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.
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.
At the falls, the park loop departs from the Ozark Trail.
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!
Heading back toward the falls presents more photo opportunities if you’re willing to climb over some pretty big boulders.
Back above the falls, the park trail heads east along the creek
There’s yet another large glade up here.
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.