Boating, swimming, fishing, hiking, biking, horseback riding trails, and kayaking are one of the many enjoyable things you can do at Crowder State Park. The natural beauty and recreational options will appeal to everyone. Come for the day or stay for a week.

A twenty-acre lake offers boating and fishing.
Photo by Anna Persell

NESTLED IN THE ROLLING HILLS of north-central Missouri, Crowder State Park memorializes Gen. Enoch Crowder, a native of the area, and offers a retreat of rugged slopes and stately forests in a region consisting generally of level farmland.

Crowder was born in 1859 and went to West Point. Early in his career in the 1880s, he participated in efforts to corral Geronimo and his Apache band. Later, he served as military governor of the Philippines and also as the first ambassador to Cuba. But he is best remembered as the “father of the Selective Service.” As judge advocate general, Crowder drafted the Selective Service Act of 1917 and directed its implementation.

There is general consensus that the Selective Service System was a key factor in the United States’ victorious role in World War I. The law that established the draft, an extension of the idea of the citizen soldier, inspired one waggish county clerk to versify about the local sheriff named Burke and himself, when he was “drafted” into helping to implement it: “Who was it built up this army, that set the whole world free? /Who inducted them into service? It was Crowder, and Burke, and me.”

The leader of American forces in World War I and a fellow north Missourian, Gen. John J. Pershing commented following Crowder’s death in 1932: “Professionally his exceptional record speaks for itself…. I had a high regard for him, both as a man and an officer.” He is buried in Arlington Cemetery.

The Big Thompson River once again meanders across the glacial till plain. 
Photo by Don Schultehenrich

The park is located just a few miles from the Crowder homestead. The park’s rich glacial soils nurture thick forests of sugar maple and stately white and red oaks. A campground sits on a hill above a lake, and one of the park system’s fine group camps, Camp Grand River, sits upon a broad ridge above the Big Thompson tributary of the Grand, which borders a portion of the park. Like most streams in north Missouri, the Big Thompson was channelized in the 1920s, but the stretch in the park once again twists and bends around sandbars and gnarled driftwood snags. A bottomland forest of silver maple, cottonwood, river birch, sycamore, and green ash shade a valley floor where the rare ostrich fern grows. On well-shaded sandstone ledges, lady slipper orchids and maidenhair ferns cling to a delicate existence.

The park has miles of interconnected hiking, biking, and horse trails. 
Photo Courtesy of Missouri State Parks

The park honors Crowder but its natural and recreational appeal draws 100,000 visitors a year.

The park has several mounds built by prehistoric native peoples, and it was still occupied by the Sac and Fox tribes when American settlers showed up.

Crowder State Park has camping, fishing, hiking, biking, and equestrain trails, a picnic area, swimming, boating, a playground, and floating and kayaking.


Crowder State Park
76 NW Rte., 128, Trenton

1,912 acres

Grundy County

• Red Bud Trail (1.75 mi)
• River Forks Trail (2 mi)
• Tall Oaks Trail (3 mi)
• Thompson River Trail (8.6 mi)

Historic Structures
• CCC rock bridge and CCC rock wall

Learn about the Thompson House restoration here

Order Missouri State Parks and Historic Sites book here.

Order Missouri State Parks Special Edition here