elephant rocks state park

My husband and I were raised ten minutes from each other, though we did not meet until in college. We attended different churches, schools, extracurricular activities and vacationed in very different locations. My husband was a boy scout, so he enjoyed camping in Missouri's great outdoors throughout the year. My family frequently traveled to Arkansas to visit my grandmother, and Colorado for Summer vacations. I did not learn to love Missouri until I met my husband, and this past Summer only increased my fondness for living here.

For some time we have seen Johnson Shut-ins State Park highlighted in the Missouri Conservationist magazine. The pictures of this area located in Southeast Missouri evoked beauty and the descriptions of a river "shut in" to the rocks intrigued me. Neither my husband nor I had explored this area of Missouri, so it was a true new adventure for all of us.  We planned a getaway, and our first stop was actually at another state park nearby called Elephant Rocks State Park. The amazing thing about this area of Missouri is that there are a myriad of parks within easy driving distance of each other. We were not able to visit all the parks that I wanted too, but that is okay, we can plan another trip for another day.

Elephant Rocks State Park is a former granite quarry. The park is so named because it is comprised of huge rocks, some larger than even elephants! We spent about two hours walking the shaded, paved trail (accessible for wheelchairs) and climbing the rocks at the very top of the park. This area is east of the well-known Ozark Mountains and known as the St. Francois Mountain area.

Can you see the beauty? It was amazing being so high and seeing so far. Many people we know who live in the Midwest like to travel far for vacation, to the mountains, to the beach. Don't get me wrong, those places are beautiful and I have enjoyed both. As a family with young children, however, it has been extremely enjoyable to discover majestic places within our own state in which to vacation.

In my next post I'll showcase Johnson Shut-ins State Park, which was an experience like no other.