Top 5 Waterfalls in Missouri

March 10, 2023

waterfalls in Missouri

Whether it’s the rush of water over rocks or a delicate trickle, waterfalls have something about them that simply draws you in.

In Missouri, there are some truly magical places to find waterfalls that will leave you blown away. Take your hiking boots along on a trip to see some of the most beautiful falls in the Show-Me State.

Mina Sauk Falls

The tallest waterfall in Missouri, Mina Sauk Falls drops 132 feet over a series of volcanic rock ledges. Its cascading waters are best seen after a rain.

The best place to see Mina Sauk Falls is on the three-mile rocky loop in Taum Sauk Mountain State Park. This trail is one of the state’s most popular short hikes, bringing you by Missouri’s highest point, scenic glades, and a rugged trail down to the state’s tallest waterfall.

You can also take a detour along the connecting Ozark Trail (OT) to visit Devil’s Tollgate, an eight-foot-wide passage through 50 feet of volcanic rhyolite standing 30 feet high. These trails offer a wilderness experience hard to find in today’s world.

Johnson’s Shut-Ins

Located in southeastern Missouri, Johnson’s Shut-Ins is a unique natural area. It has a number of waterfalls and is an ideal spot for swimming in the river.

The park’s eroding rocks have formed many pools and slides. It is a nature’s water park where you can enjoy the natural beauty of the falls while enjoying some fun in the sun!

Over a billion years ago, igneous rock (rock that is formed from molten material) was created here. These rocks, including pink granite and blue-gray rhyolite, were thrown into the air during volcanic eruptions.

The softer sedimentary rock eroded away around the harder igneous rocks that were exposed to water and wind. As the softer rock wore down, it carved the hard igneous rock and made the Shut-Ins.

Grand Falls

If you’re looking for a waterfall to take in while on your road trip, or to just relax and unwind after a long day, Grand Falls near Joplin Missouri is the place. It’s home to the largest continuously flowing waterfall in the state, and it can swell to over 160 feet wide after heavy rains.

It is also a favorite spot for sunset viewing, with its rocky ledges, pristine waters and gentle breeze making it a great choice to watch the sun set over the Missouri River. You can park and hike to the falls 45 minutes before official sunset.

The falls have been an attraction for both residents and visitors since American Indians camped alongside the creek in the early 1800s. The rushing water helped power the first electrical power plant in Joplin, and the pristine, spring-fed waters furnished pure drinking water to local citizens.

Shoal Creek Falls

Located along Shoal Creek in Joplin, this is a popular waterfall that’s perfect for swimming. It’s also a great place to go kite-flying during the spring season.

The falls, which tumble down a ledge of solid chert rock, are one of Missouri’s largest natural waterfalls. It’s a must-see for anyone who visits the area.

This waterfall is also home to the Wildcat Glades Conservation and Audubon Center, which preserves this extremely rare ecological habitat. The chert glades that surround the falls are a key habitat for many different plants and animals, including some of the state’s most endangered species.

The falls also served as a water source for Joplin in the 19th century, powering its first electrical plant in 1891. The water rushing over the falls provided pure drinking water to the city’s citizens.


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