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Driving along the rural highways in southeast Missouri, travelers may notice an abundance of farmland. Amid this farmland, near East Prairie, 1,029 acres of the area's original landscape has been preserved and stands out above the rest.
This island of trees in a sea of agriculture is known as Big Oak Tree State Park. A boardwalk allows visitors to walk alongside champion trees and through wetlands. The interpretive center highlights the park's flora and fauna. Picnic sites and a shelter, as well as hiking trails are available. The park is managed by Hunter-Dawson State Historic Site.
The four-story, stone and brick water-powered mill dates to around 1867. The 140-foot Burfordville Covered Bridge crosses the Whitewater River that powers the mill. Cornmeal is ground as part of the mill tour. Picnic sites are available. Off of Route 34 onto Route OO to Route HH. Call for tour times. Tours: $4; ages 6-12, $2.50; younger than 6, free.
The Trail of Tears– the forced relocation of Cherokee Indians from Tennessee to Oklahoma in the 1830s – passed through this area. Exhibits cover the event.
The park offers camping, hiking, equestrian and backpacking trails, a lake, fishing, a swimmimg beach, picnicking and an accessible overlook of the Mississippi River.
Note: The visitor center's hours vary by month; the visitor center is closed December-February.
Step Back in Time
The history of Cape Girardeau is on full display during this getaway.
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