Taum Sauk Mountain State Park

Saturday morning I headed for Taum Sauk Mountain State Park.  Besides being the highest point in Missouri, it’s also home to the tallest waterfall and deepest valley in the state so I expected some great scenery.  Part of the 5 mile loop is shared with the Taum Sauk section of the Ozark Trail.

Just before the parking area is a scenic overlook, facing roughly north with a view like this (left to right):

There is also a nice display that has some history of the area plus an illustration of the horizon with the mountains labeled, so you can tell what you’re looking at.

The trail to the falls is about 1.5 miles via the northern part of the loop and naturally, there are glades along the way.

The water going over the falls wasn’t much more than a trickle.  It’s best to be here right after a heavy rain.

At the top of the falls, looking down

Looking down from another angle

At the falls, the park loop departs from the Ozark Trail.

The Ozark Trail descends steeply to the bottom of the falls

I headed down, and west, 1 mile to a feature called The Devil’s Tollgate.  It’s a 6-foot gap between huge granite boulders, through which an old military road passed.  The story is that at this point the wagons had to be unloaded, unhitched, turned on their side, and carried through.  The Devil collecting a toll!

The Devil’s Tollgate

Heading back toward the falls presents more photo opportunities if you’re willing to climb over some pretty big boulders.

At the bottom of the falls, looking up

Back above the falls, the park trail heads east along the creek

Some of the many smaller cascades above the main falls

There’s yet another large glade up here.

About 3.5 miles after leaving the falls you get back to the beginning of the loop, near the top of the mountain.

A plaque (granite, naturally) marks the highest point in Missouri.

The area around the “peak”

In another area of the park, I struck gold: a fire tower that can still be climbed!  No 12 foot fence with razor wire around this one.

I could not get all the way up onto the platform as the hatch was locked.  I still had a pretty good view.  Here, I’m looking roughly WSW toward Proffit Mountain (home of the infamous upper reservoir of the Taum Sauk Hydroelectric Power Station) and then panning counter-clockwise:

Here’s a better look at that upper reservoir, and there will be more pictures of it in the next blog entry.From here, it’s back to Johnson’s Shut-Ins State Park to do some hiking and sight-seeing there.

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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1 Response to Taum Sauk Mountain State Park

  1. ldgalindo says:

    Oh my gosh, you did see a lot on your vacation!!!! Even climbed a tower… Now, I’ve never done that!

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