Stihl Dealer Days

Rural Missouri Magazine

Smithville Lake
Smithville, MO

by Jim McCarty

In 1976-1977, when work was underway on what would become Smithville Lake, workers uncovered what is believed to be an ancient astronomical observatory similar to Stonehenge but made of wood. While the original site is now under water, the reconstruction of this “Woodhenge” is just one of the attractions at this lake located just north of Kansas City.

At normal pool, the lake offers 7,190 acres of recreational opportunities including swimming at two beaches, fishing, water skiing and sailboating. The lake caters to the sailboat crowd, with a special marina and launch area located at Sailboat Cove.

There are rental boats available at two marinas and a special slalom course owned by the Kansas City Water Ski Club is open to the public in summer.

For those who want to enjoy the outdoors without getting wet, Smithville Lake has much more to offer. Cyclists can ride the network of mountain bike trails built by the Earthriders bike club or take to the paved path along the lake. There’s also a BMX bike track and skateboard park below the dam.

Hunting is permitted in the wildlife management area, while a trapshooting park lets hunters hone their skills during the off-season. There are 777 camping sites surrounding the lake, with more than one third featuring electrical hookups.

Smithville Lake is located just north of its namesake town on Highway 169. For more information call the Corps of Engineers at (816) 532-0174.

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