One thing Gail and I have learned during our travels of the United States is how rich the country is with interesting and unusual places to visit. Some of our destinations are cultural stops that highlight the vision, the creativity and the expansion movements of the country and its people. Other places highlight mother nature’s brilliance in natural architecture.
The National Park system in the US features the best of the county’s natural beauty. These parks are well documented, known to the average citizen and visited in high numbers by people from around the world.
Although National Parks remain high on our list of places to visit, we also like finding the lesser known destinations that give a state, county or town their regional identity. More broadly, the smaller and less documented attractions highlight the true fabric and textures that make the United States unique.
Elephant Rocks State Park in eastern Missouri is one of those smaller and lesser known destinations we like to find.
Located off Highway 21, near Pilot Knob, Missouri in the heart of the Ozarks, the Elephant Rock boulders can easily be seen along the Braille Trail in the park.
This is an easy hike as much of the trail is wheelchair accessible. It is also a family friendly environment. The boulders make the area feel prehistoric and is a fun place for kids and adults to climb some mammoth sized rocks.
These rocks are well named as they do give you the sense of being surrounded by circus sized elephants.
Much of this pink granite was quarried in the 1840s and later. The stone was used to pave streets and build bridge piers in the St. Louis area. You can also find this area’s granite on the Governor’s mansion in Jefferson City. The park and its natural resources were eventually donated to the state of Missouri in 1967 to be used for a state park and natural area.
You will spend 1-2 hours in this park if hiking and climbing is all you do. However, there are several areas for picnicking and group gatherings too if you want to make a day of it.
We recommend a stop at the Elephant Rocks State Park if you are planning a trip to the area!