Route 66 State Park

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Route 66 State Park
Missouri State Park
Meramec River Route 66 bridge J421.jpg
Rte. 66 once crossed the Meramec River on this bridge, which used to link the park's visitor center to the park itself.
Country United States
State Missouri
County St. Louis
Elevation 436 ft (133 m) [1]
Coordinates 38°30′23″N 90°35′25″W / 38.50639°N 90.59028°W / 38.50639; -90.59028Coordinates: 38°30′23″N 90°35′25″W / 38.50639°N 90.59028°W / 38.50639; -90.59028
Area 419 acres (170 ha) [2]
Established 1997
Management Missouri Department of Natural Resources
Location in Missouri
Website: Route 66 State Park

Route 66 State Park is a state park in the U.S. state of Missouri, located on the former site of the town of Times Beach.[3] It is a 419-acre (170 ha) park located less than 1 mile (1.6 km) east of Eureka.


Times Beach was bought, dismantled, and decontaminated by the United States Environmental Protection Agency following the discovery of widespread dioxin contamination in the 1980s.[4] Fields of wild grass and brush now grow where the homes of evacuated residents formerly stood. Deserted streets line the park and hint at what once was a resort community in west Saint Louis County.[5]

Route 66 bridge[edit]

The visitor center, located in the old Bridgehead Inn on the east side of the Meramec River, was joined to the park on the west side by the old Route 66 bridge, which has been closed due to safety concerns. The park itself is accessible only from east-bound Interstate 44 at exit 265. The visitor center is accessed from either direction at exit 266 and is cut off from the park it serves.[6][7]

Activities and amenities[edit]

The park has a boat ramp providing access to the river as well as a picnic area and trails for hiking, cycling, and equestrian use.[3] The visitor center exhibits photos and memorabilia of structures along Route 66 in the Saint Louis area which have been torn down and replaced by modern shopping centers and strip malls. Displays include the first historic Route 66 marker, originally erected on the highway in Springfield, Missouri, as well as an interpretation of the ecological disaster and 20-year cleanup of the area.


  1. ^ "Times Beach (historical)". 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 "Route 66 State Park". Missouri State Parks. Missouri Department of Natural Resources. Retrieved September 9, 2014. 
  4. ^ "Joint Federal/State Action Taken to Relocate Times Beach Residents" (Press release). United States Environmental Protection Agency. February 22, 1983. Retrieved September 9, 2014. 
  5. ^ "Ill-Fated Times Beach". Legends of America. November 2010. Retrieved September 9, 2014. 
  6. ^ "Old Route 66 Bridge Permanently Closed at Route 66 State Park". Missouri State Parks. Missouri Department of Natural Resources. Retrieved August 28, 2011. 
  7. ^ "Route 66 State Park Bridge". Missouri Department of Transportation. Retrieved August 28, 2011. 

External links[edit]