PERSHING STATE PARK
The outstanding features of what is now Pershing State Park attracted Gen. John J. Pershing during his boyhood years and continue to attract visitors to the park today.
A hike down the 1.5-mile boardwalk or 6.5-mile Riparian Trail allows visitors to glimpse a slice of presettlement Missouri. Visitors can see an active meandering stream with oxbow sloughs and cutoffs, a gently sloping upland forest, a mature bottomland forest and an expansive river bottom prairie, marshland and swamps. Other hiking trails, totaling 3.5 miles, allow for wildlife viewing and naturalist-led walks.
For visitors wanting to savor more of this 3,527-acre wetland masterpiece, the park provides a shady campground with electric and basic campsites, modern restrooms, hot showers and laundry facilities. Four small lakes and Locust Creek provide anglers with an opportunity to catch a variety of fish. Several picnic sites, a picnic shelter and an enclosed shelter with kitchen facilities make Pershing State Park an ideal location for family reunions.
Whether for a few hours or a few nights, come explore the natural features of Pershing State Park that make it a rare natural jewel in northern Missouri.
Pershing State Park offers basic and electric campsites and a special-use camping area. Services include a dump station, showers, water, laundry and reservable sites.
For reservations, there is a required minimum stay for weekends and major holidays from May 15 through Sept. 15.
A small sand beach is located near the picnic area and is open from Memorial Day to Labor Day. There are restrooms located at the picnic area. Swimming is at your own risk.
Four small lakes provide fishing opportunities for bass, bluegill and channel catfish. Anglers can also try their hand at catching bullhead, carp and drum in Locust Creek. Canoes and boats with electric motors are allowed, however, there are no launch ramps. Length limits and other information are posted on site.
Pershing State Park is located near Chillicothe
Several picnic sites, an enclosed picnic shelter with kitchen facilities and an open shelter with water and electricity are available in the park. The enclosed shelter is $45 to rent for the day and requires a reservation. The open shelter is available on a first-come, first-served basis or may be reserved in advance for $40. Both shelters have playground equipment and suit large family gatherings or special outings well. Please call the park office at (660) 963-2299 for more information or reservations.
Locust Creek Riparian Trail : This six-mile hiking and backpacking trail connects Pershing State Park and the Fountain Grove Conservation Area. The first mile of the trail in the park is an accessible boardwalk with interpretive signing. The trail travels along the natural levee of Locust Creek into the Fountain Grove Conservation Area, allowing hikers and backpackers to experience the riparian habitat along the creek. Part of the trail project involved constructing a 60-foot cable suspension bridge to connect the park and the conservation area. This bridge was designed to cross a steep-cut stream bed and has worked so well that it is being used on other Department of Conservation properties.
Three shorter trails, approximately ? mile each, explore the park's remnant savanna landscape.
Canfield Savanna Trail traverses a section with large oak trees and an understory of native grass.
Oak Ridge Trail connects the campground to the picnic area through an oak-hickory forest with a long ridge that overlooks a shrub swamp.
Scout Lake Trail circles the lake.
A park naturalist offers nature activities during the summer months and guided hikes are available upon advance request. Please contact the park office at (660) 963-2299 for more information.
The best way to explore the wetlands and view wildlife is the 1.5-mile interpretive boardwalk that meanders along Locust Creek. The exhibits along the boardwalk describe the wetland complex in the park and give visitors a notion of the pre-settlement landscape of north Missouri. The boardwalk leads visitors through bottomland forest, shrub swamps, marsh and wet prairie.
An observation tower overlooks the largest remaining wet prairie in north Missouri at nearly 1,000 acres.
Pershing State Park is located in Linn County, 18 miles east of Chillicothe or 7 miles west of Brookfield on U.S. Hwy. 36. The main facilities are two miles south on Hwy. 130. The park is approximately two hours from the Kansas City area and four hours from the St. Louis area.