Smithville Lake Camping: What You Need to Know

Ever dreamt of a perfect camping getaway that caters to all your outdoor adventure cravings? Look no further! Smithville Lake Camping is the ideal destination for camping enthusiasts who want a mix of relaxation and excitement. With its diverse campgrounds, picturesque walking trails, thrilling fishing and boating activities, and essential amenities, Smithville Lake creates the perfect backdrop for an unforgettable trip.

In this blog post, we’ll guide you through everything you need to know about the Smithville Lake camping experience, embracing nature and adventure, and ensuring a successful camping trip. So, grab your camping gear and let’s explore!

Key Takeaways

  • Explore Smithville Lake Campgrounds for a variety of outdoor activities, amenities & facilities.
  • Respect quiet hours and follow campground etiquette for a pleasant experience.
  • Pack essentials like weather appropriate clothing, camping gear & food supplies!

Discovering Smithville Lake Campgrounds

Smithville Lake, located in the heart of Clay County, offers a variety of campgrounds that cater to different preferences and needs. Whether you’re an equestrian camper or a family looking for a lakeside retreat, Smithville Lake has got you covered. The three main campgrounds are Crow’s Creek Campground, Camp Branch Campground, and Smith’s Fork Park, each offering unique camping experiences and convenient access to various activities.

Not only are these campgrounds nestled in the beautiful 5,000 acres of public land, but they are also overseen by Clay County, ensuring top-notch facilities and well-maintained grounds for campers to enjoy.

Now, let’s examine the unique features of each campground to find the one that suits you best for your upcoming camping expedition.

Crow’s Creek Campground

Crow’s Creek Campground, part of the Clay County Parks and Recreation campgrounds, boasts 415 camping spots with equestrian-friendly facilities and picnic areas.

This well-equipped campground, located in the beautiful Crows Creek area, offers a variety of campsites, including unimproved sites, electric hookups, and water and electric hookups. The campground’s Loop C stands out, as it features 50 amp electric service and water hookups at every site.

With its picturesque location near Smithville Lake’s shoreline, Crow’s Creek Campground provides a fun-filled camping adventure for everyone, from equestrian campers to families seeking a memorable lakeside experience. Whether you’re an equestrian or a camper, Crow’s Creek welcomes you to experience its vibrant outdoors.

Camp Branch Campground

If you’re yearning for a serene camping experience with stunning lake views, Camp Branch Campground is the place to be. Offering 346 camping units, ranging from unimproved to electric hookup sites, Camp Branch ensures a comfortable stay amidst nature.

Modern amenities, such as drinking water, a dump station, fire pits, grills, and picnic tables, make camping at Camp Branch a breeze. Furthermore, its prime location near the lake provides easy access to numerous recreational activities, including fishing, boating, hiking, biking, and swimming. Equip yourself and prepare to indulge in the serene beauty of Camp Branch Campground!

Smith’s Fork Park

smith fork park with trailers and cars

Smith’s Fork Park, a family-friendly campground near Smithville Lake, offers a variety of outdoor activities and essential amenities for a comfortable camping experience. With electric, water, and sewer hookups, as well as showers and restrooms, Smith’s Fork Park ensures a hassle-free stay for its guests.

The park is an excellent choice for those looking to explore nature, as it features:

  • Hiking trails such as the Lake Remote Loop
  • Ample opportunities for fishing and boating
  • A playground for the little ones
  • A myriad of outdoor activities for the whole family

Smith’s Fork Park is a fantastic option for your next camping trip.

Experience Nature and Adventure

Smithville Lake is a haven for nature lovers and adventure seekers alike. Its campgrounds offer easy access to a multitude of outdoor activities, allowing you to immerse yourself in the beauty of the lake and its surrounding landscapes. From picturesque walking trails to thrilling fishing opportunities and various boating and watersports activities, Smithville Lake has something for everyone.

