If you're a keen hiker, you'll know there's nothing quite like stumbling on a hidden waterfall to take your hike to the next level. But why wait to be surprised? If you prefer certainty over possibility, Missouri boasts numerous waterfalls that can be easily accessed via its extensive network of trails and state parks. Next time you're in the mood to hear the crash and roar of cascading water, these are the 10 most beautiful waterfalls in Missouri to check out.
10. Marble Creek Falls
As exploretheozarksonline.com explains, Marble Creek, which is located between Fredericktown and Arcadia in the National Forest, is named for the colorful deposits of dolomite that run throughout the recreation center. Back in the day, they used to be mined and used as "Taum Sauk Marble." These days, they're just another reason to visit this stunning slice of Missouri. Although the park is peaceful and pretty enough to warrant a visit for nothing more than a leisurely picnic, the main reason for its popularity is the Marble Creek Section of the Ozark Trail, an 8-mile segment that passes along the creek to Crane Lake. The Marble Creek Falls, which rank as some of the most uniquely beautiful in the state, can be accessed via the Crane Lake Loop.
9. City Garden Falls
Who says people can't improve on nature? If you want rushing water and glistening pools but don't want to hike 10 miles to find them, leave the natural wonders of the world for another day and head for City Garden Falls, a manmade waterfall in St Louis that could happily compete with anything crafted by Mother Nature. With a height of just six feet, it's by no means huge, but it is charming, and on a hot day, there's nowhere better to escape the city for some much-needed peace and quiet than here. While you're in the garden, keep your eyes peeled for the various sculptures and artworks dotted around.
8. Lower Rock Creek Trail
If you're in the vicinity of Liberty Township, be sure to check out Lower Rock Creek Trail, a six-mile stretch of scenic Missouri landscape that passes by numerous pools and several small but incredibly charming waterfalls. Just be warned that the trail is in a remote spot and isn't particularly well maintained, so be sure to wear stout, sturdy walking boots to manage the rough terrain.
7. Trail Through Time
With its rich history and charming, small-town feel, Ste. Genevieve is a great place to visit. It's made all the more so by Pickle Springs Natural Area, a lovely recreation area that's home to the incredibly scenic Trail Through Time. Easy enough for most ages and fitness levels to manage, this 1.9-mile loop passes by unique rock formations before reaching a small, utterly beguiling waterfall. While you're in Ste. Genevieve, it's also worth checking out the Western Trail. Tucked away in Hickory Canyons Natural Area, the one-mile, moderately challenging trail leads up quaint wooden stairs to a gorgeous, picture-perfect waterfall.
6. Dogwood Canyon
Dogwood Canyon Nature Park is a 100,000-acre outdoor paradise that boasts some of the most sublime scenery in Missouri. Almost every type of outdoor adventure is on offer here, including biking, horseback riding, wildlife spotting, and, of course, hiking to its namesake waterfall. Not that that's the only waterfall you can find here - as you hike around, you'll find plenty of other smaller (but no less charming) falls to admire.
5. Meramec Spring Park
Meramec Spring Park doesn't get much attention, and that's a shame. Missouri's most underrated park packs a big bunch, offering multiple opportunities for outdoor fun and recreation. Just some of the activities on offer include camping, wildlife viewing, fishing, picnicking, and hiking. Chief of its attractions is the Meramec River that cuts through it - or, more specifically, the cascading Maramec spring that pumps 100 million gallons of fresh water into it each day.
4. Mina Sauk Falls
Mina Sauk Falls can be reached via the Taum Sauk Ozark Trail, a 35-mile trail that leads through the St. Francois Mountains. As The Crazy Tourist explains, the section of the trail that leads to the Mina Sauk Falls is 14.5 miles in total and winds between Taum Sauk Mountain State Park and Johnson’s State Park. Along the way, you'll pass through rocky outcrops and forests. It's long and at times challenging, but the reward - the sight of Missouri's highest waterfall cascading down into Taum Sauk Creek - makes it worth the effort.
3. Glassberg Family Conservation Area Trail
Named as one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Missouri by Only In Your State, the Glassberg Family Conservation Area Trail is a moderately challenging 2.6-mile hike that passes through gorgeous scenery, dozens of picturesque picnicking spots, and a small but perfectly formed waterfall. As the trail can get slippery and muddy in places, be sure to wear appropriate shoes. Unless you plan on becoming lunch to the thousands of bugs that call the park home, it's wise to pack some insect repellent too, especially during the warmer months.
2. Old Kate & Waterfall Trail Parkville
Old Kate & Waterfall Trail in Parkville Nature Sanctuary certainly can't claim to be long (it spans just .08 miles in total) but it's perfect for hikers of all ages and fitness levels to enjoy. A wooden boardwalk leads you through a scenic forested area to a small, utterly enchanting waterfall that's definitely worth a photo or two. To see it at its most glorious, aim to visit after a heavy rain shower, when it transforms from a pleasant trickle into a ferocious cascade.
1. Grand Falls
Named by TravelAwaits as one of the most beautiful waterfalls to visit in the Midwest, Grand Falls in Joplin is nothing short of majestic. Known by locals as the Joplin Niagara Falls thanks to its very particular layout, it drops 12 feet from top to bottom and spans over 150 feet in width. To add some adventure to the experience, try walking across the accessible portion of Shoal Creek located directly below the falls. Once you're done admiring the cascading water, head into the woods surrounding the falls to discover the natural beauty of the area - just be sure to wear comfortable, sturdy shoes, as the rocks can be slightly treacherous in places.
Written by Liz Flynn
Read more posts by Liz Flynn