Grand Gulf State Park (Missouri)

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This article is about Grand Gulf State Park (Missouri). For other uses, see Grand Gulf.
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
Elevation 712 ft (217 m) [1]
Coordinates 36°32′43″N 91°38′43″W / 36.54528°N 91.64528°W / 36.54528; -91.64528Coordinates: 36°32′43″N 91°38′43″W / 36.54528°N 91.64528°W / 36.54528; -91.64528 [1]
Area 321.96 acres (130 ha) [2]
Established 1984
Management Missouri Department of Natural Resources
Location in Missouri
Website: Grand Gulf State Park
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.[3][4] 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.[4]


The Grand Gulf is nearly 1 mile (1.6 km) long and up to 130 feet (40 m) deep with sheer sides.[3]

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.


  1. ^ a b "Grand Gulf 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. ^ a b "Grand Gulf State Park". Missouri State Parks. Missouri Department of Natural Resources. Retrieved September 29, 2014. 
  4. ^ a b "Grand Gulf". National Natural Landmarks Program. National Park Service. June 28, 2012. Retrieved September 29, 2014. 

Beveridge, Thomas R. (1980), Geologic Wonders and Curiosities of Missouri, Rolla, Mo.: Missouri Division of Geology and Land Survey, pp. 335–344, Library of Congress Card Catalog No. 78-69968 

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