Family Weekender: St. Louis
If you're seeking a place just to sit and ponder or splash your toes in clear water amid some of Missouri's best outdoor scenery, then Johnson Shut-Ins is a must.
Here, the Black River touted as Missouri's clearest rushes through a series of polished stone gorges. The budding geologist in the family will be fascinated to hear he or she is hiking amid some of the nation's oldest exposed rocks!
This is a place where kids can get a taste of truly wild nature, and the old folks can simply walk, talk, commune, and relax. But remember the rocks are polished smooth by centuries of current the rate of flow can be deceptive, so keep an eye on toddlers around water, and even older children who can't swim well.
The 500 mile long Ozark Trail heads up here and meanders southwest, eventually terminating near Lake Fort Smith State Park in Arkansas. Most of the 8,470-acre park remains as wilderness, host to more than a thousand species of plants and wildflowers. Developed areas include picnic spots and a campground.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication