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Johnson's Shut-Ins State Park
Middlebrook, Missouri

The shut-ins have been a very popular park to visit
for many, many years. Only fairly recently has it been possible
to reserve a camping spot, thus ensuring a day in the water.
I have heard stories of long lines waiting to enter the
park or the campground. Now, through the state park's
reservation system, you can secure a spot as far as
3 months in advance.

The shut-ins are essentially a part of the
Black River which happen to pass over huge smooth boulders,
thus making natural water slides and chutes. This visit,
the water level was down, but there was still lots of places to slide down.
The water is incredibly clear, especially in the morning before
the silt gets stirred up. There are several
deep pools for swimming as well.
We saw several large signs which said; "WARNING
EXTREME DANGER; NO JUMPING OR DIVING SUBMERGED ROCKS
AND DEBRIS MAY CAUSE SERIOUS OR FATAL INJURY"
So what were people doing??? You guessed it.
Parents were actually encouraging their pre-pubescent children
to jump off the rocks into narrow pools amidst the rocks.
Some were even trying to dam up the river
by piling large rocks along the shallows. It would be nice if there were
someone staffed to keep an eye on things;
all it takes is enough of them to get hurt for the
whole place to get shut down. Good thing there is a limit
on how many can enter.

On the way home, we visited Elephant Rocks State Park,
which is only about 15 minutes drive from the Shut-Ins.
This day-use park features a circular trail
which guides you down a path through several
large rock formations. At the entrance, the trail marker
beckons you to start off going right; in doing so, you will walk
a good half mile or so before encountering anything
really interesting. Best to start off to the left.
There you will quickly come to the true elephant rocks,
The Maze and The Quarry.

A nice picnic area with a playground and boulders for climbing
is situated near the parking lot.
Shut-Ins photos

For more information on Johnson's Shut-Ins click here

For more information about Elephant Rocks State Park, click here

On To The Next Adventure

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