Imagine giant granite rocks standing end-to-end like a train of circus elephants. That's what you'll see at Elephant Rocks State Park. About 1.5 billion years ago, hot magma cooled forming coarsely crystalline red granite, which later weathered into huge, rounded boulders. Standing atop a granite outcrop, one of the largest elephant rocks, Dumbo, tops the scales at a whopping 680 tons!
Visitors to Elephant Rocks State Park can easily view the granite boulders from the one-mile Braille Trail, designed to accommodate people with visual or physical disabilities. The trail passes by a quarry pond, which now supports a variety of animal life. A short spur off of the trail takes visitors to the top of the granite outcrop, where they can explore the maze of giant elephant rocks.
A second spur brings visitors to a point overlooking an old quarry site. This red granite, first commercially quarried in the late 1800s, has been used as building material and as paving blocks for the St. Louis levee and downtown streets. Today, "Missouri Red" granite is cut and polished mainly for use as monuments. Thirty picnic sites allow visitors to rest and have a cool drink among the stone pachyderms. Come see for yourself why Elephant Rocks State Park is a place you'll never forget!
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Thirty picnic sites among the giant red boulders provide ample opportunity for picnicking and exploration of the elephant rocks. A children?s playground is also available to visitors, making a trip to Elephant Rocks State Park perfect for a family outing.
Interpretive programs are conducted every weekend at Elephant Rocks State Park from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Programs include a variety of games and quizzes as well as nature hikes and demonstrations that can be enjoyed by all ages.
The times of the programs vary from week to week and it is best to contact the park naturalist, based out of Johnson's Shut-Ins State Park, at (573) 546-2450 for current information. Special group programs can also be arranged in advance for any time of the year by contacting the naturalist as well.
From St. Louis : Take I-55 south out of St. Louis to U.S. Hwy. 67, just south of the Festus (Route A) exit. Turn right (Exit 174) onto southbound U.S. Hwy. 67 and drive past Bonne Terre, Park Hills, Leadington and into Farmington. On the south side of Farmington is the Route W overpass. Exit onto Route W. Travel on Route W for 18 miles to a flashing stoplight at a three-way stop. Turn right onto northbound Hwy. 21 and travel two miles. The park entrance is on right side of road. The trip is about one and one half hours long.
From Jefferson City : Take U.S. Hwy. 50 east out of Jefferson City to U.S. Hwy. 63. Turn right onto U.S. Hwy. 63 and travel to Vichy. At the junction of U.S. Hwy. 63 and Hwy. 68, turn left onto Hwy. 68. Stay on Hwy. 68 through St. James. South of St. James at the junction of Hwy. 68 and Hwy. 8, stay to the left. You will be on Hwy. 8. Travel on Hwy. 8 to Potosi. As you leave Potosi, turn right onto Hwy. 21. About five miles south of Belleview on Hwy. 21 is Elephant Rocks State Park on the left side of the road. The trip is about two and one half hours long.
From Springfield/Joplin : Take I-44 out of Springfield toward St. Louis. Exit at St. James Overpass (Exit 195) and turn right onto Hwy. 8. Stay on Hwy. 68 through St. James. South of St. James at the junction of Hwy. 68 and Hwy. 8, stay to the left. You will be on Hwy. 8. Travel on Hwy. 8 to Potosi. As you leave Potosi, turn right onto Hwy. 21. About five miles south of Belleview on Hwy. 21 is Elephant Rocks State Park on the left side of the road. The trip is at least four hours long.