After several months of winter slumber, the natural world awakens in all its beauty. Frozen rivers bubble back to life. Green leaves return to the trees. Animals peek out, ready to see what spring holds for them. Spring provides a perfect time to visit Missouri's parks.
Near Ironton, Elephant Rocks State Park lets visitors see remarkable, billion-year-old granite formations up close. Be sure to have the camera handy, so you can snap photos of these circus elephant-shaped rocks, standing trunk-to-tail. Rock climbers love scrambling over these impressive boulders.
At Ha Ha Tonka State Park, stones take a different form: The park contains the mysterious ruins of an early 20th century castle. Known for its excellent hiking opportunities, this park near Camdenton boasts more than 15 miles of trails.
In St. Louis, Forest Park holds enough activities to delight everyone in the family. This beautiful park spreads across 1,371 acres — making it 500 acres larger than Central Park in New York City. Eight miles of paths provide smooth routes for jogging, skating and biking. Forest Park includes such renowned destinations as the Saint Louis Zoo, the Saint Louis Art Museum and the Missouri History Museum.
Table Rock State Park makes a wonderful destination for visitors who want to take in a Branson show — and experience the majesty of nature. Located just five miles west of Branson, the park is situated along Table Rock Lake. Take your running shoes or your bicycle for a journey along the paved trail.
Set against the gorgeous St. Francois Mountains, Sam A. Baker State Park, in Patterson, offers a splendid getaway for families who enjoy hiking, backpacking, biking, horseback riding and picnicking.
Near the Missouri-Arkansas border, in the town of Lampe, Dogwood Canyon Nature Park boasts numerous opportunities for adventure. Ride a bicycle. Explore the lovely park on horseback. Fish for trout. You can even take a private jeep tour, and zip through the park on a Segway.
You'll find one of Missouri's most exhilarating views at Taum Sauk Mountain State Park, nine miles southwest of Ironton. Situated on the highest point in Missouri (at 1,772 feet), Taum Sauk Mountain State Park is home to the state's highest wet-weather waterfall.
Discover natural beauty and uncover the past of an American icon at Mark Twain State Park. The park, which covers 18,000 acres in north central Missouri, is home to the Mark Twain Birthplace State Historic Site. In addition to offering great insight into the life of the legendary Mark Twain, the park features hiking, camping and fishing — largemouth bass, bluegill, carp, walleye, perch, crappie and catfish all thrive in Mark Twain Lake.