Johnson’s Shut-Ins State Park has more than 45 miles of trails. One of the newest is the Scour Trail, providing visitors a chance to hike through 1.4 billion-years of geologic history. Whether you’re after a total escape from civilization or a gentle day hike, the Scour is sure to please. You can spend a day just examining the scour.
December 2005, more than 1.3 billion-gallons of raging water, from the collapse of the Taum Sauk reservoir, ripped trees and soil from the side of Proffit Mountain, slicing through centuries of time, stripping away all the vegetation and soil in its path, revealing a geological blast from the past.
Scour Trail is a 1.5-mile loop, passing through the woods to a pavilion which overlooks a flood plain littered with boulders — the scour. This is a fascinating hike, with ample exhibits and signage to explain the scene.
From the pavilion, look to the left to see the rebuilt reservoir, looming on the mountain’s crest like a fortress; in the distance, to the right, is the Black River Center; and in-between is a 7,000-foot gouge, laid bare down to bedrock, where cottonwood and sycamore saplings have established a new foothold.
The Johnson’s Shut-Ins visitor center contains exhibits covering the park’s plants, animals, geology and first settlers, as well as information on the 2005 breach and flood.