Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Taum Sauk Mountain State Park

Taum Sauk Mountain State Park was one of our destinations on our long weekend trip.  There is a lot more to do here then we actually did.  We had just finished up swimming somewhere and it was incredibly humid!  I do think I would visit this park again and take a little longer there.

Taum Sauk is located in the St. Francis Mountains.  What?  Mountains in Missouri!  Yep!  This mountain range is believed to be 1.5 million years old.  That's why it is not as high and majestic as other places.  It's simply been around so long that it has eroded down.  What is left is just the roots of the mountains.  It is now covered in forest and glades (and I noticed LOTS of poison oak!)

This state park is pretty large in size.  You can drive up close to the highest point in Missouri.  They have a nice pavilion and a vault bathroom.  The park does have 12 basic campsites with water.  Might be an idea for a future camping spot.
Alli and I hiked about a quarter of mile (Peyton said his feet hurt and stayed in the car) to find the highest point in Missouri.  Thinking highest point, we thought we were going to see some great outlook over the valley or something....nope.  It was kinda of a let down, but still kinda cool to be standing in the highest point in the state.

There are other trails that we didn't take, but next time we will!  We most likely would have this time if Peyton had wanted to get out and hike.

The Mina Sauk Falls Trail is around three miles long and is described as rugged.  At the end of it, you will find the Mina Sauk Falls, which drops 132 feet over rock ledges.  Past the falls is the Devil's Tollgate which is a eight foot wide passage through volcanic rhyolite!  Geology is awesome!  I love it so much!

There is a trail that leads to the Johnson's Shut Ins that is 13.9 miles and said to take 10 hours to hike.  I will post about Johnson's Shut Ins soon because it is so fun and amazing. (That's where we had been swimming before heading here and why Peyton was exhausted)

There is a lookout that you can stop at and see the views.  I did a little video of it because the birds were so loud!  You can hear a car on the gravel road towards the end of it though.

I did get some still shots with my phone too.  It really is beautiful.

 Would we venture here again?  Absolutely!  I would love to hike all the trails and see the falls.  Also, do a picnic lunch in the shade there.  Maybe even spend the night.
We did see a lot of Eastern Collared lizards!  They were big and fast.  We saw a few butterflies and heard the birds sing.  I'm glad we didn't run into a scorpion coming out from hiding!  

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