Are you looking for a place to camp, hike and float in the Ozarks? If your answer is yes, look no further than Washington State Park. Located 50 miles south of St. Louis, the 2,032-acre park is a combination of high bluffs, wooded ravines, and Native American petroglyphs.
Primitive backpack camping sites along the Rockywood Trail are free in Washington State Park.
Backpackers can hike the 10-mile Rockywood Trail (and camp for free). Nestled in the St. Francois Mountains, one of the oldest mountains in North America, the trail takes you through a mixed-hardwood and evergreen forest set amongst savannas, open valleys, volcanic rock and glades (the Show Me State’s versions of desert).
The trail is one of Missouri’s Lead Belt region’s best treks. Summers here are hot ‘n sticky, spring and fall colorful, while winters guarantee virtual solitude. For day hiking try the 3-mile Possum Track Trail and the 1.3-mile 1,000 Steps Trail. Wildlife encounters may include whitetail deer, turkey, coyote and hawks.
Run The River Or Camp
After the trek, float the Class I waters of the Big River. The park offers canoe rentals and shuttle service. Two floats are available within the park: a 3.1-mile run and a 6.4-mile run. If you’re looking for a longer float, check with Ford’s Canoe Rental (636-285-2564).
If you are interested in camping, the park has 25 electric sites for $12, while the 26 basic sites go for $10 a night. Primitive backpack camping sites along the Rockywood Trail are free. And if sleeping under the stars isn’t for you, the park also rents cabins ranging from $50-$100 a night.
Located 50 miles south of St. Louis, the 2,032-acre park is a combination of high bluffs, wooded ravines, and Native American petroglyphs.
Making The Trip
To get to Washington State Park from St. Louis: Head south on Interstate-55 to Hwy 67; then head south on Hwy 67 to Hwy 110; then go west on Hwy 110 (DeSoto) to Hwy 21 and stay south on Hwy 21 to the park. The park is located nine miles south of DeSoto, Mo.
For more information, contact the park at 636-586-2995; for toll free reservations contact 800-334-6946; visit the Missouri State Park website at www.dnr.state.mo.us/dsp/homedsp.htm; email: firstname.lastname@example.org.