Stephens Lake Park FAQs


A. Are the shelters reservable?
Yes. There are two medium (Happy Hollow and Gordon Shelter) and one small (Collins Shelter with firepit) shelters available for reservation.

B. Is the Island Shelter reservable?
A Park Special Use Permit is required to hold a special event at the Island Shelter. However, the park and facilities remain open to the public.

C. Are the restrooms open?
Yes. The restrooms at Stephens Lake Park are open all year. Drinking fountains are winterized and closed from October 15 to April 15.


A. Is the lake open for swimming?
The lake is open for swimming May 1 to Sept. 30. There is a sand beach and a designated swimming area on the west side of the boardwalk. The swimming beach is free to the public and is an unguarded facility. The gate to the beach will be locked during the off season. See beach rules.

B. Is fishing allowed? Are there regulations?
Fishing is allowed on the east side of the boardwalk. All Missouri Department of Conservation fishing rules and regulations must be followed.

C. Is the lake stocked with fish?
Stephens Lake is managed and periodically stocked by the Missouri Department of Conservation.

D. Is boating allowed?
Yes, boating is allowed on the east side of the boardwalk. Only non-motorized boats are allowed. Boats with motors are prohibited, including electric trolling motors.

E. How do I get my boat to the lake?
All boats must be carried by the users from their vehicle to the lake. There is a boat launch area on the southeast side of the lake. All vehicles must remain on the hard paved parking lots.

F. What about inflatable boats?
Boats must be commercially designed watercraft with the intent to keep the passengers dry. Boats should not be used with the secondary intent to swim in the lake. Rafts and inner tubes may be used in the swimming area only.

G. Can I rent a paddle boat? 
No, currently Stephens Lake is not a staffed facility and does not offer boat rentals.

H. What is the water quality of Stephens Lake?
The water quality of the Stephens Lake swimming area is tested weekly by the Columbia/Boone County Department of Public Health and Human Services during the swimming season. A lake must have a reading below 200 coliform per 100 milliliters and 126 E. Coli per 100 milliliters or it is resampled. Lake samples that exceed the recommended limits are re-sampled for three consecutive weeks. If three consecutive samples are above the recommended level, the Park Services Manager is notified of the problem and takes responsive action. Water quality of the park swimming lakes are posted on the Environmental Health website. Click here for current postings.

Spikes in readings generally occur after a rainfall where it is suspected that the geese feces is washed into the lake. To help freshen and clean the water during the swimming season, the Parks and Recreation staff pumps fresh water from the deep well into the lake causing the lake to slowly overflow.

The appeal of swimming free of charge in a natural surrounding draws people to Stephens Lake. As with any body of non-chlorinated water inhabited with wildlife (fish, turtles, geese, etc.), lake water should not be ingested.

The water quality of Stephens Lake has met the requirements of the Health Department and is continually monitored throughout the swimming season. For more information regarding water quality testing, contact the Columbia/Boone County Department of Public Health and Human Services @ 573-874-7346.


A. May I reserve the soccer fields for games or practices?
No, the fields are designated as practice fields and may be used on a first come, first serve basis for practices.

B. Will there be goals on the field?
No. Since the fields will be used for practices only, the goals have been removed so that the impact to the turf will be spread out over the entire field instead of directly in front of the goals.

C. Will the field be lined and how often will it be mowed?
The field will not be marked or lined, as there will not be any official games scheduled on it. Since it is a practice only area, the fields will be mowed at the same time the park is mowed. It is anticipated that certain areas of the park will be mowed on a weekly basis during the mowing season.

D. Where do I park to use the practice fields?
There is a parking lot on the east side of the park near the fields. Enter from the Broadway Street entrance and turn to the right (east). Parking on the grass is prohibited.

E. What other parks have practice soccer fields?
There are several parks that have practice soccer fields and some are reservable. [More Information]


A. Since Stephens used to be a golf course, can I come out and hit golf balls?
No. Golfing is not allowed in any parks except at the designated golf courses.

B. What are the park hours?
The park opens at 6:00 am and closes at 11:00 pm.

C. Are dogs allowed? Is this a leash free park?
Dogs are allowed in Stephens, but they must remain on a leash and owners are responsible for cleaning up after their pet. This is not a leash-free park. {Learn about leash-free areas in the park system}

F. May I purchase a Memorial/Heritage tree/bench for Stephens?
Yes, there is a special donation arrangement for Stephens Lake Park. [More Information]

G. What happened to the old log cabin? Will it be open for tours? 

The log cabin was relocated to Nifong Park and is being restored. The cabin will be under the care of the Boone County Historical Society. Tour schedules and availability to the public will be decided after the cabin restoration is completed. [More Information]


Stephens Lake Park 

Log Cabin