10 Missouri State Parks to Visit This Fall
Missouri has many times been recognized for its wonderful state parks system. With 87 official Missouri State Parks and Historic Sites , which comes to around 200,000 acres of beautiful public space, visitors are able to find a place to hike, camp and picnic in every corner of the state. Of course, 87 is a lot to choose from, so we narrowed it down to 10 that would make for a perfect adventure this fall. Enjoy the outdoors.

Northwest

Weston Bend State Park

Scattered picnic sites, picnic shelters and camping are features of this park. Hiking trails and a paved hiking and bicycling trail traverse the wooded park. A handicapped accessible scenic overlook offers the most expansive views of the Missouri River in the state. Because the park is located along the forested river corridor, it offers excellent bird watching, especially during spring and fall migrations. There are secluded picnic areas; a playground; an open shelter; and a campground with modern restrooms, hot showers and laundry facilities.

Big Lake State Park

The 625-acre Oxbow Lake is perfect for fishing. The park offers camping, a swimming pool, a reservable shelter and a boat ramp. Campsites are available by reservation.

The park is an ideal area for bird watching, as it lies along a major migratory flyway. Located 11 miles southwest of Mound City on Route 111.

Northeast

Castlewood State Park

This park, straddling the lush valley of the Meramec River, is an excellent location for canoeing and fishing. The park has hiking and mountain-biking trails for all skill levels–it is one of the best mountain-biking locations in the St. Louis area. Open for day use only, the park features picnic sites and shelters, a boat ramp and hiking, mountain biking and equestrian trails.

Graham Cave State Park

Radiocarbon dating indicates the park's shelter cave was inhabited more than 10,000 years ago. The park, two miles west of Danville along the Loutre River, features camping, hiking and mountain-biking trails, fishing, a boat ramp and picnicking.

Southeast

Onondaga Cave State Park

This park is home to a spectacular show cave, which is a National Natural Landmark. Tours are offered March through October. The park features Meramec River access; camping; scenic hiking trails; a lake; picnic sites; and a shelter. The park is located seven miles southeast of I-44 on Route H.

Lake Wappapello State Park

Scenic lakeside coves offer irresistible fishing and picnicking spots at this park, bordering Wappapello Lake. Campgrounds, cabins, camper cabins, nature programs, hiking, backpacking, equestrian and mountain biking trails, boat ramps and a beach highlight the park. The park is 16 miles north of Poplar Bluff.

Elephant Rocks State Park

At this park, giant, billion-year-old granite boulders stand end-to-end, like a train of red circus elephants. Spend some time reading the names and comments carved into the red granite by 19th century miners who worked in the area. A self-guiding trail (with Braille signage) winds among these geologic wonders and takes you past what remains of the long-dead mining operation. Picnic sites and flush restrooms are available. The park is off of Route 21, four miles north of Pilot Knob.

Taum Sauk Mountain State Park

At an elevation of 1,772 feet, this is the highest point in Missouri. The state's highest wet-weather waterfall, Mina Sauk Falls, is a highlight of this scenic rugged park. Primitive camping, hiking and backpacking trails, an accessible overlook and picnicking are offered. The park is located off Route 21, nine miles southwest of Ironton on Route CC.

Southwest

Prairie State Park

Hike amid tall prairie grasses, colorful flowers and animals, including American bison and elk, at Missouri's largest remaining tallgrass prairie. Sleep under the vast prairie sky at primitive campsites. Exhibits in the visitor center interpret the landscape. The park is located 16 miles west of Lamar.

Central

Ha Ha Tonka State Park

The remains of a huge, circa 1905 European-style stone castle add an air of mystery to this park. Situated atop towering bluffs, the views of the Lake of the Ozarks are majestic. More than 15 miles of winding trails take you past caves, a spring, sink-holes, a natural bridge and down to the lake. This park features camping, picnicking, hiking and an ADA accessible shelter. Island Cave is an "entry by permit only" cave. Call the park's office to request a permit to enter. River Cave is a "supervised entry only" cave. Scheduled tours are given monthly, December through February; subject to the migration of federally-protected gray bats. Call the office for details and schedules. Overlooking the River Cave's entrance, a deck with informational panels is open to all.

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