So, whether you’re looking to hike through lush forests, catch the “big one” while fishing, or get your adrenaline pumping with some watersports, Smithville Lake is the perfect destination for your next outdoor getaway.

Let’s delve into the vast array of nature and adventure experiences Smithville Lake has in store for you!

Walking Trails

trails around Smithville Lake during the fall

With 61 miles of walking, biking, and equestrian trails combined, Smithville Lake is a paradise for those who love to explore the outdoors on foot. The picturesque walking trails offer scenic views of the lake shore and meadowlands, providing ample opportunities for wildlife spotting and photography.

Among the many trails, popular options include:

  • Smithville Lake Trail Loop
  • Cabin Fever – Anita Gorman Trail
  • Bonebender Trail
  • Eagle’s View Trail

These trails cater to different skill levels, making them suitable for both seasoned hikers and casual walkers.

Put on your hiking boots and set off on an exploration through Smithville Lake’s captivating landscapes!

Fishing Opportunities

Anglers rejoice! Smithville Lake is home to a variety of fish species, making it a true fishing paradise. Some of the fish you can catch include:

  • Largemouth bass
  • Channel catfish
  • Flathead catfish
  • Black crappie
  • White crappie
  • Walleye
  • Bluegill

The upper ends of the lake arms, shallow flats, and areas near the Camp Branch Marina are excellent spots to cast your line and reel in these fish.

Before you bait your hook, be sure to check the fishing regulations and obtain a fishing permit from the Department of Conservation. With your permit in hand, grab your fishing gear and head to Smithville Lake for a memorable angling experience.

Boating and Watersports

If you’re looking for a thrilling adventure on the water, Smithville Lake has got you covered. With opportunities for Smithville boat rentals such as:

  • Boating
  • Kayaking
  • Paddleboarding
  • Water skiing
  • Tubing
  • Personal watercrafts

There’s no shortage of watersports to enjoy.

To ensure a safe and enjoyable experience, follow speed limits, be aware of buoys and markers, and always wear life jackets while out on the water. And if you’re in need of equipment, the Camp Branch Marina Store and other marinas in the area offer boat and watersport rentals.

Whether you’re a seasoned sailor or a novice kayaker, Smithville Lake serves as a thrilling watersports playground for adventurers of all levels.

Essential Amenities and Facilities

Camping at Smithville Lake offers both adventure and comfort, thanks to the essential amenities and facilities provided at the campgrounds. These include:

  • Shower houses
  • Restrooms
  • Picnic areas
  • Fire pits
  • Laundry facilities
  • Park offices

With these amenities, your stay at the lake will be hassle-free, allowing you to focus on creating unforgettable memories with your loved ones, all while being conveniently located.

Let’s examine these amenities and facilities in more detail to ensure your camping trip at Smithville Lake is seamless and enjoyable.

Shower Houses and Restrooms

Staying fresh and clean during your camping trip is a breeze, thanks to the well-maintained shower houses and restrooms at Smithville Lake campgrounds. These facilities are cleaned and sanitized at least once a day, or more often during busy times, ensuring a pleasant experience for all guests.

Furthermore, the shower house and restrooms at the campgrounds are wheelchair accessible, accommodating campers of all abilities. And the best part? The shower houses are free for campers to use, so you can freshen up without worrying about any fees.

Picnic Areas and Fire Pits

Smithville Lake campgrounds feature designated picnic areas and fire pits, perfect for outdoor meals and gatherings with family and friends. Whether you’re roasting marshmallows over an open fire or sharing stories under the stars, these spaces provide an excellent setting for bonding and creating lasting memories.

When using the fire pits, it’s important to follow safety measures and campfire rules, such as only having campfires in the fire rings, not putting trash in the campfires, and keeping pets on a leash. By adhering to these guidelines, you’ll ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for everyone at the campground.

Laundry Facilities and Park Offices

For those longer camping trips or unexpected messes, Smithville Lake campgrounds offer the convenience of laundry facilities. Though specific information about fees and rules for using the laundry facilities is unavailable, campers can take advantage of these amenities to keep their clothing and linens fresh throughout their stay.

