Labor Day Road Trip – Day 2

The next morning at Finger Lakes State Park, the Kelly Branch trail looked kinda muddy so I decided to go to the next stop and maybe come back afterward to hike it.

The star of the weekend was Pinnacles Youth Park just a few miles north of Finger Lakes.  This is a rock formation created when the Silver Fork Creek doubled back on itself and spent a few million years carving out the rock on both sides, leaving a narrow ridge 1000 feet long and 75 feet high with several windows.  The “front” drops pretty much straight into the creek but the “back” has some ledges and is pretty accessible.  Unless you’re clumsy or acrophobic, that is.

Here’s the front from the picnic area:
In the creek bed, looking upstream…

and downstream:

A closer look at one of the “windows”:

You head to the right, following the creek until you come to the Shelving Rock, an area that has been undercut by the creek.  It’s about 40 feet deep and 125 feet long:


Head across the creek, find the trail at the top of the bank, and go left.  As you climb away from the creek you soon start seeing rocks and then beyond beckon the pinnacles.  There are many old cedars, seeming to grow right out of the rock:

It is possible to get on top of all the pinnacles but some are more difficult and risky.  I’m standing on the tallest of the pinnacles, looking out over the next:

And then looking back:

The trail runs up the center of this photo.  You can climb the rocks but have to come back down to get further along the trail.

I didn’t climb this one.  I didn’t think I’d have trouble going up, but getting down alone with no rock climbing experience seemed too risky.

The last and smallest pinnacle, with the woods beyond:

Once you pass the last pinnacle and enter the woods, the trail follows the bluff to the left and offers several places where you can look back:

Hiking Missouri rates this trail 5 out of 5 for the challenge, and it’s my first “5”.  I have been eager to get here since I first heard about the place almost a year ago.  It’s only about 2 miles round-trip but it’s something I won’t soon forget.    I decided to skip the trail at Finger Lakes and move on to the next stop.


Arrow Rock State Historic Site is a state park built next to an historic town.  There are a couple short trails to see, and the town itself.  I spent the afternoon wandering around here and got a campsite for the night.  The trails are nothing special – certainly not a destination by themselves.

Downtown Arrow Rock.  Yep, that’s all of it:

The one-person jail:

At the overlook on the George Caleb Bingham property:

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About Michael R

I enjoy hiking, landscaping with native plants, nature photography, dark chocolate, fine dining, good movies, and old jazz.
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