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Hawn State Park is a park like no other. Nowhere else in the state of Missouri have I been able to camp and feel like I'm in the middle of the Rocky Mountains. The car camping area is nestled in the middle of a pine filled valley. There's nothing more refreshing than sitting in the evening and hearing the wind whistle through the pines. The trails are amazing with big boulders and beautiful creeks. If you're car camping take the extra walk to the walk-in camping sites. It's like a micro backpacking trip. And if you like backpacking, Hawn state park is the place to do it!
So first of all- I think it’s fair to state before I leave a review that my husband and I prefer primitive and private camping. The fewer people we see while we’re out, the better. We live in a city so when we camp, we want the opposite. If you enjoy RV camping or don’t mind not so Private spots, this is a decent spot to spend the night. If you like primitive/private camping- il fill you in below!
We do tent camping and Saw there were walk-in sites and hike in sites at this campground. Usually walk-in sites are pretty private and dispersed well - atleast where we’ve been before. The 14 “primitive” camping sites were right next to eachothwr with little to no privacy at all. Good tree cover for shade but otherwise you’re basically setting up your tent and area in an open field. That was a little disappointing to us because it wasn’t what we thought we would find. The RV spots also seem super close together but again- we like things spread out so maybe it would be an OK place for some.
The vault toilets near the tent sites were…as clean as vault toilets get! And we did not use tje shower facilities so can’t speak on that.
If we had been just the 2 of us, we would’ve hiked in to do our camping along one of the hiking paths but we were meeting two other friends and were unsure if they would want to hike miles to a spot so we opted for the tent spots just after the RV campground. If you want more privacy for an evening of camping, you’ll need to come with your gear packed up decently enough to hike it out atleast a mile onto the trails. There is camping allowed along the trails as long as you are 100 ft from the trail so that was an option, but in certain spots along the trail it’s challenging to find a clearing (hammocks would be great along the trail). There is also an official primitive camping site halfway through the 12 mile loop of the Red Ceder Trail. We day hiked almost the whole loop but made a Weird little detour so we didn’t get to check these spots out.
We were hoping to find a campsite that- as get as difficulty of accessibility level- was in between a 6 mile hike and the tent spots in the field but there isn’t any official spot like that even tho there’s tons of space and potential for it. Rant over about the campground. Let’s talk about the hiking! The hiking was truly awesome and felt like it balanced out my disappointment with the campground. Doing the whole 12 mile loop of tje Red Cedar Trail was a challenge for us! We really enjoyed it. In some spots, the trail markers are a little confusing, but overall it’s decently marked and the map is somewhat helpful just to kindve know vaguely where you are. The 2nd day, we went back and did about half rhe loop and also checked out the more popular section of the trails back there that include Giant City Nature Trail, Devils Stand Table, and a few others. Very cool rock formations. Pretty busy in the weekend over there but the test of the trails away from that area with those big landmarks was completely deserted and there are some super cool rock formations not on the map at all.
Over all, this was a fun 4 days. We would return and plan on hiking out into the trails to camp for our evenings. If you like privacy around your campfire at night, I can’t recommend the campground.
There were several hiking trails that looked pretty, but we didn't get a chance to walk them. Overall, this is a nice and quiet campground. We would definitely stay again. We camped at Ferne Clyffe State Park in a Motorhome.
Not a lot of tent sites, but enough. Nice wooded primitive sites with easy access to water and toilets. Had my pups with, and no problems at all. Nice trails for different hiking skill sets. Only issue I found at all was firewood is surprisingly difficult to come by.
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.
I stayed at Ferne Clyffe on a weekend in July 2020. I used this park as a base camp for exploring Shawnee National Forest and the Cache River Preserve. There’s a lot of outdoor things to do in this area. Ferne Clyffe is small. There’s one campground for RVs with electric hookups and another campground for more primitive camping. $8/night for primitive. The primitive sites require that you park your vehicle and carry in your equipment (less than 100 feet). You can pull your vehicle right up to sites 11 and 19. There were very few campers there when I visited. There is cellphone signal. Small fishing lake and a few hiking trails. Shower has at the electric campground. Pit toilets.