Additionally, the park offices at the campgrounds provide services such as camping fee information, reservation assistance, and general park information to ensure a smooth and hassle-free camping experience. So, rest assured that you’ll have all the necessary support and services at your disposal during your stay at Smithville Lake.

Tips for a Successful Camping Trip

To maximize your camping adventure at Smithville Lake, get acquainted with the reservation process, respect the quiet hours and campground etiquette, and ensure you pack all the necessary items for your trip. By keeping these tips in mind, you’ll ensure a successful and enjoyable camping experience for you and your fellow campers.

Let’s delve into these tips more thoroughly to assist you in preparing for an unforgettable adventure at Smithville Lake.

Reservation Process

Securing your preferred camping spot at Smithville Lake is easy when you familiarize yourself with the reservation process. Here are the steps to follow:

  1. You can reserve a campsite up to six months in advance or one day before you arrive.
  2. There is a limit of five campsites per account each day.
  3. If you need 10 or more sites, simply call the Park Office at 816-407-3400 for assistance.

To book a spot, visit the Smithville Lake campgrounds website or give the Park Office a call. Remember to register and adhere to the campground’s rules, such as staying for a maximum of 30 days in any 60-day period.

With your reservation in place, you’ll be one step closer to your dream camping experience at Smithville Lake.

Quiet Hours and Campground Etiquette

Respecting quiet hours and maintaining campground etiquette is crucial for a pleasant experience for all campers. Smithville Lake campgrounds enforce quiet hours from 10 pm to 7 am, allowing everyone to enjoy a peaceful night’s sleep.

In addition to observing quiet hours, be mindful of other campground rules and etiquette, such as:

  • Not using fireworks, firearms, or loud noise
  • Keeping satellite dishes within 10 feet of your camping unit
  • Refraining from washing your RV, trailer, or towing vehicle

By following these guidelines, you’ll contribute to a harmonious and enjoyable atmosphere for everyone at the campground.

Packing Essentials

To make the most out of your camping trip at Smithville Lake, ensure you pack all the essential items. This includes weather-appropriate clothing, camping gear like tents, sleeping bags, and chairs, as well as food supplies and cooking equipment.

Don’t forget to bring essentials such as:

  • Flashlights
  • Extra batteries
  • Firewood from the area
  • First aid supplies
  • A pocketknife
  • A water filter

With all your essentials packed, you’ll be well-prepared for a comfortable and memorable stay at Smithville Lake.


In conclusion, Smithville Lake offers a diverse range of campgrounds and outdoor activities for an unforgettable camping experience. With its picturesque walking trails, thrilling fishing opportunities, and exciting boating and watersports activities, Smithville Lake is a true nature lover’s paradise. The essential amenities and facilities provided at the campgrounds ensure a comfortable and hassle-free stay, allowing you to focus on creating lasting memories with your loved ones.

So, pack your bags, grab your camping gear, and head to Smithville Lake for an adventure-filled getaway that you’ll cherish for years to come.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Smithville Lake have camping?

Yes, Smithville Lake does have camping, with over 700 campsites and full hookups available at Camp Branch and Crows Creek.

How much is it to get into Smithville Lake?

Park passes to Smithville Lake cost only $5 per car, so you can enjoy all the lake’s activities like boating, fishing, swimming, and more!

Why is swimming not recommended at Smithville Lake?

Swimming at Smithville Lake is not recommended due to elevated E. coli levels in recent water samples. Clay County Parks officials are encouraging patrons to not swim at the beaches at Camp Branch and Little Platte.

Does Smithville Lake have cabins?

Yes, Smithville Lake does have cabins available to rent at many of the nearby motels, cabin rentals, and bed and breakfasts.

How far in advance can I reserve a campsite at Smithville Lake?

You can book your Smithville Lake campsite up to six months in advance, so start planning your outdoor adventure today!