Walking and Biking Trails
All trails are patrolled regularly by Clay County Park Rangers.
Smoke & Davey Trail System
The Smoke & Davey Trail System, named after two Clay County Parks staff members who constructed the trail system, is composed of three trails; Backbone, Whispering Pine, and Copperhead Ridge.
Backbone Trail is 2.7 miles in length and is the primary trail of the Smoke & Davey triad. Backbone begins at the Smoke & Davey Trailhead located on the south side of Highway W just east of the W boat ramp and bridge. The trail initially follows an old road cut south for one mile to the lake’s edge on the north side of Sailboat Cove before curving east for 2.7 miles around the cove before ending at the Sailboat Cove parking lot. While the last 2.7 mile section curves gently around the lake and has very little elevation changes, the first mile can prove challenging if traveling north as this section is a moderate incline. Features along this trail include: passing near 15 acres of grassland restoration, rest benches, opportunities for viewing waterfowl in Sailboat Cove, a restroom facility and drinking water at the trail’s end, access to single-track mountain biking trails and access to Whispering Pine and Copperhead Ridge Trails.
Whispering Pine Trail is 1.4 miles in length. There are no pine trees, only red cedars, but the trail does wind through hardwood forests of oak and hickory. This trail contains two lookout points over the east side of Smithville Lake’s Little Platte arm. Whispering Pine intersects with Backbone Trail in four locations and is easily accessible from the Smoke & Davey Trailhead and parking lot.
Copperhead Ridge Trail is 0.7 miles in length. Don’t let the name cause alarm as this common, venomous snake is not likely to be encountered anywhere within the park. This trail follows the higher ridges along the lake’s edge and contains a covered shelter for a convenient rest stop.
Bonebender Trail System
The Bonebender Trail System is composed of two trails: Bonebender Trail and Campground Trail.
Bonebender Trail is 6.0 miles in length and is accessible from the Sailboat Cove parking lot to the north and from the Main Park Office/Camp Branch Swim Beach area to the south and from within the Camp Branch Campground. Bonebender Trail meanders along the east shoreline of Smithville Lake's Little Platte arm through hardwood forests and restored grasslands. Features along this trail include: numerous views of Smithville Lake, two Lookout Points with rest benches, a covered shelter area with picnic tables, restroom and shower facilities at Sailboat Cove, Camp Branch Campground, Camp Branch Swim Beach, Main Park Office Storm Shelter and additional primitive restroom facility, easy access to Camp Branch Campground's 9-hole Disc Golf Course, Camp Branch Swim Beach, and Camp Branch Campground Outdoor Amphitheater (new for 2013).
Campground Trail is 2.9 miles in length and as the name implies, follows the lake's shoreline around the perimeter of Camp Branch Campground. While connected to Bonebender Trail, the Campground Trail is accessible only within Camp Branch Campground and is very convenient for Campground users. Features along this trail include: views of Smithville Lake and Lookout Point with rest bench.
Crows Creek Trail System
The Crows Creek Trail System is composed of two trails: Anita B. Gorman and Cabin Fever Trail.
Anita B. Gorman Trail is 1.9 miles in length and is accessible from Collins Road to the north and from Crows Creek boat ramp area the south. In 2007, this trail was re-named after former Missouri Department of Conservation Commissioner, Anita B. Gorman, for her active involvement with the Smithville Grassland Revitalization Project and her long-time support of wildlife habitat restoration. Anita B. Gorman Trail follows the shoreline of the main lake channel through predominately hardwood forest. Features along this trail include: relatively consistent grade, borders 25 acres of grassland restoration, a covered shelter with picnic tables, and access to the more primitive equestrian/hiking trails.
Cabin Fever Trail is 7.0 miles in length and is accessible from Crows Creek boat ramp area to the north and from Access 25 at the west end of 160th Street. Cabin Fever Trail hugs the shoreline of the Crows Creek arm of Smithville Lake and is easily accessible from the Crows Creek Campground to the north. The southern half of Cabin Fever Trail follows the lake's shoreline and perimeter of Crows Creek Picnic area, a less populated area of the park. Features along this trail include: numerous views of Smithville Lake and Dam, 2 lookout points with rest benches, 2 playgrounds, 6 shelters with picnic tables, 12 restroom buildings - some with drinking fountains and access to the Crows Creek Campground Outdoor Amphitheater.