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  • Writer's pictureTrail Guide Joe

MO State Parks Centennial Passport Challenge (part 6)!

Updated: Sep 30, 2021

Back-to-back weekends!

Picking up momentum after breaking through the halfway point, this weekend was as perfect for another trip! This time the goal was to reach a park at a farthest reaches south. 4 miles from Arkansas to be exact! The first destination was Grand Gulf State Park, a park known for it's unique geological feature! It's a fact that Missouri is full of caves. Water seeping into the ground dissolves the abundant limestone bedrock which formed caves all over! At Grand Gulf, however, these caves became too numerous and eventually the caves collapsed leaving the massive void now known as Grand Gulf! This being the farthest south I would reach, I turned back to the north and headed to the next park!

Next up was Current River State Park which was recently opened in 2007. Current River SP does sit along the banks of the beautiful Current River, which is part of the Ozark National Scenic Riverways, one of the finest floating rivers anywhere. The park itself is a former Sportsman's Lodge now offering lodging and scenic views to the public! Very close to Current River SP is the new park, just opened July 31st, 2016, Echo Bluff State Park. Although I passed by this park heading to Current River SP, I did not stop. I had a tight schedule I was trying to keep and didn't want to rush through this new park!

Continuing north, I set my sights on Dillard Mill State Historic Site which is another of Missouri's former mills. This mill is quite eye-catching as it sits along the Huzzah Creek! From there, the next and final stop would be Onondaga Cave State Park. This stop was one that was familiar to me though, for a change, the park was not flooded by the Meramec River! This allowed me to enter through the backroad to the park which was very interesting! The gravel road took me twisting through the Huzzah Conservation Area across two Meramec River low water crossings which offered easy access to the river for floating and swimming. Taking note of this, I reached Onondaga Cave SP and wrapped up the final stop just before closing!

Completing this trip today added 6 more parks to my list bringing the running total to 52 of 88!

Span of 1 day; Approximately 507.4 miles; Approximately 33.12 gallons of gas; Approximate average MPG 15.32 through the ups and towns, twists and turns of the southern Ozark Mountains of Missouri

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