Johnson Shut-Ins State Park, near Middle Brook, Missouri, is about 2 hours south of Saint Louis, nestled in the St. Francois Mountains. The unique geology of Johnson’s Shut-Ins State Park are perfect for camping, hiking, picnicking, splashing in the shut-ins, exploring nature or just relaxing.
The newly renovated Union Station facilities houses not only the new aquarium, but several other fun attractions like a mirror maze, ropes course, carousel, and of course the St. Louis Wheel!
This year, we did a couple of things differently: we went with friends, and we ventured the rugged 6-mile North Loop of the Whispering Pine Trail, complete with THREE creek crossings. I will admit that it was a bit chillier than we were expecting this time of year, and the wind was gusty, but it was still fun.
We spent our last trip of the season at Wolf Creek Campground in Windsor, IL with friends from my hometown of Indianapolis and their families. We had a great time and Wolf Creek was a pretty decent campground! Let me break it all down for you!
Alley Spring, near Eminence, Missouri, is part of the Ozark National Scenic Riverways, protected and maintained by the National Park Service (NPS). The spring is the 7th largest in the state, pumping an average 81 MILLION gallons per day. Alley Mill, situated on the bank of Alley Spring, was built in 1894 and is open seasonally for tours.
Formerly Camp Zoe and located in Eminence, MO, the beautiful Echo Bluff State Park is a relatively new park with lots to offer by way of accommodations and things to do. Nestled in the Ozarks near several springs, the waters of the Current River flow through this park, providing multiple areas for swimming and fishing, and it is a great place to stay if you are planning a float trip! There are even sightings of wild horses that roam the area!
Inside the park is the spring that combines with Pigeon Creek to form the headwaters of the Current River. It is this spring that gives the water its beautiful green/blue hue. The water is so clear, you can see clear to the bottom of it. If you're a fisherman, this gives you a perfect view of where the fish are.
This time of year, with the rain and the air starting to warm, everything was just starting to bud and bloom. Hiking the Pickle Creek trail, we saw lots of small waterfalls as the water raced over the rocks. The creek has carved away at the sandstone around it creating beautiful bluffs and rock faces. Though those same rocks made this trail a more difficult trail, but it was worth it to see those bluffs with the creek racing along at the bottom, wildflowers and trees blooming up around the banks.