Lake of the Ozarks is a reservoir created by impounding the Osage River in the northern part of the Ozarks in central Missouri. Parts of three smaller tributaries to the Osage are included in the impoundment: the Niangua River, Grandglaize Creek, and Gravois Creek. The lake has a surface area of 54,000 acres (220 km) and 1,150 miles (1,850 km) of shoreline. The main channel of the Osage Arm stretches 92 miles (148 km) from end to end. The total drainage area is over 14,000 square miles (36,000 km). The lake’s serpentine shape has earned it the nickname “The Magic Dragon”, which has in turn inspired the names of local institutions such as The Magic Dragon Street Meet.
The Lake of the Ozarks is located within the Ozark Mountains with the dam (Bagnell Dam) lying at an elevation of 659 feet (201 m). It lies in central Missouri on the Salem Plateau of the Ozarks. The lake extends across four Missouri counties, from Benton County in the west through Camden and Morgan counties to Miller County in the east.
The reservoir is impounded at its northeastern end by Bagnell Dam, and the Osage River is both its primary inflow and outflow. Long and winding in shape, the lake consists of the main, 93-mile-long (150 km) Osage River channel as well as several arms, each fed by a different tributary. The southwestern arm is fed by the Niangua and Little Niangua rivers, the southeastern arm by Grandglaize Creek, and the northern arm by several streams including Gravois, Indian, and Little Gravois creeks. Many smaller tributaries also drain into the lake, creating numerous small coves and indentations in its shore. As a result, the lake has approximately 1,150 miles (1,850 km) of shoreline.
U.S. Route 54 runs east-west across the reservoir’s southwestern arm and then generally northeast-southwest along its eastern shoreline, crossing the southeastern arm at Osage Beach. Missouri Route 5 runs generally north-south along the lake’s western shoreline, crossing the main channel at Hurricane Deck. Missouri Route 7 runs generally northwest-southeast to the lake’s southwest, crossing the southwestern arm. Missouri Route 134 runs southeast from U.S. 54 north of Osage Beach to its southern terminus in Lake of the Ozarks State Park. In addition, a network of supplemental state routes provides access to various points along the lake shore.
Numerous settlements are located near or on the Lake of the Ozarks. With a population of 4,570, the largest city is Osage Beach which sits where the lake’s southeastern arm joins the main channel. The second largest is the city of Camdenton, located a few miles east of the southwestern arm. Lake Ozark lies immediately north of Osage Beach and just south of Bagnell Dam. Other, smaller communities along or near the lake include (from east to west): Kaiser, Lakeside, Linn Creek, Village of Four Seasons, Rocky Mount, Sunrise Beach, Hurricane Deck, Gravois Mills, Laurie, and Lakeview Heights.
Lake Ozark Missouri neighborhoods include: Carol Susan Duckhead Road, Lake Ozark, Osage Hills, Wood River