Elephant Rock Missouri - State Park

posted Jul 24, 2017, 10:59 AM by ORCC Off Road Camping Club   [ updated Jul 25, 2017, 2:56 PM ]

Elephant Rock State Park 
MO Department of Natural Resources

If you live in the Eastern Missouri area or if you are visiting Missouri, you will want to take the time to visit Elephant Rock State Park. The entire family will enjoy this Natural Wonder!

An easy way to see the rocks is from the Braille Trail, which was especially designed for people with visual and physical disabilities. The trail winds through the main area of rocks. An extension off the trail leads back to the ruins of an old railroad engine house, a remnant of the area’s quarrying and railroad history.

Pack-A-Lunch:  Enjoy a picnic lunch among the giant red boulders. Picnic sites are scattered throughout the park, creating an inviting place to have lunch under a shady tree and not far from an "elephant."

Huge pink granite boulders, some of them weighing over 600 tons and standing over 20 feet tall, are strewn across a few acres like a giant natural playground. These rocks were formed 1.5 billion years ago by the slow cooling of molten rock, magma, as it bubbled up into the earth’s crust. Later the Ozark plateau warped upward causing stream down cutting and erosion. The granite was slowly exposed and began to slowly weather along joints – vertical and horizontal cracks in the hard rock. Today these rocks continue to slowly weather away.

Much of this pink granite was quarried beginning in the 1840s. The nearby town is named Graniteville for this reason. This granite was used for paving stones on St. Louis streets (still visible at Laclede’s Landing), piers for Eads Bridge in St. Louis, and columns found at the Missouri Governor’s mansion in Jefferson City. Thanks to a generous gift in 1967 from John Stafford, retired chief geologist for St. Joseph Lead Co., this site became a state park and designated natural area for its outstanding geologic features.

As you walk and climb around these rocks know that you are at the geological heart of the Ozark ecoregion. Be careful of damaging fragile and slow-growing lichens and mosses which cling to the rock faces. Lichens, a symbiotic organism consisting of an algae and a fungus, can take years to grow just a half inch. Growing on shallow soils and in nooks and crannies with enough soil developed are blackjack oak, winged sumac, and farkleberry. This vegetation, as it grows, assists in the slow weathering process of these magnificent rocks.

Enjoy a leisurely paved trail hike, wandering through the Giant Granite Rocks! 

ORCC Off Road Camping Club

ORCC - Short Hike Through Granite Stone Formations.  Missouri State Park.

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