Off MO– 21, Graniteville, Missouri
Elephants in the Ozarks? Ancient granite incarnations of the huge creatures abound at this geologic marvel. Giant boulders of red granite, dating back 1.5 billion years, populate the park with massive formations.
And this “population” is constantly—if gradually—changing, as the forces of nature continue to wear away existing rock forms while exposing new ones. The granite animals have been meticulously documented, with the park’s patriarch, Dumbo, at 27 feet tall, 35 feet long, and 17 feet wide, and tipping the scales at an estimated 680 tons.
The Braille Trail offers a quick and accessible route to the mammoth rocks. Featuring interpretive signage, this one-mile paved pathway is specially designed for those with visual or physical disabilities. The trail leads to the top of the granite outcrop, where explorers can wander through the maze of giant rocks at their leisure, or take a break at one of 30 picnic sites conveniently situated amid the red boulders.
Just outside the park is the state’s oldest known commercial granite quarry, opened in 1869. The nearby town of Graniteville, once dominated by the quarry, still boasts original granite buildings, such as an impressive stone schoolhouse.