About a mile of paved trail in Elephant Rocks State Park leads through a field of giant pink granite boulders that are approximately 1.5 billion years old. Some stand over 20 feet tall and weigh 600 tons. They were formed from molten rock as it bubbled up from the earth and cooled. The row of elephant rocks get their name from the fact that they look like a circus elephant parade.
The rock formations are varied and off-trail use is acceptable to climb and explore. This park is the only place in Missouri to go bouldering. It’s simply a natural playground!
The view from the top of the elephant rocks, looking out among the St. Francois Mountains, is amazing and fairly easy to access due to the paved trail and a small flight of wooden steps.
The lake in the park is lovely and reflects the surrounding geological wonders.
Off of a small unpaved trail, there are remnants of a old railroad engine house, evidence of the quarrying history of this part of Missouri.
The park actually reminded me of the Garden of the Gods in Colorado, only much pinker and rounder. There is nothing like a 600 ton boulder to make you feel small.
Or holding up a boulder with one finger to make you feel powerful.
Of the destinations on our Show-Me September Adventure, this tied for number one in my opinion with Alley Springs Mill. The destinations are so different and beautiful in their own ways, that they really cannot be compared. But, you don’t have to choose. Just do both!
On the way back to the cabin, we found the highest point in Missouri, Taum Sauk Mountain. It was easy to access via car on several miles of gravel road. The view from the top was nice, but I would advise not going out of your way to visit this state park. There’s not much there. If you happen to be in the neighborhood, it’s worth getting off the main road and wandering that direction. Been there. Done that. No t-shirt. As mentioned in the blog post about the Johnson’s Shut-ins, it is possible to hike from that park to this one, if you want that level of hiking.
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