Rural Missouri - June 2020 - 44

MINA SAUK FALLS
It's fitting that Missouri's tallest
waterfall is located on the state's
highest peak - Taum Sauk Mountain. But you'll only witness Mina
Sauk Falls falling after wet weather.
Time your visit right and you'll see
Taum Sauk Creek dropping more
than 130 feet over a series of rock
ledges. The view requires some effort,
either a 3-mile loop from the top of
Taum Sauk State Park, or a much
longer trek from other nearby trailheads. For the ultimate adventure,
backpack down to Johnson's ShutIns State Park (also voted our readers'
favorite swimming hole in Rural Missouri's 2002 Readers' Choice Awards).
Directions: The shortest (and most
popular route) is a 3-mile loop from
Taum Sauk State Park.

ROCKY FALLS
In the heart of the Ozark National Scenic Riverways, Little Rocky
Creek tumbles 40 feet down into a
serene pool tailor-made for wading,
splashing and swimming. It's a great
place to beat the summer heat, and
although Rocky Falls is secluded its
charms are well-known to Missourians from picnickers to photographers.
It's a popular stop (and welcome
sight) for families who want to enjoy
nature's granite water park. A hiking
trail also takes travelers to nearby
historic Klepzig Mill, which boasts a
set of impressive shut-ins.
Directions: From Eminence, take
Highway 106 east to Highway H. Turn
south (right) and follow Highway H
to Highway NN. Turn left and follow
almost 2 miles to Shannon County
Road NN526. A parking area is located less than a half-mile from the turn.

HICKORY CANYONS
What's the recipe for one of Missouri's
most unique places? Sandstone, limestone and a lot of water make Hickory
Canyons Natural Area exactly that.
After wet weather, a waterfall winds
its way down a mossy rock ledge on a
half-mile, out-and-back trail. Natural
wonders don't cease at trail's end.
The area is home to almost 700 species of plants, liverworts and mosses.
Some of the flora were common in
Missouri more than 12,000 years ago
during the last Ice Age.

44

JUNE 2020 | RURALMISSOURI.COOP

Directions: From Farmington, go
east on Highway 32 to Highway C.
Go north about 3 miles and turn left
(south) on to Sprott Road (gravel).
Head west for about 1.75 miles.

GRAND FALLS
Billed as Missouri's largest continuously flowing natural waterfall, Grand
Falls lives up to its name. Located
in Joplin, it's also one of the state's
most accessible. Shoal Creek makes
a short trip downward - 12 feet -
compared to other falls in the ShowMe State, but it does it across a 163foot ledge of rock, creating a fishing
and photo destination mere minutes
from town.
Directions: From I-44 West, take
Joplin exit 6 for Route 86 South. Go
one block to the roundabout and exit
at the first right heading west onto
Glendale Boulevard. Follow approximately 1.5 miles. Turn left (south) on
Jackson and cross immediately after
the bridge, turn right (west) on Riverside Drive. Follow for 1 mile.

LONG CREEK FALLS
As it is with many natural features
in this rugged region of Mark Twain
National Forest in southwest Missouri, some of the best views require
extra effort. The secluded Long
Creek Falls in the Hercules Glade
Wilderness Area bear this out as it's
restricted to travel by foot and hoof.
The 7-mile Long Creek Trail is rugged and particularly wet after rainfall.
Visitors are advised to pack water and
prepare for rough country and biting
insects. Your reward, alongside panoramas of Ozark hills, glades and forests, is pure remote splendor. All told,
Hercules Glade contains 32 miles of
maintained trails and limitless opportunities for adventure - just be sure
to follow special restrictions associated with wilderness areas.
Directions: The wilderness is accessible from State Highway 125 to the
east, Blair Ridge Road (just off 124)
to the south and Broken Back Bridge
Road (County Road 160-200) off Highway 160 to the west.
Respect the potential dangers
around waterfalls. Be sure to check
accessibility of trails before traveling,
as some recreation areas are closed.

Above: Missouri's tallestˆ waterfall is Mina
Sauk Falls. The falls are located a short 3-mile
hike from Taum Sauk Mountain. Below: Hikers, picnickers, photographers and kids of all
ages find ways to beat the heat at Rocky Falls.


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Rural Missouri - June 2020

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