State Park #12: Elephant Rocks State Park

This post is part of an ongoing series summarizing each State Park in Missouri that our family has attended. We hope to visit each of 54 State Parks before the kids graduate from high school.

As part of our “Staycation 2020” trip in August, we also stopped by Elephant Rocks State Park, as it was close to multiple other state parks we wanted to hit. Really, this park was most of the reason we wanted to take the trip in the first place, as it’s one of those things we both remembered doing when we were growing up, so we wanted the kids to get to experience it while they were still on the younger side of things.

Because of the ongoing pandemic, we tried getting there earlier in the morning so we could avoid the inevitable crowds, and for the most part, we definitely did. After being there awhile, there were more and more people coming in and it was getting harder to distance from them, so we really only stayed for the morning.

The park itself features gigantic granite boulders that naturally formed and were weathered over millennia. The largest of the rocks is 27 feet tall, 34 feet long, and 17 feet wide. Some of them are pretty difficult to climb, while others are shorter for kids to try to maneuver around.

There aren’t really any serious trails at this park, but there is a well-defined nature trail with various signs that are instructional for the surroundings. A lot of school kids get taken there, so much of the material focuses on geology, as well as the natural environment in that region. Our kids weren’t all that interested in the signs, though we did try to get Meg to get some interesting factoids from them. Calvin really just wanted to climb on things, but hey, that’s why we went!

There are some playgrounds there and a few picnic shelters, but we avoided those for obvious reasons. In more “normal times,” we could definitely spend almost all day there, though I would probably want the kids to be a little older before letting them go run off by themselves. It was a memorable part of the trip, for sure!

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