What to do in Big Sugar Creek State Park

**Note: This information was provided by www.mostateparks.com.

Heavily forested hillsides, clear-flowing streams and solitude are all features to be found within Big Sugar Creek State Park. Nestled deep within southwest Missouri, Big Sugar Creek State Park preserves a portion of the Elk River Section of Missouri's Ozarks.

This area of the state has a distinct natural history, featuring many plants and animals that are less common or absent in other areas of Missouri. Some typify the southern plains, including armadillos, while others, like the Ozark chinquapin tree, are restricted to the Ozark highlands. The Elk River watershed, which includes Big Sugar Creek, is a portion of the Arkansas River Basin that extends into Missouri. It brings with it a unique fish population, including the Neosho orangethroat darter.

Because of the park's natural significance, 1,613 of its 2,048 acres have been designated as the Elk River Breaks Natural Area. Ozark Chinquapin Trail, a three-mile loop trail through the natural area, follows a small bedrock stream, between towering hills, before heading up into the upland woodlands and glades.

Big Sugar Creek State Park is still in the development stage. Future amenities planned include a day-use area, a special-use area that will be available for use by organized youth groups and a canoe launch.

The Ozark Chinquapin Trail allows visitors to view these distinctive natural features within a 1,613-acre tract of land in the park that has been designated as a natural area. The woodlands found in Elk River Breaks Natural Area are among the last of a landscape that was once common across the region. They feature open growths of shortleaf pine, oaks and hickory trees over a grassy hillside rich with shrubs and wildflowers. The trail follows a small bedrock stream, surrounded with steep hills on both sides, before climbing up into these woodlands, which offer wonderful views across the rugged Elk River landscape. The trail head includes a vault toilet and a parking area.

c/o Roaring River State Park

Route 4, Box 4100, Cassville, MO 65625

Missouri experiences four distinct seasons with an average yearly temperature of 54 degrees F. Summer temperatures reach 90 degrees F often and are plagued with high humidity levels. Nighttime lows during the summer dip slightly near 70 degrees. September brings cooler fall weather with less humidity. By October nights begin to cool significantly and the fall foliage changes to brilliant hues of orange, red and yellow. Winter months bring an average of 24 inches of snow and normal temperatures average between 20 and 45 degrees F. Spring is characterized by wet weather with temperatures reaching between 32 and 60 degrees F.

c/o Roaring River State Park, Route 4, Box 4100
Cassville, MO 65625

Phone: 417-847-2539

Email: moparks@dnr.mo.gov
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