park and look for a spot to settle in on. After making part of the first loop, we immediately saw why there were so many unreserved spots…A good 90% of the campground was underwater! The handful of sites that were still open for use had pools of water standing on the site. Hard pass for us. I wish this would have been listed as a warning on the TNSP website.
We drove to the visitors center to check that area out and consider the 2nd campground that is not on the water. We were greeted with another"closed" sign but no other signage about the hours or when they would reopen. We walked around outside and viewed the beautiful eagles, owls and hawks. We never found the other campground due to poor signage, so we left without actually getting to camp here. Very disappointed with everything being closed. Will have to try again in the spring.