the other hand, Taum Sauk and its closest neighbors are ancient,
volcanic, Precambrian uplifts many times older than the Appalachians,
and may be among the few areas in the United States never
to have been submerged by ancient seas. This volcanic origin
can be seen in the many open, rocky expanses called glades
that are scattered throughout the park and are home to many
desert-adapted plants and animals. Also, prairie plants such
as Indian Grass, Little Bluestem, Ashy Sunflower, White Prairie
Clover and Rattlesnake Master thrive in the glades and open,
carefully burn-controlled woodlands.
Other natural communities including Oak and Hickory upland
forest, flatwoods, savannas and bottomland forest abound in
the over 7,500-acre, virtually untamed expanse of wilderness.
These diverse communities provide habitats for a range of
wildlife from the brilliant red cardinal and sly red fox,
to the docile whitetail deer and frisky raccoon. Still, hiking
trails and abundant plant and wildlife aren’t the only
things Taum Sauk has to offer. The lookout tower, owned by
the Missouri Department of Conservation and not part of the
State Park proper, is perched above the trees overlooking
the valley. Taum Sauk Mountain State Park gives visitors a
glimpse of nearly unspoiled wilderness and an opportunity
to imagine the world before civilization interfered.
down the road lies the overlook which allows visitors a wide,
incomparable view of the mountains to the north, and a guide
to help identify and distinguish them. Nearby, a small camping
area offers 12 basic campsites ($9 per night) and a picnic
area which gives visitors a chance to enjoy a relaxing picnic
under the trees. Also, a special-use area is available for
organized non-profit youth groups.
for the spacious, expansive view, and stay for the relaxing
quiet and solitude that are so hard to find in today’s
busy, crowded life. Whatever brings you here, you’re
sure to have a great time.
by Mary Eakins Bullis
Directions: Highway 21 to Highway "CC"