The Amazing Elephant Rocks of Missouri

The Amazing Elephant Rocks of Missouri

St. Louis needs a narrative. It's time we move beyond shoes, booze and baseball (and crime). The city and region are an amazing place. That's the note we sounded when featuring Riverlands and the coolest bird blind one can find anywhere. So what you've heard is true, St. Louis doesn't have mountains, or an ocean, but we shouldn't care. The land here is spectacularly diverse and beautiful. From bird watching at the confluence, we go just beyond the far south metro area to Elephant Rocks State Park.

Far from a hidden gem, or quiet retreat (at least on beautiful fall weekends), the 131 acres of boulders and forest is big enough to spend hours exploring. Bouldering with a three and five-year-old is a bit challenging, but a lot of fun as well. Of course I could go bouldering there all day by myself – climbing on rocks is just fun, right? Elephant Rocks reminded me of two of my favorite bouldering experiences; Remarkable Rocks and Uluru (images below). Luckily it's 9,780 miles nearer to home.

Granite quarries are still active in the area, but produce mostly headstones today. In its heyday, the area supplied pink granite for projects across the nation. Nearer to home, one can find the stone at the base of St. Louis City Hall and used to construct piers for the Eads Bridge. And if you wish to explore more, just a little farther afield is Taum Sauk Mountain and Johnson's Shut-Ins State Parks.

From Wikipedia: 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.

Uluru - Northern Territory, Australia (1997)
{on top of Uluru – Northern Territory, Australia – image by Alex Ihnen}

Uluru - Northern Territory, Australia (1997)
{halfway up Uluru – image by Alex Ihnen}

{Remarkable Rocks – Kangaroon Island, South Australia (via Wiki Commons)}


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