Imagine a group of circus elephants out in nature, all free. That’s what you’ll find at Elephant Rocks State Park, except they’re massive pieces of granite. Some weigh more than 600 tons and reach more than 20 feet high.
The rocks sit within the St. Francois Mountains running along southern Missouri, and were created millions of years ago from molten magma. As the granite was exposed, it was influenced by weather, becoming rounded and smooth. You’ll find the rocks in the heart of the Ozark eco-region, also home to fragile and slow-growing lichens and mosses. Guests are warned not to damage the plants, as they help the rocks withstand weathering.
Many visitors try and squeeze beneath or between the rocks’ barely human-sized spaces. Or they walk along the trail, which is also accessible to the visually and physically handicapped. Other trails lead to the maze-like ‘Devil’s Kitchen’ and ‘Fat Man’s Squeeze,’ a small pass between the rocks.