Ever wondered what southeast Missouri's original landscape looked like? Then head on over to the Big Oak Tree State Park! Nestled amid sprawling farmland, this 1,029-acre site gives visitors an opportunity to step back in time and experience the area as the first explorers saw it. With huge hickory and oak trees averaging 120 feet tall and marshy terrain, the Big Oak Tree State Park transports adventurers back to the period when southeast MO was still “Swampeast Missouri.”
Located near East Prairie, Big Oak Tree features 2.2 miles of trails that you can explore with your canine pal. The 0.7-mile Boardwalk Trail will take you and Fido on a self-guided tour of the site's champion trees and wetlands. Not far from the boardwalk is the 1.5-mile Bottomland Trail, which forms a loop to the east of Big Oak Lake. Needless to say, the park's rich landscape makes it a pawfect home for wildlife. So as you and your pooch explore the last remaining piece of continuous hardwood bottomland forest that once covered the entire Missouri Bootheel, keep your eyes peeled for deer, raccoons, turtles, opossums, and snakes. During the spring and fall, you may catch glimpses of migratory birds such as warblers, geese, and ducks as well.
Though most of the trails are shaded, it's still impawtant to bring plenty of water for both you and your furry hiking partner. Bring doggie waste bags for cleaning up after your pupper, too, and make sure to keep them on a leash at all times. After exploring the area, stop by one of the 10 picnic areas scattered throughout the park to fill your tummies with a packed lunch. Don't forget to check for ticks before heading home!
For a puptastic time in rural southeast Missouri, look no further than the Big Oak Tree State Park!