Elephant Rocks State Park

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Elephant Rocks State Park
Missouri State Park
The Elephant Rocks.JPG
Country United States
State Missouri
County Iron
Elevation 1,286 ft (392 m) [1]
Coordinates 37°39′16″N 90°41′17″W / 37.65444°N 90.68806°W / 37.65444; -90.68806Coordinates: 37°39′16″N 90°41′17″W / 37.65444°N 90.68806°W / 37.65444; -90.68806 [1]
Area 131.74 acres (53 ha) [2]
Established 1967
Management Missouri Department of Natural Resources
Location in Missouri
Website: Elephant Rocks State Park

Elephant Rocks State Park is a state park in the U.S. state of Missouri that encompasses an outcropping of Precambrian granite in the Saint Francois Mountains. It is named for a string of large granite boulders which resemble a train of pink circus elephants.[3]


Geologically, Elephant Rocks State Park consists of a tor, which is a high, isolated rocky peak, usually of jointed and weathered granite. The alkaline granite here was formed in the Proterozoic 1500 million years ago from a dome of molten magma. Nearly vertical fractures formed in the stone as it cooled, and uplift of the formation enhanced the fracturing. Eventually the overlying strata were removed through erosion, exposing the granite dome. With exposure, water and ice worked to weather and erode the surface of the granite and to expand the fracture joints. Eons of weathering produced the rounded boulders that are the park's signature.[4]

The reddish or pink granite has been quarried in this area since 1869, and two abandoned granite quarries are within the park. These and others nearby have provided red architectural granite for buildings in states from Massachusetts to California, but most particularly in St. Louis, including stone for St. Louis City Hall and the piers of the Eads Bridge. Stones unsuitable for architectural use were made into shoebox-sized paving stones that were used on the streets of St. Louis as well as on its wharf on the Mississippi River. Stone quarried in the area currently is used for mortuary monuments and is known commercially as Missouri Red monument stone.[5]

Activities and amenities[edit]

The park has thirty picnic sites and a one-mile (2 km) circular interpretive trail in the Elephant Rocks Natural Area. This trail is called the Braille Trail and is unique among Missouri state parks in being designed specifically for visitors with visual and physical challenges. There are several spur trails which are not accessible. Each of these spur trails has its own unique feature. One spur passes through "Fat Man's Squeeze," a narrow gap between two boulders, leading hikers to the old quarry. Another spur goes through "The Maze," a 100-foot (30.48 meter) section of scattered boulders.[4] Within the maze is a semi-enclosed area called "The Devil's Kitchen."


  1. ^ a b "Elephant Rocks State Park". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey. 
  2. ^ "State parks...estimated acres" (PDF). Revised Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan: 2008-2012. Missouri Department of Natural Resources. pp. 142–143. Retrieved September 9, 2014. 
  3. ^ "Elephant Rocks State Park". Missouri State Parks. Missouri Department of Natural Resources. Retrieved September 29, 2014. 
  4. ^ a b Mary Eakins Bullis. "Elephant Rocks State Park". River Valley Region Association. Retrieved September 29, 2014. 
  5. ^ "General Information: Elephant Rocks State Park". Missouri State Parks. Missouri Department of Natural Resources. Retrieved September 29, 2014. 

External links[edit]