About 1.5 billion years ago, hot magma erupted from a volcano cooled to form coarsely crystalline red granite stones, weighing over 680 tons. Over the next few tens of thousands of years, these boulders were weathered down to rounded, still gigantic rows of rock–resembling a train of elephants strolling through the Ozarks.
They sit atop an isolated rocky peak, pink trunk to tail, eternally waiting for their parade to commence. As they wait for the wind and water to eventually take them away, they stand still, posing for visitors who come to see their timeless journey.
Take a trip to one of the most interesting Missouri parks, Elephant Rocks State Park in Graniteville to experience the awesomeness of these gargantuan boulders.
About Elephant Rocks State Park
The actual number of elephants at Elephant Rocks State Park has never been documented, as the elders of the herd erode away and youngsters wait to emerge from the cracks. Right now, the patriarch of the herd, better known as Dumbo, measures 27 feet tall, 35 feet long and 17 feet wide. He weighs in at a whopping 680 tons. The average African Elephant comes in at 4.6 tons, just FYI. Take your sense of adventure and climb right on top of this mammoth (or elephant) rock, or keep your feet on the ground and simply stroll around them.
Elephant Rocks State Park offers a one-mile circular interpretative trail, meant to be accessible for those with physical and visual handicaps. Also known as the Braille Trial, hikers can utilize the Braille signs and travel along a paved, handicap-accessible path. Stopping points along the trail offer beautiful views, breezes and sounds of nature. Other alternate paths can be found throughout the park as well, so try and make it down all of them if you can.
The first spur from the Braille Trail you will come across is a gravel road leading you to the ruins of an engine house that once repaired quarry trains. A second offshoot of the trail will take you to a breathtaking overview of the St. Francois Mountains. This path is handicap-accessible as well. After stopping to admire the scenery, you can follow the trail (that is walk-along only) that gives you access to the top of some of these gigantic elephant rocks. The third split comes in the form of a fork in the road where the right prong will take you down the handicap-accessible trail and the left will take you through “Fat Man’s Squeeze,” a narrow pass between two boulders. If you can slink through this pass, you will find an old abandoned quarry. While the original trail will take you to the same destination, it may be fun to try the “squeeze.” Another spot on the trail will allow you to explore “The Maze,” a clearing that is home to a small tribe of pink elephants.
After a day of climbing, hiking and exploring, we know you will be hungry. Our resorts in the Ozarks offer full kitchens, so you may opt to prepare a light meal to take in a cooler until you head back for dinner. Nearby towns of Arcadia, Black, Centerville, Ironton, Lesterville and Pilot Knob offer plenty of Missouri restaurants to please your pallet. So grab a bite to eat while you and the family look over the pictures of the day.