Johnson's Shut-Ins State Park
You wouldn’t have wanted
to be around when the forces of nature formed what is now Johnson’s
Shut-Ins State Park. But today this remnant of volcanic activity is
Missouri’s favorite swimming hole, at least according to Rural
Missouri’s readers. The state park, located near Lesterville,
won Best Swimming Hole in Rural Missouri’s 2002 Readers Choice
Over the centuries, water from this fork of the Black River wore down
the limestone and other sedimentary rock to carve out the streambed.
But it met its match in the tough igneous rocks that today form a rambunctious
series of cascades and pools. Visitors can choose a waterfall to massage
their shoulders or scramble over the slick rocks in search of a cool
pool in which to relax.
So popular is Johnson’s Shut-Ins during the summer months that
latecomers are forced to wait at the entrance until someone leaves
the park. This time of year, the water slows down and warms up, and
crowds diminish as kids return to school.
The shut-ins can be a dangerous place when water combines with algae
to make the rocks slick. More than one visitor has been taken to area
hospitals after slipping on the rocks. Also, be advised that state
law prohibits jumping or diving from any rocks in the park. One section
is off limits completely.
A well-equipped campground and access to the Taum Sauk Trail are part
of this park. For more information, call (573) 546-2450 or visit www.mostateparks.com.