Grand Gulf State Park (Missouri)

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This article is about Grand Gulf State Park (Missouri). For other uses, see Grand Gulf.
Coordinates: 36°32′41″N 91°38′43″W / 36.54472°N 91.64528°W / 36.54472; -91.64528
Grand Gulf State Park
Missouri State Park
Grand Gulf cave 1-02Aug07.jpg
Water entering this cave reappears nine miles (14 km) away at Mammoth Spring.
Country United States
State Missouri
County Oregon County
Coordinates 36°32′41″N 91°38′43″W / 36.54472°N 91.64528°W / 36.54472; -91.64528
Area 0.5 sq mi (1 km2)
Founded 1984
Designated: June 1971

Grand Gulf State Park near Thayer, Missouri, consists of 322 acres (130 ha) encompassing a forked canyon that is the remnant of an ancient collapsed dolomite cave system.[1][2] An uncollapsed part of the original cavern roof spans 200 feet (61 m), creating the largest natural bridge in Missouri. It was declared a National Natural Landmark in June 1971 for its excellent example of karst topography and underground stream piracy.[2]


The Grand Gulf is nearly 1 mile (1.6 km) long and up to 130 feet (40 m) deep with sheer sides.[1]

A watershed of 26 square miles (67 km²) feeds into the gulf which itself drains into a cave entrance at its eastern end. Dye traces have shown that water entering the cave in Grand Gulf emerges 1 to 4 days later at Mammoth Spring in Arkansas, 9 miles (14 km) distant.

The land that is now the park was acquired by conservationist Leo Drey before becoming part of the Missouri state parks system.


The park has picnic tables and toilet facilities and is operated by the state as a day use area with no camping. Because of heavy foliage the Grand Gulf is best viewed in winter months.


  • Beveridge, Thomas R. (1980), Geologic Wonders and Curiosities of Missouri, Rolla: Missouri Division of Geology and Land Survey, pp. 335–344, Library of Congress Card Catalog No. 78-69968 
  1. ^ a b "Grand Gulf State Park - Missouri State Parks and Historic Sites". Missouri Department of Natural Resources. September 11, 2006. Retrieved 2009-04-25. 
  2. ^ a b "National Natural Landmark summary". National Park Service. February 5, 2004. Retrieved 2009-04-25. 

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