There are various types of wonders in the world from natural to man-made, and Missouri has so many it’s hard to choose the most magnificent. We may be familiar with the Wonders of The World, but have we ever stopped to determine the “Wonders of Missouri?” Here are 7 that we think are worth the distinction.
1. Lake of the Ozarks
The 54,000-acre reservoir named Lake of the Ozarks was created by impounding the Osage River in the northern part of the Ozarks in central Missouri. Parts of three smaller tributaries to the Osage, the Niangua River, Grandglaize Creek, and Gravois Creek, are included in the impoundment. It features 1,150 miles of shoreline in total. The total drainage area is over 14,000 square miles. The lake has been given the nickname “The Magic Dragon” due to its serpentine shape.
2. The Gateway Arch
Perhaps one of the world’s most impressive man-made wonders, The Gateway Arch is a 630-foot monument in St. Louis. It is the world’s tallest arch, the tallest man-made monument in the Western Hemisphere, and Missouri’s tallest accessible building.
The stainless steel arch was built as a monument to the westward expansion of the United States, and it is the centerpiece of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial. It has become the symbol of St. Louis internationally. The arch sits at the site of St. Louis' founding on the west bank of the Mississippi River.
3. Johnson’s Shut-Ins
Johnson’s Shut-Ins is a Missouri State public recreation area covering 8,647 acres on the East Fork Black River in Reynolds County. In warmer weather you can play in the shallows of the East Fork of the Black River, but this time of year is a great time to hike a trail that shows you 1.4 billion years of geologic history or to go horseback riding on a beautiful mountain trail.
Check out this amazing video!
4. Elephant Rocks
Elephant Rocks State Park is a state-owned geologic reserve and public recreation area that gets its name from the gigantic granite boulders found there, some the size of, and resembling, elephants. Located in the Saint Francois Mountains in rural Iron County, the rocks were formed long ago when magma cooled to form the red granite that weathered over time into what we see today.
5. Onondaga Cave
Onondaga Cave State Park was established in 1982 and is located on the Meramec River approximately 5 miles southeast of the village of Leasburg. Although Missouri has more than 5,500 caves, Onondaga Cave, a national natural landmark, is considered one of the most spectacular caves in the nation because of the quality and beauty of its formations. Cave tours are available seasonally.
6. Mina Sauk Falls on Taum Sauk Mountain
Mina Sauk Falls is the state's highest waterfall with clean, clear water cascading 132 feet down Taum Sauk Mountain from the state's highest point.
7. Mississippi River
The Mississippi River is the chief river of the largest drainage system on the North American continent and ranks as the fourth longest and tenth largest river in the world. The river either borders or passes through the states of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Louisiana. You can follow the river along the Missouri Great River Road, spanning a broad range of American culture.
Have you visited any of Missouri’s state wonders? What are some other amazing sights you think should be added to the list?